“This trip demonstrates Gov. Romney’s belief in the necessity of standing with our allies, of standing strong with our allies,” said Lanhee Chen, Romney’s policy director. “This trip is an opportunity to demonstrate a clear stand with nations that share our values.”
Poland is important to that argument, advisers believe, as conservatives think Obama was wrong to reverse President George W. Bush’s decision to base a missile-defense system partly in this country.
Critics counter that Obama has hardly abandoned Poland. A ballistic missile defense “just doesn’t exist,” said Sean Kay, an international politics expert at Ohio Wesleyan University. Obama has stressed more cooperation with other NATO countries. “The Poles are still covered,” said Kay, who was an Obama foreign-policy adviser in the 2008 campaign.
On the streets of Warsaw, opinion was divided over whether Obama has been strong enough for Poland, if people are paying attention at all.
“He’s trying to be a good president,” said Maciek Kudyba, a waiter. “I don’t know if the missile defense is good or not, but I know Poland’s very open to the USA., and I suspect there is a solution in between the one offered by Obama and Bush.”
But Bartosz Stepniewski, a University of Warsaw student, said he was “not a big fan of Obama,” and that Bush’s missile shield “would be safer for us.”
“Your opinion really depends on your view of what Russia might do,” said his friend Szymon Wierzejski, who’s also a student. “You might think if we had those rockets (missiles) they might be more prone to attack us.”