August 22, 2012
“The Shield Needs to be THIS big”
President Komorowski has suggested that the building of a Missile Shield Defence Facility would be capable of protecting the country against air attacks. Today, two years has passed since Bronisław Komorowski’s was sworn into office. On his second anniversary, he suggested the building of a Polish Missile Shield, which would be a part of a shared shield of countries belonging to NATO. When Barack Obama assumed the presidency of the USA in 2009, the concept of building the shield changed. The USA decided against building a shield that would use long-range anti-missiles stationed in Poland, which before was suggested by George W. Bush. Komorowski convinces the Polish public that they have to have a Polish Missile Shield because spending large amounts of money on military technology is nonsense if it is not protected against the most typical and dangerous missile and air attacks.
The Polish president said that at present Poland has systems that are becoming old and less suitable for defending the country. Stanisław Koziej, the head of the National Security Bureau (BBN), explained that this system would be complementary to the elements of a system which, according to future plans, Americans would station in Poland in 2018. Parliamentary representatives are positive about the idea. According to Stefan Niesiołowski (Civic Platform), the head of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, Poland has the technical know-how to create such a system. The creation of a system of anti-missile defence in Europe is a bone of contention between Poland and Russia as well as between both the USA, NATO and Russia. Moscow considers the project to be a threat to its security. It demands that Washington give legal guarantees that the American system will not be targeted against it. The USA refuses to give such a guarantee, but NATO assures Russia that the shield will not be targeted at Russia.
October 23, 2009
A Different Kind of Polish Patriot
After meeting American Vice-President Joe Biden, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk confirms that Poland will accept SM-3 launchers. Warsaw welcomed Joseph Biden in the cold and rain but the American guest had many warm words to say to the Poles. “Poland is one of our closest allies. We share the same values and ideals,” Biden said after the meeting with the Polish PM. Later on during the joint conference with the Polish President, Lech Kaczyński, the American VP said, “We have Poland in our hearts”. Biden came to Poland to neutralize the bad impression left by the unfortunate way Obama’s administration presented the new shield concept. He also came to confirm the US revised offer which Tusk later declared that Poland will accept. “Poland is willing to participate in the SM-3 project,” he said. After the meeting with Biden, Tusk explained that “the new plan for the world needs Poland to be more than a country that just needs help”. He added, “For Americans we have become a partner expected to take action and joint responsibility for all the good that is supposed to happen in the world”.
His guest was clearly pleased with such a declaration. “The US appreciates Poland’s willingness to take this step and to have the system’s elements installed,” Biden said and went on to add that “the shield will not only work for America’s benefit but also to increase NATO and Polish security”. He assured the Polish authorities that the US treats its obligations to its allies seriously. Various Polish diplomats told Rzeczpospolita that Warsaw did not expect any specifics from this visit; rather a formal confirmation of the American will to locate the modified SM-3 missiles in Poland. Wess Mitchell, the head of the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, says that the significance of Biden’s visit is quite substantial. “It is a step in the right direction. The Central-European allies needed to be thoroughly run through the workings of the new anti-missile defence system. They also needed a specific offer inviting them to become a part of this system. The offer that was put on the table is very fair but for the time being it is too removed in the future for its details to be of any greater significance. What is important, however, is that America has shown its allies that it remains a credible partner which fulfils its obligations,” Mitchell told Rzeczpospolita. “We have good reason to feel satisfied,” according to Polish Foreign Affairs Minister, Radosław Sikorski, summing up Biden’s visit for Polsat News. He went on to say that he will be flying to Washington in November where, in all likelihood, he will meet up with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
September 19, 2009
No Missiles, No Threat?
According to an opinion poll by GFK Polonia, most Poles are happy that the anti-ballistic missile defence system will not be built in Poland. 48% of Poles agree that the decision taken by the United States to drop its plans was good whereas 31% think it was a bad move. Almost a quarter of Poles do not have an opinion on the matter. More than half of all Poles believe that the level of security in Poland is the same as before, while 20% feel it is lower; 8% of respondents do not know. What is interesting is that 40% of Poles believe that the US withdrawal was an act of concession to Russia and a sign of disregard for Poland, America’s ally. Almost a third of Poles believe that the decision does not mean anything to Poles because the missile shield would not increase Poland’s safety anyway.
March 22, 2009
Not so Happy
Washington’s recent declaration has sealed Radosław Sikorski’s fate with regard to NATO. It is now almost certain that he will not become the head of the organisation because the USA will not support his candidacy. The person actually supported by the USA is the Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen. According to the Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry, however, “this information remains unofficial and negotiations continue”. However, the American diplomacy has already officially informed all their allies that they are supporting the Dutch PM. Therefore, the entire offensive on the part of the Polish diplomacy to put Sikorski’s candidacy forward has come to nothing. The Polish Foreign Minister’s candidature was lobbied for not only by Mr Sikorski himself but also by PM Donald Tusk and, what surprised many, also President Lech Kaczyński, known for his open dislike for the Polish foreign minister. The matter is not yet settled, though, according to Piotr Paszkowski, the Polish National Defence Ministry spokesperson. He claims informal consultations and negotiations in respect to appointing a new NATO Secretary General are still open. The fact that the Danish PM might become the head of NATO has been discussed before. The leaders of Germany, Great Britain and France are believed to have already agreed to support Mr Rasmussen’s candidacy. According to the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung Mr Sikorski had been at the top of the candidates’ list, but lost due to his hard-line stance on relations with Russia. In turn, one of the drawbacks of Mr Rasmussen’s candidacy is his rather moderate reaction to the publication of the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish press in 2006: he did not approve of them, but strongly emphasised freedom of speech as a value of utmost importance. Despite this, he continued to be considered the most serious candidate to head NATO, also due to his renowned talent for organisation. In December 2002, he chaired the EU summit in Copenhagen at which as many as 10 candidate countries, including Poland, finalised their accession talks.
March 15, 2009
Allied in Solidarity?
During Friday’s conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of Poland joining NATO, Donald Tusk appealed to other members: “Solidarity should be a key value for NATO,” he said. When joining the Alliance, Poland already had “extremely traumatic experiences from the past,” said the Prime Minister. He also stressed that solidarity, understood as “one for all, and all for one,” had failed in the 20th century. Unfortunately, the value of self was of the highest importance.
“Today, we are witnesses and sometimes even participants of the struggle between these two ideas. If the idea of solidarity prevails over the idea of selfishness, we will be confident in the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,” the PM said. Tusk also emphasised the fact that NATO should be a guarantor of security and the power of civilization based on values such as freedom, individualism, the free market and competition. When looking for new members, the Alliance should search for countries in which such values are still significant or “they are at least desired politically”. Referring to the upcoming elections for the NATO Secretary General, Tusk claimed that the Alliance needs a strong political leader. The President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, who also attended the conference, decorated the current NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who is retiring this year, with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.
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