The United States should take advantage of Poland’s willingness to serve as an important guide and facilitator for American policy towards Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
In our meetings, Polish officials stressed their years of experience and knowledge about the priorities and concerns of their eastern neighbors. Moreover, Poland’s successful transition to democracy gives the country, they argue, a moral authority in the region, as demonstrated by Warsaw’s assistance during the Ukrainian Orange Revolution. Poland, for example, encouraged the EU to support the demonstrators and convinced EU foreign policy Chief Javier Solana to visit Kiev. There were also close contacts between Polish and Ukrainian NGOs, and Lech Walesa and other leading Solidarity activists also visited Ukraine to show their support for the demonstrators.
In addition, Warsaw’s commitment to liberal democracy and market reforms makes Poland a good advocate to spread these ideas and democratic institutions further east, including into Belarus and Russia. Poland, for instance, is helping Ukraine in its quest to join both the EU and NATO by sharing its own experience with integration. In Belarus, both the Polish government and NGOs are trying to protect the interests of ethnic Poles from Aleksander Lukashenko’s regime. US support of Poland’s eastern policies will bring about increased stability and security in the surrounding eastern states, and the region as a whole, which also serves US global interests.