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The Warsaw Voice » Society » November 29, 2012
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From the editor
November 29, 2012   
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Ask not what Obama can do for America, ask what he can do for Poland. This paraphrase of John F. Kennedy’s famous saying was quoted several times daily in Poland as the U.S. election campaign drew to a close. After the election, it was replaced with the opposition’s caustic remark about the Polish president: “Obama called 13 world leaders to thank them, Komorowski was not one of them.” (In the event, Obama called on Nov. 11, a Polish national holiday).

There is also another way of looking at Barack Obama’s reelection. Surveys show that he would have easily won an election in Europe; in Poland, too, though with a only small margin. But this doesn’t mean that such positive feelings—though these are much cooler than a few years ago—do not come with certain expectations. Two are the most important, since they are global: that the U.S. economy will give a stronger boost to the European economy and help it emerge from the crisis, and that the U.S. will ensure that there is peace around the world. Other expectations concern Polish interests directly: that the United States will provide us with a guarantee of our security, supply our entrepreneurs with good business deals, and help our science sector and economy to develop. Probably at the end of this list now, fortunately, is the expectation that Poles should no longer face visa requirements—requirements that are humiliating to a country that is a friend and ally of America.

My own idea also has an element of wishful thinking. I would like President Obama in his second term in office to simply be a great president—for the United States. When the Americans and their country do well, we will also benefit. Because the old saying is still true: when America has a cold, we get pneumonia.
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