Poland

  • Fred Joins Polityka Insight to Discuss Poland's Position in the World Today


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  • A Controversial Bill in Poland Would Make it Illegal to Use the Term ‘Polish Death Camps’

    On February 1 Poland’s Senate passed a controversial bill that would make it illegal to blame Poles for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. Violations would be punished by fines or prison sentences up to three years.

    Polish President Andrzej Duda has previously said that he will consider signing the measure into law. That would risk a rupture in Poland’s ties with Israel and the United States.

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  • Backsliding on Democracy Imperils Security in Ukraine and Poland

    Poland and Ukraine are frontline states for European security. That fact alone makes their mutual backsliding away from democratic reform—the indispensable precondition for their revival and security—so dangerous. The Polish government seems to want to return to its interwar model; at that time, it repressed its minorities and ultimately failed, ending up bereft of friends and allies when its crisis came. Yet its current leadership seems to have learned little from that lesson.

    Polish security today depends on its membership in NATO and the EU, and those organizations’ support for it. In NATO, the United States is the leading power, and Poland’s relationship with Washington is the foundation of its security; the relationship involves billions of dollars allocated to Polish defense infrastructure, armed forces, and weapons for its defense against Russia. In the EU, Germany plays a similar role. But the Polish government seems intent on alienating precisely those states upon whose goodwill its security depends.

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  • Braw in Foreign Affairs: What Poland Can Do for Europe


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  • NATO Faces Serious Shortcomings in Command Revamp

    Since the end of June, a report marked "NATO SECRET" has been circulating in headquarters in Brussels that unsparingly lists the alliance's weaknesses.
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  • US and NATO Allies Grapple with Countering Russia’s Cyber Offensive

    NATO’s long-standing tactical advantage on the battlefield could be at risk as cyber adversaries probe for weak points in the U.S.-led security pact’s networks, a top alliance official said.
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  • Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Trends Bode Badly for Ukraine

    A recent increase in illiberal trends in a number of Eastern European countries threatens to erode support for Ukraine in the region. Just as important, it may lead to disillusionment inside Ukraine, where reformers have drawn on the region’s democracy building experience as guidance for Ukraine’s own reforms.

    Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries launched profound pro-market, pro-democratic, and pro-European transformations, quickly becoming members of NATO and the European Union. These young EU members were a source of inspiration for Ukraine’s pro-European activists and reformers at a time when Ukraine was perceived as “stuck in transition”—captured in the vicious cycle of an oligarchic economic model and corrupt political decision-making. Following the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine made important progress in energy pricing, procurement, and increased public service transparency by introducing electronic declarations, but is still striving to catch up in areas like the rule of law and protection of property rights.

    But Eastern Europe may no longer serve as a model for Ukraine’s reforms: some of these countries’ own democratic institutions are now under threat.

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  • Duda’s Veto Presents Poland with an Opportunity

    Warsaw must focus on repairing ties with the European Union, said Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to veto controversial judicial reforms gives Poland—the scene of creeping authoritarianism—an opportunity to mend its relationship with the European Union (EU). It also represents a significant split between the president and Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and a man to whom Duda owes much of his political career.

    On July 24, Duda vetoed two of three controversial judicial reforms approved by parliament. These include replacing supreme court judges with government nominees.

    “[Duda’s decision] gives Poland the opportunity to walk back from the brink with the European Union,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative.

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  • Poland’s Revolutionary Lessons for Ukraine

    In the last thirty years, Ukraine has undergone three revolutions: the Revolution on Granite (1990), the Orange Revolution (2004-2005), and the Revolution of Dignity (2013-2014)—each about different values. The first one was about the right to independence, the second about fair elections, and the third about the right to choose the country’s geopolitical direction.

    For Poles who planned and participated in the revolution of the 1980s, the key was to be ready for the window of opportunity—have an idea, clear demands, a plan for reforms, and ready leaders. On average, a country is presented with a chance for change every fifty years. Ukraine seems to be an exception and gets its chance every ten years.

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  • Atlantic Council Honors Champions of Freedom

    The political, security, and humanitarian challenges facing the world today cannot be overcome without international cooperation and a concerted effort to strengthen the “solidarity of values” of the transatlantic community, Daniel Fried, a recipient of the Atlantic Council’s 2017 Freedom Award, said at the awards ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, on July 7.

    The post-World War II international order created by the collaborative efforts of the United States and Europe “is at risk and under assault from without—from Russia—and from within—from those who doubt the value of what the free world achieved and what the free world stands for,” said Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for Europe who is currently a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Future Europe Initiative.  

    In an ardent call for transatlantic cooperation, Fried said: “We must equally recommit to the free world and the common values which have propelled us this far.”

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