Rethinking Europe

A Personal Note: Germany and Poland

It is because I admire the great nation of Poland that I must call a spade a spade.

Credit: fotorince Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • I have spent my entire adult life in the United States. That probably makes me more American than German.
  • I am a great admirer of Poland. And I have the medal to prove it.
  • If this author can be accused of anything it is that he has acted in Poland’s favor.

There will be those who will try to taint my analysis by saying that the author is a German. I would respond in three ways: First, until I moved in June of 2016, I have spent my entire adult life in the United States. That probably makes me more American than German.

Second, during the long period when France went into non-reformist deep freeze, I regularly argued that as long as the German and Polish governments, given the two countries’ difficult joint history, were cooperating fabulously, why worry about France standing still? In the new Europe, what matters especially is that larger nations can work hand in hand across former divides.

Third, I am actually a great admirer of Poland. And I have the medal to prove it – a Cross of the Order of Merit awarded to me in June 2014 by the former Polish President on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Polish freedom (a process which had originally started under his predecessor Lech Kaczynski’s administration).

I received this award for my role in advancing the cause of liberating Poland from the heavy burden of its Communist-era debt. I did so by writing a Sense of the U.S. Senate resolution many years ago, which altered the dynamics in the Paris Club, leading eventually to debt forgiveness.

Accordingly, this author is one who – if he can be accused of anything – then it is that he has acted in Poland’s favor, in a big international transaction that cost German banks and the German government many billions of write-offs (and saved today’s Poland the corresponding amount).

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About Stephan Richter

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist. [Berlin/Germany]

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