George W. Bush has puncture the image of essential American goodness that has always been the United States' key selling point.
Western visitors here have often been surprised by Poland's avid pro-Americanism. For some it's a pleasant surprise: They find none of the anti-American stereotypes common elsewhere in Europe.
Polish immigrants have been emigrating to the US since they arrived with the Vikings, and Christopher Columbus but significant immigration did not occur until the 1800's. However, the first appearances of Poles in America occurred in 1608. These Poles were hired by the London Company to bring their industrial skills to Jamestown. The Poles created glass house shops, and pitch and potash burners. These products became the first exports of Jamestown. As a result of their success more Poles were invited to Jamestown. They were always cooperative and willing workers. In 1619 more Poles landed at Jamestown with the intent to manufacture pitch, tar and resin for ships. They also helped start the timber industry that was necessary for ship building. The first Legislative Assembly denied the Jamestown Poles the right to vote. As a result the Poles went to strike, refusing to work unless they had the right to vote. On July 21, 1619 the Legislative Assembly granted Poles the right to vote. Thus, the Poles were the first group that fought successfully for civil rights.
Polish immigration to America increased in 1776, the year of the American Revolution. The Poles that ventured to America in 1776 were traveling to fight. They supported the idea of self government. Count Kazimiere Pulaski, and Thaddeus Kosciuszko both were generals during the Revolutionary War.
Bush has managed to puncture Poles' image of America as essentially good.
Poles managed to find something deeply admirable in all American Presidents: They appreciated Carter for his human rights agenda, Reagan for his gut anti-Communism, Bush Senior for overseeing the end of the cold war and Clinton for his commitment to an inclusive globalization.
Until now. George W. Bush has managed to do what forty-five years of Communist rule could not: puncture the image of essential American goodness that has always been the United States' key selling point.
Polish journalists now ask questions like, "How can we explain America's transformation from a country that introduced international law to one that intervenes militarily wherever it likes?" Or, more plaintively: "Does it really pay to be America's friend?" It is an astonishing turnabout: I have never heard these kinds of criticisms.
The Iraq war has been the turning point. Poland was one of America's most zealous supporters, the leader of what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dubbed the "new Europe." Unlike the situation in other supportive European countries, all major political parties supported the war. People elsewhere argued over whether Iraq really had weapons of mass destruction, but in Poland the calculus was more simple: America requested our help, so we gave it.
Poland has always had great universities, and most Polish students possess a very good analytical and mathematical understanding. This is a great base for companies interested in developing strong business relationships with these new high-tech companies. The above example manifests this Polish opportunity.