Election in America: Romney Gives Poland an Opening (Rzeczpospolita, Poland)
Would Mitt Romney be a better friend to Poland than President Obama? For Poland’s Rzeczpospolita, columnist Tomasz Deptula writes that Romney’s Republican nomination acceptance speech, because it omitted any mention of Afghanistan and China but included Poland, shows that his visit to Poland and criticism of President Obama is more than mere stagecraft, and if he wins, Warsaw will have a better hand to play in Washington.
Foreign policy during a party convention is usually a secondary issue, unless America is involved in a conflict bringing harsh media coverage. Not surprisingly, the Republican candidate for president devoted just a few sentences to diplomacy in his convention speech in Tampa. Mr. Romney spoke of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the current administration “throwing Israel under the bus,” easing sanctions on Cuba and leaving Poland in the lurch by abandoning missile defense. He also announced a hardening of policy toward Russia.
Poles already heard these comments from Romney during his visit to Gdansk and Warsaw. But now he said them to a prime-time audience of tens of millions of Americans on Thursday night, when they tuned in to hear what the official Republican candidate for president had to say.
It turns out that for the Romney camp, the issue of Poland is more important than the war in Afghanistan, China’s economic growth or the situation in the Arab world- these were completely forgotten in his 35-minute speech.
Although Polish diplomacy needs to focus on European issues, it has a lot to gain in D.C. Years ago, during his stay in the United States, Foreign Minister Rados?aw Sikorski associated himself with the conservative community and groups like the American Enterprise Institute and the New Atlantic Initiative. He should have little trouble establishing closer contacts with Mr. Romney’s camp, without giving up on dialogue with the current administration. And after the politician wins the election, we will need to hold him to his word.
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