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Former American ambassador to Poland commends Polish foreign policy

Daniel Fried,a distinguished fellow at the American think tank The Atlantic Council, who previously served as the American ambassador to Poland, has commended Poland’s vocal support to Ukraine amid the Russo-Ukraine conflict. He wrote that Poland has stood on the frontier of war and its international position has greatly grown due to the support extended by its leadership to Ukraine during the Russian aggression. This merits, he wrote, that when a Polish foreign minister delivers a comprehensive foreign policy statement, as Zbigniew Rau did last month, the global world should pay particular heed.

Fried addressed various facets of Rau’s ”Expose”.
He wrote that it presents a compelling strategic vision for Poland, including commitment to a rules-based international order and a free world to defend it, enduring alliance with the United States, resistance to Russia’s aggression, and support for Ukraine in its war of survival and its full integration with the EU. He also appreciated the fact that the foreign minister placed Russia’s war against Ukraine at the center of Poland’s strategy.

He also noted that given the fact that there is currently a right-wing government in Poland, many in Western Europe and the United States have often associated Poland with Hungary which is led by the nationalist Prime Minister Victor Orbán. This association, he added, is mistaken and largely exaggerated, and it fell apart after Putin opened a full-scale war against Ukraine. Unlike Poland, Orbán’s Hungary has pursued a more ethnic-nationalist agenda with Ukraine. He wrote that Orbán often seems to have no qualms in making a common cause with Moscow even while accepting most EU sanctions against Russia. He remarked that Rau’s remarks included a sharp break with Hungary, noting their “fundamentally different” perceptions of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, a divergence that “concerns the vital interests of Poland and Europe as a whole.”

“For Poland, strategic divergence over Ukraine trumps some ideological compatibility”, he said.

He also added that Poland has witnessed an extraordinary transformation and a rapid economic growth ever since overthrowing communist rule in 1989. Therefore, Poland has the potential to emerge as an agenda setter in Europe and a critical ally of the United States in the face of a hostile and dangerous Russia.

He wrote that during communist rule, Poland’s democratic dissidents belonging to different political spectrums, all maintained that Poland belonged in an undivided Europe and the Western alliance. After coming to power after 1989, they materialized their vision by pushing, successfully, NATO and the EU to open their doors to Poland and Europe’s other newly free nations. And today, as Russia wages war against Ukraine, Poland still stands, rightly, for expanding the frontiers of freedom in Europe. He hoped that Poland would be able to build on its past success to achieve this important goal.

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