Poland positions itself as a key Trump ally

While most European leaders hold their noses and grimace at the very thought of a Donald Trump presidency, those in Poland are taking a more sober, and even supportive, stance at the prospect of Trump emerging victorious

A special relationship with Poland?
Przemek Skwirczynski
On 6 October 2016 14:53

Despite the US Presidential election being such a close-fought contest between the Democrat and Republican candidates, most leading European politicians still put fingers in their ears and scream, “la-la-la”, whenever Donald Trump is mentioned, seemingly oblivious to the fact he may well become their counterpart very soon.

Even the key Atlanticist countries such as the United Kingdom stopped just short of burning bridges when ex-PM Cameron criticised Trump’s policies as “divisive, stupid and wrong”, and Parliament debated banning the presidential hopeful from entering the UK.

It seems that Polish politicians are being a little bit more level-headed, perhaps in the knowledge that they will have to cooperate with whoever takes over, after the foreign policy disaster left by Obama, in re-building whatever is left of America’s “special relationship” with her European allies.

In particular, the Polish Secretary of State in charge of international dialogue Anna Maria Anders is of the view that, “Trump will be OK as president, provided he picks good advisors and listens to them”.

She points out that, “Ronald Reagan had also been made fun of during the presidential campaign, with his adversaries picking on his previous career as an actor, yet he turned out to be one of top US Presidents”.

Democrats have certainly managed to rub the ten or so million Polish Americans during this campaign the wrong way. Firstly, with Bill Clinton referring to Poland as a, “Putin-like dictatorship, then with Barack Obama using last summer’s Warsaw NATO summit to make controversial remarks about Poland’s internal affairs concerning her Constitutional Tribunal.

Opining on the latter, Anders described Obama’s comment as, “unhelpful, as it distracted some media from the fact the NATO summit was a great success”.

Secretary of State Anders, who was born in the UK and recently moved to Poland following two decades spent in the States, doesn’t hide her American political sympathies and proudly announces that “she has voted Republican for years” and that she believes “a Republican president would be better for US relations with Poland”.

On Trump’s vice-presidential running mate Anders comments that “Mike Pence appears conservative and a stabilising influence”. With regard to Donald Trump’s campaign, she is of the opinion that, “he may have come across as aggressive but that is a price one pays for saying things that others are not brave enough to talk about, which allowed him to secure such broad support”.

“Indeed, Americans are worried about immigration and believe that USA keeps saving the rest of the world over and over, which doesn’t tend to be met with sufficient gratitude”, she continues, and adds that she believes,

“Trump will continue to support NATO and we won’t have a situation where he forgets about Europe”. Commenting on the trickier subject of European security vis-à-vis Russia, Secretary of State Anders states that, “Trump may think that we should be more diplomatic and establish a dialogue with Putin”.

This very much follows the forecast I made on these pages in early November 2015, soon after the formation of the Polish government by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, where I predicted they would do their best to ensure Atlanticism is revived in this part of the world, with Republicans looked at most favourably.

Of course, the Atlanticism currently emanating from Poland is not limited to paying due regard to the future American President. Poland has been markedly more interested in rebuilding her relationship with the United Kingdom, something that became apparent during Cameron’s “negotiations”, as I suggested in my February 2016 Tydzien Polski article.

With Theresa May now set to trigger Article 50 by next March, and the American presidency truly in the balance, the increasingly influential Poland might well turn out to be best positioned to replace the United Kingdom as the USA’s go-to country in the European Union.

The political dinosaur Clinton who clearly belongs in the twentieth century would probably continue to court Angela Merkel whom she confessed to idolise, but President Trump could well be responsible for a strategic shake-up.

The Donald certainly reciprocates interest in mutual relations, as his last week’s impassioned speech to the National Polish Congress in Chicago suggests.

We might be in for some rapid changes in Europe’s political landscape.

Przemek Skwirczynski is a an economist, and banker. He writes in a personal capacity

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