Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

Smart diplomacy: “Polish death camps”

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

President Obama Causes Outrage with Reference to ‘Polish Death Camp’

The president had been trying to honor a famous Pole, awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter who sneaked behind enemy lines to bear witness to the atrocities being committed against Jews. President Obama referred to him being smuggled “into the Warsaw ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.”

The White House statement also used the term “Polish death camps,”

For years, Jan Karski’s students at Georgetown University knew he was a great professor; what they didn’t realize was he was also a hero. Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.

Video:


Doug Mataconis,

This is something that someone probably should have noticed beforehand and realized that it was not only historically inaccurate but that it would cause our Polish friends to be upset about something that, even 67 years later is still an open wound for them.

For good reason: According to this paper, in addition to three million Polish Jews,

Documentation remains fragmentary, but today scholars of independent Poland believe that 1.8 to 1.9 million Polish civilians (non-Jews) were victims of German occupation policies and the war. This approximate total includes Poles killed in executions or who died in prisons, forced labor, and concentration camps. It also includes an estimated 225,000 civilian victims of the 1944 Warsaw uprising, more than 50,000 civilians who died during the 1939 invasion and siege of Warsaw, and a relatively small but unknown number of civilians killed during the Allies’ military campaign of 1944-45 to liberate Poland.

The prime minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, demanded an apology.

Nile Gardiner points out that

President Obama has a long track record of insulting the Poles. In 2010 he chose to play golf on the day of the funeral of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the Polish First Lady, and 94 senior officials who perished in the Smolensk air disaster. Eight months earlier he humiliated Warsaw by pulling out of the agreement over Third Site missile defence installations in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The White House said President Barack Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish war hero.

Or, as Smitty calls it, “a clown nose-off.”

AND, the media’s too busy paying attention to The (other) Donald,

Oh wait, sorry, the MSM is of course completely ignoring this because Trump talking to Blitzer about Birther crap is obviously of much greater importance to our country than our relationship with our strongest ally on the European continent.

Maybe Obama will send Donald Tusk an iPod; that would make the news.

UPDATE:
Joel Pollak explains WHY ‘POLISH DEATH CAMP’ GAFFE MATTERS: ALL OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY IS DOMESTIC

Obama is more than a leftist; he is also a Chicago politician. And big-city politicians of both parties discover that a cheap and easy way to rally voters from particular communities and interest groups–or at least to prevent a stronger vote for the opposite side–is to express public sympathy with whatever cause those constituencies hold dearest, even if those sympathies tend to contradict each other. Those politicians who care about being caught in the middle will be candid in expressing their own views, while remaining open to the views of others; those who believe they can get away with being all things to all people, or who see the whole exercise as just another way of feeding the voting machines, will fall into the trap that Obama has just sprung on himself.
For Obama, all foreign policy is domestic policy. That is true, to some extent, of all presidents, but especially of this one, whose fundamental ambition is the transformation of American society, and who is running a desperate divide-and-conquer strategy he hopes will enable him to carry that transformative agenda into a second term.

It Wasn’t a “Gaffe”, it was a slap in the face.


Pres. of Poland dies in plane crash

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

President of Poland Killed in Plane Crash in Russia

A plane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of the country’s top political and military leaders crashed in a heavy fog in western Russia on Saturday morning, killing everyone aboard.

They were on their way to a ceremony commemorating the murder of more than 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviet secret police after the Red Army invaded Poland.

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion points out the tragedy is weather-related, and that,

Just days ago I wrote about the Katyn Forest massacre, and the hopeful sign that for the first time the Russians and Poles were commemorating that tragedy together. For the leadership of Poland to die en route is a tragedy upon tragedy.

The Astute Bloggers have more on the Katyn massacre.

UPDATE
Maggie’s Farm asks,

Wonder what hollow words President Obama will utter now?

Today’s loss is devastating to Poland, to the United States, and to the world. President Kaczynski was a distinguished statesman who played a key role in the Solidarity movement, and he was widely admired in the United States as a leader dedicated to advancing freedom and human dignity. With him were many of Poland’s most distinguished civilian and military leaders who have helped to shape Poland’s inspiring democratic transformation. We join all the people of Poland in mourning their passing.

As usual from Obama, contradicted by his undercutting of Poland volunteering to host anti-missile defense and his disdain for Polish President Lech Kaczynski when alive. Israel surely gets the point.

Not surprising, is it?

Later…
Richard Fernandez writes about The woods of Smolensk.

First Lech, now Vaclav

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

A year ago, Hugo Chavez banned Lech Walesa from meeting with the Venezuelan opposition. Back then I posted on it at Real Clear World.

Fast-forward fourteen months, and what do you have? Hero of the Cold War, Vaclav Havel, Snubbed for START II by Thin-Skinned President:

More of that smart diplomacy I was promised — major players on the world stage obnoxiously insulted according to where they are on our juvenile president’s “Who’s Hot/Who’s Not” list.
Europe’s most famous Cold War warrior and former communist political prisoner was excluded from a ceremony yesterday where Russia and the U.S. took steps toward world peace.

Vaclav Havel, the president of Czechoslovakia and then Czech Republic for 13 years, was not invited to the signing of the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty by President Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev…

You can’t be in Obama’s or Hugo’s “Who’s Hot” lists if you are a hero of the Cold War.

Polish PM won’t take Obama’s, or Hillary’s, calls

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The Polish Prime Minister knows when he’s being sold down the river, and wasn’t about to make nice:
Polish PM wouldn’t take U.S. calls

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk confirmed today that he declined last night to take a call from the U.S. informing him of the decision to scrap planned missile-defense bases in his country.

Two U.S.-based sources close to the Polish government said Thursday that Tusk also rejected a call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — on the grounds that, as the head of the government, he should speak to the president.

“Hillary called — and the reason he turned it down was because of protocol,” said a source.

Questions about the exchanges surfaced in the Polish press after Obama reached the Czech prime minister late last night to warn of the policy change, but did not speak to the Pole until this morning. And the static offers a glimpse at the distress beneath the diplomatic facade being offered by Eastern European leaders.

Polish Radio reports today that Tusk confirmed an earlier press report that he hadn’t taken Obama’s call but denied it was due to “technical difficulties.”

Tusk said he declined to speak with President Obama during the night because he wanted to “properly prepare for the discussion.”

A Polish Embassy spokesman noted that Tusk ultimately spoke to Obama, while Clinton spoke to the country’s foreign minister.

This highlights a few facts:
a. As Michael Goldfarb stated yesterday,

the administration did not undertake any serious consultation with the allies affected by this decision, displaying a kind of unilateralism that became one of the core Democratic criticisms of the Bush administration’s diplomacy

b. The president did not see fit to advise in person any of the allies affected, even when they see this decision as potentially catastrophic. They were not called to Washington, instead they got a phone call.
c. Obama does not understand the niceties of protocol, sending the help to do the call to a head of state, instead of doing the calling. Next thing you know Tusk will be getting a set of DVDs as a consolation prize.

Max Boot writes about More Naiveté

US capitulates to Putin, drops missile shield

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

U.S. to Shelve Nuclear-Missile Shield
Defense Plans for Poland, Czech Republic to Be Dropped as Iran Rocket Threat Downgraded; Moscow Likely to Welcome Move

The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.

The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran’s long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Just as the WSJ is reporting that story, Agence France Presse comes up with this one: France ‘certain’ Iran working on nukes

French intelligence agencies are certain that Iran is hiding a nuclear weapons program, President Nicolas Sarkozy says.

“We cannot let Iran acquire nuclear” weapons because it would also be a threat to Israel, Sarkozy said during a meeting at the Elysee presidential palace with lawmakers from his conservative UMP party on Tuesday.

“It is a certainty to all of our secret services. Iran is working today on a nuclear (weapons) program,” he said.

The French leader also said he would not “shake the hand of someone who wants to wipe Israel off the map”, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So the French think the Iranians are getting nukes, but the Obama administration is not worried because the Iranian rockets are not ready to deliver them?

But, guess what, Intelligence Agencies Say No New Nukes in Iran
Secret updates to White House challenge European and Israeli assessments.

Not only does the administration think the Iranians don’t have the rockets, they don’t even believe Iran could get the bomb.

Gee, that so eases my mind!

Alright kids, let’s make Vlad happy, then!
Michael Goldfarb:

This represents a complete capitulation to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who had demanded that the proposed deployments be halted as a price for improved relations. Ironically, the Obama administration, which is appeasing Russia in the hopes that Moscow will help put pressure on Iran, has made this mammoth concession just a few days after Moscow declared that it had no intention of supporting sanctions against Iran.

The consequences of this action in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine and in other countries that feel vulnerable to Russian power, will be disastrous. It is a major American retreat in the face of Russian bullying. And we will get absolutely nothing for it.

More Obama-brand diplomacy:

A source tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the team in the air to Europe will be making stops in Warsaw, Prague, and Brussels. It sounds like the administration did not undertake any serious consultation with the allies affected by this decision, displaying a kind of unilateralism that became one of the core Democratic criticisms of the Bush administration’s diplomacy.

The Czech Interim Prime Minister got a midnight call. They couldn’t even bother to tell him in person.

From the day Obama was sworn in, the entire foreign policy has been, “appease our enemies, drop our friends.”

Let’s take a look at the map, and think fireworks,

Iranian range

Many other bloggers will be remarking that this move by the Obama administration gives the Czechs and Poles (and Israel) the middle finger. You can also be assured that Chavez is also welcoming the news, big time.

Exit question,
Is the healthcare debate timed to coincide with this in order to distract from the disastrous foreign policy, or is it just another disastrous move out of many?

UPDATE
While we’re at it, let’s appease China and throw the Dalai Lama under the bus, too.

At DEBKA, Sarkozy accuses Iran of hiding nuclear weapons program which threatens Israel

The first Western leader to expressly admit knowledge of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said: “It is a certainty to all of our secret services. Iran is working today on a nuclear (weapons) program.” He added: “We cannot let Iran acquire nuclear” weapons because it would also be a threat to Israel.” Sarkozy spoke during a meeting at the Elysee presidential palace with lawmakers from his UMP party Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The French president said he would not shake the hand (of Iran’s president at the UN General Assembly) of “someone who wants to wipe Israel off the map.”

DEBKAfile’s militlary sources add:

French intelligence has thus gone further than US intelligence agencies which maintained in an assessment to leaked to the media on Sept. 10: “Iran has created enough nuclear fuel to make a rapid, if risky, spring for a nuclear weapon,” and “Iran has deliberately stopped short of the critical last steps to make a bomb.”

France is one of the five permanent UN Security Council members with veto powers. Together with Germany they have agreed to meet Iranian representatives on Oct. 1 for talks, although Tehran insists they will not cover its “inalienable nuclear rights.”

At least Sarko’s awake.

In today’s podcast
This will be the subject of today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.

More
The gathering storm, part 168
Surrender and Betrayal Do Not Make Us Safer

Update 2
Adding insult to injury is the timing of the announcement: A friend emailed reminding me that September 17 is the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland. Nice going! Jules has more, lots more, on that.

Michael Goldfarb examines the decision:
(more…)