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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » September 30, 2009
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From the Editor-in-Chief
September 30, 2009   
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The political and media frenzy aside, it is time to ask if Poland is really safe. This is the pressing question now that the administration in Washington has dropped plans to install parts of its National Missile Defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Poland was supposed to be home to an American base protecting the United States from missiles fired by Iran. The security of Poland would have thus improved thanks to a closer alliance with the United States, and some say America would have been more keen to protect Poland if it had its own men here. The logic was plain and simple, as shown by Poland's experience in the past.

The United States has scrapped the missile shield idea for technological, financial and, above all, political reasons. The prospect of a world of countries working together has prompted America to replace the old idea of confrontation with one calling for cooperation. In other words, a local missile defense system designed to protect the United States would be replaced by a universal system that would protect many countries, including EU members and Russia. A somewhat more immediate reason to change plans is a new assessment of the threat posed by Iran. The new military direction may lead to a new policy, because who knows, perhaps relations with Tehran can indeed change?

Is this safe? Will the scrapping of the missile shield plan work to Poland's advantage or will it harm this country?

No door is closed forever in politics and security. On the contrary, all doors should always remain open. Things will be safer if the world relies on cooperation, Iran changes its attitude, Russia becomes a reliable partner, a pan-European missile shield becomes reality, and America fosters strong transatlantic relations. Russians, an important factor in the equation, like to say doveryai no proveryai (trust but verify). This is precisely what Polish officials should be doing. Instead of getting emotional, they should keep their eyes wide open.
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