Saturday, February 11, 2006

Q: Why is the man shaking hands with President Bush so happy?

A: Because he is a Pole who doesn’t need a visa to get passed immigration officials in Washington.

Neither did President Lech Kaczynski have to queue round the block to get a visa application form from the American Embassy in Warsaw, as hundreds of hopefuls do every week, before his trip to the White House on Friday.

Nor did Kaczynski have to go through the interview process, when slightly intimidating American officials grill you on the purpose of your visit, and then check under your eye lids to see if you are carrying any Improvised Explosive Devices on your person (I made that last bit up).

Kaczynski’s visit to the US is only his second outside the country since he was elected president last November. His first was to the Vatican.

That Kaczynski should choose to go and see the Pope and George W. on his first trips abroad shows the direction he sees Polish foreign relations taking. The Vatican is there to defend Catholic Poland’s spiritual needs against the confusing plethora of belief systems coming in from western Europe. The Atlantic alliance is crucial for Poland’s defense needs. Poland simply can’t defend itself. And nobody takes the EU defense thing very seriously, except, maybe, for a few deluded Brussels eurocrats after one too many expense account lunches.

Bush, as he always says he does, has already established a deep, meaningful relationship with his Polish counterpart (like the one he has with Putin – stop sniggering!). They’ve only just met, after all.

"I asked the {Polish} president his advice on Ukraine," Bush said according to The Associated Press. "That's what friends do - they share information and share strategic thoughts."

I don’t know how many ‘strategic thoughts’ you have shared with friends recently. I have to admit to sharing very few. But the Kaczynski-Bush relationship sounds like it’s pretty hot. I hope they weren’t left alone together in the Oval Office. That place can do strange things to grown men (and Bill Clinton).

Of course, the ‘sharing’ and ‘advice’ was probably mostly one way. Kaczynsii must have whispered in his new best buddy’s ear: Yes, Poland will be keeping its troops in Iraq for an extended period – possibly into 2007, George. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing about that ‘CIA gulags’ business, but we have had two official an enquiries – the results of which are top secret - so feel free to drop by with a few of your ‘renditioned’ friends anytime you want, George. Although, I have never heard of any such camps in Poland. Have you? And Iran? George, our position on Iran is…the same as yours! What, exactly, is the American position on Iraq, George..?

In return, Kaczynski doesn’t want much. Just give Poles visa free travel to the US. O, and those offset deals. More of those please. And have you got a pen and we’ll write that letter to the Iraqi oil ministry about those deposits rights

No comments: