Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Are Poles starting to go off Americans?


A new opinion poll suggests that this is so (pictured: Presidents Bush and Kwasniewski).

The CBOS opinion pollsters report that Poland’s three favorite nations are Italy, Britain and Spain.

Unfortunately, Poles still seem to have some unhealthy prejudices against Arabs and Roma gypsies.

But the main surprise in the CBOS survey is that support for the US has decreased this year by sixteen percent. Americans now rank alongside Czechs - a nation Poles have never had a great affection for.

But why?

After all the support that Polish governments have given the US – in the so-called ‘War on Terror', in the War in Iraq, and so on – many here are smarting that the US has not given Poles visa free travel. Even though Poland has given America tender loving care and special treatment over the years - especially since 9/11 - this love and care appears to be unrequited.

And now we have the CIA ‘gulag’ scandals, making Poles fear that they are rapidly going up the al-Qaeda hit list.

If George W. Bush is stuck for a few ideas for Polish Christmas presents this year, then may I suggest that a plane ticket to Washington, but without the usual queue at the Embassy in Warsaw for a visa, would slip inside the Polish stocking very nicely.

11 comments:

Pan Emigrant said...

The idea that the US is a promised land where the horn of plenty flows over into the poised mouths of the huddled masses is still firmly wedged into the Polish psyche. Could Poland's unique brand of the Roman Catholic church (propagating far-right politics through its inept, though growing, 'media empire'), a recipient of big US religious bucks, be helping here?

Pan Emigrant said...

And what happened to our recently-won suspicion of Polish opinion polls?

beatroot said...

Point taken...

Michael Farris said...

For what it's worth. I think my students now are significantly less interested in the US than my students five or more years ago were. Part of it has been joining the EU and part of it is W, I get the feeling that Polish people just haven't warmed to him (his father was extremely popular and Clinton won them over after a shaky beginning). Residual pro US feeling is still high, but not what it once was.
A fair amount go for summer work programs but not as many as a few years ago and for the great majority, that's enough.

Pan Emigrant said...

I wonder if Poland is benefitting as much as it was supposed to from the offset programme on its purchase of F-16 jets from the US?

Michael Farris said...

panie emigrancie,
I'm not sure what the technical truth is, but the popular perception is ... no. More acurately, the popular perception is that the US has welched on that particular (on not only htat particular) deal. A friend's brother works in an industry that was supposed to benefit, but as far as he can tell it never happened.
Finally, food for thought. I think US policy towards a number of countries has been to buy off a few strategic leaders and let them deal with the local rank and file. If I were a conspiracy theorist (just sayin') I'd wonder about the private finances of former presidents and prime ministers.

DBN said...

There are however significant voices in the US that criticize Bush's approach to Poland. Here's a very important op-ed written my no one other than Thomas Friedman- number one guru of The New York Times (a newspaper famous for not loving Poland. Lech Walesa used to say that there are two forces against Poland's joining NATO: Russia and the NYT)

http://www.kurczeblade.pl/wp-content/FriedmanonPoland.pdf

We are having a parallel discussion on this very topic on our blog. Feel free to comment in either Polish or English.

http://www.kurczeblade.pl/?p=110

Cheers

beatroot said...

Cheers Kurczeblade!

Pan Emigrant said...

Funny about that offset programme. When I met the people Lockheed Martin when they were doing the media circuit around the offset they explained thus: the offset package is not a free gift thrown in with the F-16. The cost of arms orders under offset deals is increased by the cost of the promised offset programme. Since Poland paid for this stuff, why isn't it taking more care to ensure it's getting it?

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