Thursday, May 31, 2012

Smart Diplomacy

Yesterday, Obama offended a close American ally, Poland, by referring to a Nazi Holocaust site as a "Polish death camp."
Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Obama's words had hurt all Poles and he expected more from Washington than just regret.
"I am convinced that our American friends can today allow themselves a stronger reaction than a simple expression of regret from the White House spokesman -- a reaction more inclined to eliminate once and for all these kinds of errors," Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.
"Today, this is a problem for the reputation of the United States," the prime minister said.
Members of Poland's Jewish community -- including the country's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich -- said in a statement that: "We expect President Barack Obama to personally correct his words."
Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski said meanwhile he had sent a letter to Obama "counting on (...) cooperation in correcting this unfortunate error" which "I am certain in no way reflects the thoughts or views of our American friend."
While this verbal miscue probably reflects incompetence and amateurism more than anything else (though imagine the left's reaction if Bush were the guilty party), it is but the latest incident to strain relations between America and Poland.  For example, it was back in September 2009, on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland, that Obama announced he would capitulate Russia and abandon the missile defense shield program Poland had previously agreed to host.

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