Intelligence Brief: Poland, France

Posted in Europe | 22-Feb-06

Polish President Lech Kaczynski visited Washington on February 9-10 and worked to reinforce the already excellent U.S.-Polish relationship on security- and energy-related matters. As PINR noted in September 2005, "for Washington's broad geopolitical aims, Poland is gaining more and more importance. Warsaw's goals coincide with Washington's interests on a number of foreign policy issues. The new containment of Russia is certainly the most evident." [See: "Poland's Rightward Turn and the Significance for Europe"]

Kaczynski discussed with U.S. President George W. Bush Warsaw's military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Polish president expressed his government's intention of prolonging Poland's engagement in the two countries according to its goals of effectively taking part in peacekeeping and reconstruction tasks in the post-war context, thus giving a concrete contribution to American efforts. Trying to capitalize on Polish fidelity to Washington, Kaczynski then addressed the N.A.T.O. issue.

As elections in Ukraine approach, Kaczynski stated that Poland is favorable to Kiev's accession to N.A.T.O., knowing that the U.S. is already working in the same direction.

For Warsaw, having a strong partnership with the U.S. means enhancing its chances to lead Central and Eastern Europe and shaping the "new Europe" geopolitical area in order to counter both Russian influence and Franco-German attempts to control the E.U.'s political integration process. Therefore, integrating Ukraine into N.A.T.O. and then into the E.U. is a sound foreign policy goal for Kaczynski.

A second hot topic in the bilateral discussions was energy security. Russia has consistently shown its determination in strictly cooperating with Germany while trying to exclude Polish territory from new European pipeline projects. As a result of this policy, Warsaw is striving to diversify its natural gas and oil supplies. Poland is working with Norway to study how to transport Norwegian natural gas to Poland, as reported recently by Scandinavian newspapers. Poland's efforts will meet approval from many global players (and especially by the United States, whose goal is to contain Russian influence in Europe) since Moscow's political use of its vast fossil resources has been very negatively perceived by several states. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Russian Gas Dispute"]

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