“You often hear that Poland is one of the most pro-American countries in Europe, but people would like to see more tangible proof that the feeling is mutual,” says Teresa Nowak, a local shopkeeper. “After we fought in Afghanistan and Iraq alongside the US, it would be good to ... have our safety strengthened by [the missile defense system].”
Former US President George W. Bush proposed a plan for establishing an antimissile defense system in Poland, which Poles welcomed as additional border security. President Obama has since abandoned this plan, displeasing many Poles.
The significance of the visit to American voters is twofold, according to Marek Jablonowski, professor and director at the Institute of Journalism of the University of Warsaw. “This visit could be a factor in safeguarding the Polish American vote in the election, but it also sends a message to other voters in the US. It proves there are still countries where American politicians are cheered.”
Following a meeting with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski today, Romney gave a speech on US-Polish relations and the values of liberty at the University of Warsaw.
“It is critical to stand by those who stood by America,” Romney said at the event. “In a turbulent world, Poland stands as an example and defender of freedom.”
Mr. Sikorski said Poland's aim is to maintain good relations with the United States regardless of who wins the upcoming presidential election, but some Polish politicians openly endorsed the GOP candidate.