The US Congress confirmed the outcome of the presidential election. Will it change the nature of Polish-American relations?
Marcin Przedec (Deputy Foreign Minister): Polish-American relations are based on a solid foundation of shared values and a similar awareness of threats, and for this I am convinced that on fundamental matters, such as security issues, we will deal with continuity. Our good cooperation, whether in the NATO forum or in the bilateral format, is independent of whoever sits in the Oval Office. Poland has good experiences in cooperating with both Republican and Democratic administrations. In recent years, we have been able to make tremendous progress in our cooperation – NATO and Washington’s decisions on the deployment of military units fundamentally change the security situation not only in Poland, but in all of Central and Eastern Europe. After many years of efforts, the government of law and justice has managed to cancel visas to the United States. It was President Andrzej Duda who led to the unprecedented participation of the United States in the Three Seas Initiative. Collaboration in the energy and defense industries is also booming. I am convinced that this good cooperation will continue. Many of these initiatives enjoyed multi-party support in Washington, not only from Republicans and Donald Trump, but also from Democrats. Suffice it to mention the recent Congressional resolution appealing to the US administration for greater participation in the Three Seas, with the support of members of Congress from both political parties. What may change is the style and language of US diplomacy. Joe Biden will definitely be a different president than Donald Trump. The United States will certainly attach more importance to multilateral cooperation, and the announcement of a return to the Paris Agreement and the appointment of JK Kerry shows how important climate issues are to Washington. Ideological issues will also appear on the agenda, because although the president-elect himself is a classic center, there is an active group of the progressive left in his Democratic Party, his backbone, who will try to put their demands on the agenda of the White House and State Department. . Nevertheless, I am convinced that the well-founded Polish-American alliance will develop and that our cooperation will continue in the interest of our nations.
Are you not afraid that Biden’s choice could mean that the United States will become the site of an ideological attack by the far left, which will also affect Poland?
There is a very active left environment in the Democratic Party, and the pro-Democrat media establishment is somewhat left-wing, but Joe Biden himself is a classic center. He is a very experienced politician, who has suffered and seen a lot in his life – I think he understands a lot more than some representatives of the left circles. He definitely understands the task he is facing. His administration will focus first on domestic affairs, and we can see how much of a rift is taking place in the United States – how much work is being done by federal authorities to mitigate these disagreements. Coupled with the pandemic and economic problems – I think these are the things that will upset and support the president-elect in the first place. I do not rule out that under the pressure of these circles, some of their assumptions may appear in the media space, however, the foreign policy of the United States is always based on a comprehensive analysis of the situation and interests. Poland, with its love of freedom and sovereignty, and its adherence to democracy and values, is in many ways similar to the United States – I think Washington understands this very well.
How do you comment on the protests that took place in the Capitol building? And did they reveal the weakness of the American electoral system?
Like everyone else viewing these pictures, I was very anxious. Poland has always been in favor of strong transatlantic relations. However, the precondition for this is a strong Europe on the one hand and a strong United States on the other. For more than 200 years, American democracy has been based on values and institutions that allow it to overcome all challenges, including those of an internal nature, and this time it has proven that it can overcome them.
The opposition accuses the government of not responding adequately in this regard. what do you say?
I am already used to the fact that the opposition criticizes all our actions. I think the State Department’s response is the most appropriate. I am not particularly supportive of instructing everyone and everything, including other countries, especially allies, how to act. We have seen a crisis that the relevant US democratic institutions have dealt appropriately and adequately. This must be considered their success. As I understand it, the Polish opposition, which drew its knowledge from Twitter comments, had a fever of emotion. And in foreign policy, emotions are not a good advisor.
Donald Trump has announced that he will not appear to be right behind him. Will America face a fierce battle between the main parties?
In America, as in many European countries, there is a very acute conflict of a political, social and ideological nature. On the one hand, we have an increasingly aggressive left and a favorable media organization, on the other hand, masses of people with somewhat conservative views who do not want to agree to the changes that it introduces or even the extreme left sometimes imposes. Action creates a reaction. Aggression breeds aggression. This overlaps with social change, migration, epidemics, and economic crisis. The whole thing is being reported by the media, which are often less responsible and more hungry for popularity, which somehow stimulates emotions and promotes an increasingly harsh language. This observation makes me believe that the political conflict will unfortunately intensify, and not only in the United States. This is why calm analysis and unemotional behavior of foreign policy are so necessary, because this is often, in the “superstructure” of political conflict, it is actually based on the “basis” of real interests.