Cracow – Well-informed Poles know that, barring some cataclysmic international event between now and November 6, the 2012 U.S. presidential election will be fought and decided on domestic U.S. economic issues. My Polish friends and colleagues understand that high unemployment, sluggish growth, rapidly accumulating federal debt, the overreach of Obamacare, the administration’s embrace of gay marriage, and the Obama assault on religious freedom are of much greater concern to most Americans than foreign policy. Yet those same friends and colleagues are uncomfortable with, even nervous about, a variant of the Carvillian slogan that dominated 1992: “It’s the economy (and the culture), stupid.”
Their concerns are worthy of serious American attention.
Poland’s experience with the Obama administration has not been a happy one. It was bad enough that the administration abruptly cancelled the emplacement of missile-defense components that Poland had agreed to accept in the face of serious Russian pressure. But when the administration announced this betrayal on the 70th anniversary of the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, without even informing the Polish prime minister in a timely manner, it raised a very large question mark in Polish minds about the administration’s strategy, its grasp of the history of east-central Europe, and its understanding of the linkage between the two.