Poland–United States relations
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Polish–American relations officially began in 1919. Since 1989 Polish–American relations have been very good and Poland is one of the most stable European allies of the United States, being part of both NATO and the European Union.
In addition to close historical and cultural ties, Poland is one of the most consistently pro-American nations in Europe and the world, with 79% of Poles viewing the U.S. favorably in 2002 and 69% in 2012. According to a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, 55% of Poles view U.S. influence positively, the highest rating for any surveyed European country.
Before the 20th century
Although the partitioning of Poland which erased the Polish state from the map in 1795 prevented the establishment of official diplomatic relations between Poland and the new American state, Poland, which enacted the world's second oldest constitution in 1791, always considered the United States a positive influence, and even in the 18th century, important Polish figures such as Tadeusz Kościuszko and Kazimierz Pułaski became closely involved with shaping US history. Many Poles emigrated to United States during the 19th century, forming a large Polish American community.
Second Polish Republic
The United States established diplomatic relations with the newly formed Polish Republic in April 1919 but the relations between the two countries were distant, while positive (due to United States non-interventionism and Poland not being seen as important for US interests).
Eventually both countries became part of the Allies in the Second World War, but there was relatively little need for detailed coordination between the United States and the Polish government in exile.
On July 5, 1945, the US government recognized the communist government installed in Warsaw by the Soviet government, thus abandoning the Polish Government in Exile. After 1950, Poland (or the People's Republic of Poland since 1952) became part of the Soviet bloc, and as such, America's enemy in the Cold War. US first ambassador to post-war Poland, Arthur Bliss Lane, wrote a book I Saw Poland Betrayed about how the Western Allies abandoned their former ally, Poland, to the Soviet Union. However, Polish people have unofficially always considered United States a friendly power, and the Soviet Union an occupant.
After Gomułka came to power in 1956, relations with the United States began to improve. However, during the 1960s, reversion to a policy of full and unquestioning support for Soviet foreign policy objectives and negative attitude toward Israel during the Six-Day War caused those relations to stagnate. U.S.–Polish relations improved significantly after Edward Gierek succeeded Gomulka and expressed his interest in improving relations with the United States. A consular agreement was signed in 1972.
In 1974 Gierek was the first Polish leader to visit the United States. This action, among others, demonstrated that both sides wished to facilitate better relations.
The birth of Solidarity in 1980 raised the hope that progress would be made in Poland's external relations as well as in its domestic development. During this time, the United States provided $765 million in agricultural assistance. Human rights and individual freedom issues, however, were not improved upon, and the U.S. revoked Poland's most-favored-nation (MFN) status in response to the Polish Government's decision to ban Solidarity in 1981. MFN status was reinstated in 1987, and diplomatic relations were upgraded.
The United States and Poland have enjoyed warm bilateral relations since 1989. Every post-1989 Polish government has been a strong supporter of continued American military and economic presence in Europe, and Poland is one of the most staunch allies of the United States.
When Poland joined NATO on March 12, 1999 the two countries became part of the same military alliance. As well as supporting the Global War on Terror, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and coalition efforts in Iraq (where Polish contingent was one of the largest), Poland cooperates closely with the United States on such issues as democratization, nuclear proliferation, human rights, regional cooperation in central and eastern Europe, and reform of the United Nations.
Barack Obama visited Poland on 27–28 May 2011. He met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski. The American and Polish leaders discussed economic, military and technology cooperation issues.
US missile defense complex in Poland
The 'US missile defense complex in Poland was part of the Ballistic Missile Defense European Capability of the US, to be placed in Redzikowo, Słupsk, Poland, forming a Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system in conjunction with a US narrow-beam midcourse tracking and discrimination radar system in the Brdy, Czech Republic. The plan was cancelled in 2009.
The Polish society was divided on the issue. According to a poll by SMG/KRC released by TVP 50 per cent of respondents rejected the deployment of the shield on Polish soil, while 36 per cent supported it.
The Obama administration's decision to cancel a proposed defense complex in Poland was categorized as "appeasement" to the Russian Federation by the supporters of the plan.
In October 2009, with a trip by Vice President Joe Biden to Warsaw, a new, smaller interceptor project on roughly the same schedule as the Bush administration plan, was introduced, and welcomed by Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
American entry for Poles issue
A substantial and repeated criticism in Poland of US approach to Poland revolves about US refusal to allow Poles a visa-free entry to United States, despite the fact that most European Union countries – often much less supportive of US on the international scene – have no visa requirements. USA remains the last non-Arab developed country in the World to require short-stay visas from Polish citizens. Polish passport basically allows free movement or easily obtaining visa for every country in the World, except for the USA - see Visa requirements for Polish citizens.
During his visit to Poland in 2011, Pres. Obama said of the Visa Waiver Program, "I am going to make this a priority. And I want to solve this issue before very long. My expectation is that this problem will be solved during my presidency." Some Poles have been deeply disappointed by the Obama administration's inaction on the issue, and believe this was an empty promise.
"Polish death camps"
In May 2012, during Medal of Freedom Ceremony, Obama referred to the concentration camps run by Nazis in Poland during World War II as "Polish death camps," a term the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said showed "ignorance, lack of knowledge and ill will." Calling them "Polish death camps", Tusk said, implied that Poland was responsible and that "there had been no Nazis, no German responsibility, no Hitler." After a White House spokesman issued a regret of misstatement by clarifying that the President was referring to the Nazi death camps, Tusk expressed an expectation of "a reaction more inclined to eliminate once and for all these kinds of errors,".
- Opinion of the United States - Poland Pew Research Center
- 2013 World Service Poll BBC
- President Bush Participates in Joint Statement with President Kaczynski of Poland
- "Poland Agrees to Accept U.S. Missile Interceptors" by Peter Baker, The New York Times, October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009.
- October 18, 2011 (2011-10-18). "Bad idea to exclude Poland from U.S. Visa Waiver Program - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30. Text "By David Harris " ignored (help)
- White House shrugs off Polish apology demands
- Janusz Reiter, The Visa Barrier, Washington Post, August 29, 2007
- Michalski, Artur;, Poland’s Relations with the United States, Yearbook of Polish Foreign Policy (01/2005),