Why Poland’s reaction to US diplomacy was muted

The contrasting diplomatic actions of the United States and Poland appear less a comparison than a particularly interesting lesson in foreign policy.

The U.S. government rebuked Poland and the Baltics last month for not taking in more migrants from Afghanistan and the rest of the world.

That story was followed swiftly by news that Poland had given Russia more leeway in dealing with the European Union on energy flows.

The U.S. reaction over those issues drew headlines around the world, and the reaction from Poland’s government was muted and ephemeral.

The rest of the world knew what was going on: Poland and other Eastern European countries opposing the more open system of travel and trade Europe has adopted. There is even a national honor in Poland for former leaders who sided with Russia against the West and those who, like now Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, were in office at the height of the Cold War.

The Trump administration’s language was appropriately forceful and less about economics and much more about humanity. As the U.S. uses more tough talk with Russia for suspected meddling in the 2016 election, Poland’s leaders found themselves being lumped in with the very countries who just a year ago were urging the U.S. to look at easing sanctions against them.

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