Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dr. Longin Pastusiak Speaks at USC Polish American History

Dr. Longin Pastusiak Speaks at USC Polish American History

The title of his speech was “Is Poland America’s ‘Trojan Horse’ in the EU?” The whole idea of his speech was to shed some light on the current missile defense base that the United States has proposed to install in Poland. Poland has seemed somewhat reluctant in recent months to go along with this plan. Therefore, to try to get things moving again, talks between the two countries started yesterday and according to the International Herald, things preceded smoothly. However, in his speech, Dr. Pastusiak pointed out several reasons why the US might run into problems with Poland cooperating completely.

Before Dr. Pastusiak listed some of the reasons tensions are forming between our two countries, he gave a lbried history of Polish/US relations and why Poles seem to have such a strong liking for the United States. He contributed several things to why we are on such good terms. One of the reasons is that Poles have had such a long history with our country, going back to having colonists at Jamestown. Poles were also present during our Revolutionary War and played and important part training some of our forces.

He even stated that in more recent times, the United States has always helped Poland. At the end of WWI, Woodrow Wilson established an independent nation of Poland with his Fourteen Points. American aid programs were also there helping the Poles reconstruct their country after the war. Another reason for our good relationship can be contributed to the fact that we have never had a war with Poland. This might not seem like a lot but when you consider that the rest of Europe has some deep seeded animosity because of past wars, our peaceful relationship helps a lot.

After stating all these reason why Poles like Americans, he stated some issues that are presently straining our relationship. One problem is that despite the good relationship in politics between our two countries, the economical relationship isn’t there. According to Dr. Pastusiak, Poland is currently our 11th largest trading partner. Another issue that is straining our relationship is the unfullfillment of our promise to help Poland’s army modernize. Dr. Pastusiak pointed out that our current promised aid is only $20 million. This is minuscule compared to the billions that we have given to Israel and Egypt.

Finally, the missile defense base that the US wants to install in Poland is straining our relationship. Poland had an assessment taken and the risk currently outweigh the benefits for installing a defense base. Combine this with the fact that 52% of Poles don’t want the base there and you get some tension forming between our two countries. This is why the talks mentioned above are taking place; the US is trying to negotiate some way to make sure the benefits outweigh the risks to the country. According to Dr. Pastusiak, some of the issues on the table are things like installing patriot missile systems to defend this base along with demanding the necessary funding to successfully modernize the Polish Army

Dr. Longin Pastusiak Speaks at USC (Part 2)

waiting for the Part 3
Dr. Longin Pastusiak Speaks at USC (Part 4)