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Secretary of State Kerry Visits Poland
Why is Poland the only European country on Secretary of State John Kerry’s early November travel agenda? Kerry’s visit is flanked by early November NATO war games, “STEADFAST JAZZ”, already underway when the Secretary of State landed in Poland, and the Vilinius Eastern Partnership Summit on 28-29 November. Read more about the war games and the summit in subsequent issues of this newspaper.
A contretemps in United States relations with Poland on a Middle East issue explains why Poland is on the Secretary’s agenda. Recently, Poland refused to participate in a United States planned invasion of Syria. Moreover, President Bronislaw Komorowski made it clear that Polish armed forces should NOT be deployed in any actions outside Europe. Experts say that the purpose of Secretary Kerry’s visit was to re-assure Poland’s leaders that state-to-state relations between our two countries are stable. In his speech to employees of the Unites States Embassy in Warsaw, the Secretary of State invoked America’s debt to General Casimir Pulaski and stressed the shared democratic values and geopolitical interests that bond the United Sates with Poland.
Kerry arrived in Warsaw Monday evening 4 November 2013 after having visited Egypt and Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday 5 November the Secretary of State met for talks with Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak. The Secretary of State promised that the United States will help Poland to modernize her armed forces. Then Kerry departed for Israel; he also plans to visit Palestine, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, and Morocco.
The highpoint of the Secretary of State’s visit to the land of our forefathers and our kin country took place in Lask (in the environs of Lodz) where the 32nd Military Airbase is located. Kerry decorated Lieutenant Colonel Wojciech Bagan, GROM Special Forces, who commanded Poland’s troops in Afghanistan, with the United States’ highest award for a soldier serving in a foreign army. Readers recall that the Lask airbase is where the United States has been continuously stationing, with four annual rotations, its first armed forces units on Polish soil: two units of F-16 jet fighters and two units of C-130 planes.
By John Czop