Former Polish President Lech Walesa Endorses Mitt Romney

REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Former Polish President Lech Walesa endorsed Mitt Romney today. Here’s what he had to say to Governor Romney:

I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Governor Romney, get your success, be successful!” Walesa said through a translator following their joint meeting in Gdansk. He hit his hand on the table for emphasis.

Also check out the huge crowds that showed up to show their support here and here.

Romney Heads to England, Israel, Poland: Meeting Cameron, Kenny, Netanyahu, Walesa & More

Governor Mitt Romney is going overseas…

On Tuesday, after delivering a speech in Reno, Nevada to the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their annual conference, Romney will embark on a six-day, full schedule, listening tour to England, Israel, and Poland:

The presumptive Republican nominee and former Massachusetts governor will meet with the leaders of all three countries, other government officials, opposition leaders, and at least one U.S. ambassador. He plans to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics, visit sites of historical significance, and hold public events in at least two of the countries.

Aides say Romney does not view the trip as an opportunity to roll out any new policy proposals. “This trip is an opportunity for the governor to listen and learn, to visit countries that share common values, common interests, and I should say in many cases shared heritage with people here in the United States,” Romney’s policy director, Lanhee Chen, told reporters in a conference call previewing the trip.

… While Romney is likely to highlight differences in his approach to international relations relative to Obama, he is expected to refrain from attacking Obama while traveling abroad.

A preview of The Gov’s itinerary…

England

The Olympic rings are lit up on Tower Bridge in preparation for the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. The Opening Ceremony takes place Friday, July 27, 2012.

Thursday, July 26, 2012:

Governor Romney will meet with British leaders including, Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Friday, July 27, 2012:

Romney will meet with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Later, he’ll meet with U.S. Olympic athletes and attend the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies. USA! USA! USA! (We know the strong passion The Gov has for the Olympics – the spirit of competition – and for the capacity of the games to inspire unity, mutual understanding, and respect across the world. Romney is known for his turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.) Also, if schedules can be coordinated, he may try to meet with other world leaders who are in London for the Olympics.

Israel

The gleam from the Dome of the Rock reflects the afternoon sun in Jerusalem, Israel. Among the Israeli leaders meeting with Mitt Romney will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sunday, July 29, 2012:

Romney has been to Israel three times in the past, on a family visit in the late 1990s and, in 2007 and 2011, on fact-finding trips focused on security and economic issues.

On this trip, he’ll meet first with Daniel Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who will give him a briefing. Romney will also meet with Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, and will also sit down with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He has met them all on previous trips.

While aides say Romney will not specifically criticize the president’s Middle East policy while he is in Israel, he will continue to make the case for standing with Israel – as he often does on the campaign trail. “America needs to stand by its allies, particularly allies that are under siege like Israel, particularly democratic allies who have such a shared history and shared values with America” Dan Senor, a special adviser on foreign policy, told reporters in previewing Romney’s message.

In an op-ed written yesterday, former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (GOP) shares the following:

By sheer coincidence, Romney is an old and personal friend of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Romney’s first job after finishing up at Harvard was at the Boston Consulting Group, and Netanyahu was working there at the time and sat in an office down the hall. The two struck up a friendship and have remained close. If Romney were to become president, it would be an extraordinary chapter in U.S.-Israeli relations.

“There is little precedent,” The New York Times wrote recently, “for two politicians of their stature to have such a history together that predates their entry into government.”

Certainly Israel could use a close friend in the White House these days.

Over the last three years, however, the U.S.-Israeli relationship has been troubled.

President Obama does not seem to have personal affection for the Jewish state. He has publicly castigated Israel, including at the United Nations. He was caught on a hot microphone denigrating Israel’s prime minister, and when Netanyahu came to Washington he received him with marked coolness, neglecting to hold the customary joint news conference before asking the Israeli leader to exit through a rear door.

Romney will also deliver remarks while in Israel.

Poland

The skyline over Gdansk, Poland turns a rosy hue at dusk. Governor Romney will meet with Poland’s former President Lech Walesa in the port city.

Monday, July 30, 2012:

Romney’s final destination is Poland, where he will meet with the current leadership, including President Bronislaw Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Romney will also meet with Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. Walesa, who was president from 1990 to 1995 and oversaw Poland’s transition out of communism, was the one who invited Romney to visit his country.

Ian Brzezinski, another Romney adviser, said the visit to Poland will highlight an important alliance that is “rich in history” — from Polish support for the American revolution all the way through Iraq and Afghanistan, where the country has sent troops to assist in the U.S.-led war efforts. Romney will also point to country’s economic success, which he will say stems from free market principles and capitalism – the themes he pushes on the campaign trail at home.

“This is a country that stands in sharp contrast economically to the rest of Europe where economies are dropping by about 5% or more,” Brzezinski told reporters.

Romney will also deliver remarks and visit historical sights in Poland. The ‘Lech Walesa Institute’ said in a statement that Governor Romney is visiting Poland by special invitation, issued to him at the beginning of the month, by President Walesa:

Poland and Poles are paying close attention to the election campaign in the United States, focused on choosing a leader for the American nation for the next four years,” Walesa wrote in the invitation dated July 4.

Their choice will influence the fate of America and the world.

Walesa refused to meet with Obama last year, saying “It doesn’t suit me.”

Romney’s invitation from freedom-fighter Walesa is, indeed, a high honor.

This will be a memorable week for Mitt and Ann as they find themselves in the international spotlight. It’s another opportunity for world leaders and the good people in England, Israel, and Poland to see that the USA has an opportunity, through Mitt Romney, to elect a strong, seasoned statesman who will once again respect our allies, strengthen our partnerships, and instill renewed confidence in the mighty cause of freedom.

To Mitt and Ann, Godspeed!

Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

Romney to Travel to Israel, Germany, Great Britain, Poland

Politico announced yesterday “a major foreign policy offensive” in their article titled, Exclusive: Romney weighs foreign-policy tour by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin.

The article stresses that Governor Romney is still planning exactly which stops to make and may include five or more nations (until I read this, I had not realized that President Obama has never visited Israel as President!). Tentatively, these include Great Britain, Israel, Germany, Poland, and possibly Afghanistan. Plans are expected to be finalized this next week and Romney will kick off the tour with a “news-making” speech at the VFW convention in Reno. Following are excerpts from the Politico article.

Great Britain

The presumptive GOP nominee then is slated to travel to London for the start of the Olympics and to give a speech in Great Britain on U.S. foreign policy.
[...]
The trip to London provides Romney with the chance to both reinforce America’s “special relationship” with the United Kingdom and to remind voters of his leadership role in rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Israel (Middle East)

Readers that are new to MRC may have missed two prior posts by Jacob Kornbluh about Israel. His post of April 27th references the 36-year friendship between Governor Romney and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and just four days ago he wrote about Romney’s plans to visit Israel this summer. The Politico article continues,

Romney next would fly to Israel for a series of meetings and appearances with key Israeli and Palestinian officials.
[...]
Still, he [Bill Kristol] said Romney could make more of his trip to the Mideast with other stops beyond Israel.

“I think it would be nice if he went to Afghanistan,” Kristol said. “I think it would be nice if he visited the troops defending the country. I think it would be nice if he went in a very apolitical way.”
[...]
Then there will be an unspoken if obvious contrast when the Republican visits Israel, a country that Obama has yet to go to as president and the first place abroad Romney has said he’ll travel to if he wins in November.

In Israel, Romney will, as was first reported by The New York Times, meet with people across the ideological spectrum. He’ll sit down with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also the Labor opposition, Obama’s envoy to Tel Aviv, Ambassador Dan Shapiro, and the head of the Palestinian Authority. These sit-downs will help Romney push back against the idea that he’s merely in the Jewish state to curry favor with an influential political constituency. But even Republicans are candid about what the Israel trip could mean for the campaign.

“There are a lot of donors and potentially a few voters in places like Florida for which it sticks in people’s craw that Obama hasn’t been there yet,” said one informal foreign policy adviser to Romney’s campaign. It is also a place that resonates with the party’s evangelical base.

Germany

Romney officials are hoping to arrange a meeting between the candidate and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. While Merkel and Obama have been in frequent contact recently over the European debt crisis, she generally favors a policy of austerity that varies from Obama’s support for government stimulus spending.

Poland

Romney’s trek to Poland may not offer the same political dividends but will be as symbolically weighted given recent events and the Republican’s tough talk about Russia.

While Bush famously praised the Polish contribution — “You forgot Poland” — to the Iraq War, the relationship between Obama and Warsaw has not been as warm.

The Poles were angry when Obama in 2009, on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, announced plans to back out of a missile shield agreement and have been more generally uneasy about the administration’s “reset” policy toward Moscow.

More recently, Obama infuriated Poles when he misspoke in a White House ceremony and referred to “Polish death camps” when referring to Nazi concentration camps. Then there was the president’s hot mic moment with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this year where Obama said he’d “have more flexibility” to deal with missile defense in a second term.

“There’s this sense that America is looking elsewhere, and then there are these horrendous misstatements,” said Andrew Michta, senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund and director of the think tank’s office in Warsaw, on the view among Polish elites toward the U.S. administration. “There’s a general perception that the United States is putting distance between itself and Europe. In central Europe, you feel this.”

Michta also noted that Obama has yet to speak at a public event in the country — a contrast with both Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Romney has taken a hard-line stance toward Moscow, saying after Obama’s overheard conversation with Medvedev that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” The remark was seized on by Democrats and criticized by some Republicans as an overreach. Still, other Republicans argue there is enough merit to the claim that Russia needs to be viewed with suspicion that Romney shouldn’t abandon the argument altogether.

I was excited to hear about this “foreign-policy” trip Governor Romney is planning. There are so many advantages to such a trip aside from the obvious. Most important to me is the opportunity Governor Romney will have to meet with world leaders, one on one to discuss international issues with an eye to the future.

This reminds me of the naive statements Mr. Obama made in 2007 and 2008 when he scolded President Bush for not solving the Iranian crisis by extending the hand of friendship to Iran and through diplomatic negotiation — how is that working out Mr. President? Americans are embarrassed by Mr. Obama’s passive and apologetic foreign policy. President Romney will not take a passive approach to foreign policy.


American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”

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Romney Ad Reverberates, Mirrored by Law and Justice Party in Poland

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

Mitt Romney recently returned from a very successful trip to England (met with British PM David Cameron) so it’s no surprise more of our European friends are paying attention to him and his ads:

Echoing Romney in Poland

The Polish Law and Justice party unveiled ads today that bear a striking resemblance to a Mitt Romney ad.

Full translated script after the jump, courtesy of Polish journalist Micha? Kolanko:

“Mr Tusk, can you hear me, I’m not a worldwide crisis. I’m Polish.” (pensioner)
“I’m not a hillbilly, I’m Polish.”
“I’m not cringeworthy, I’m Polish.”
“I’m not a bump in the road, I’m Polish.” (mechanic)
“I’m not anti-Polish, I’m rooting for Poland.”
Voiceover: “Mr Tusk, that will be all, thank you. It’s time for a courageous decisions. Law and Justice.”

Romney’s video:

The Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) is a conservative political party formed in Poland in 2001 with an emphasis on decommunization. PiS understands that the free-market principles Mitt Romney believes in and has successfully employed throughout his life are the best hope for growth and prosperity in their nation. Poland’s unemployment rate in May was at 9.2%.


► Jayde Wyatt

New Found Freedom: Remembering the Victims of Communism

Warsaw winters are chilly to saw the least. The bite of the cold was palpable and unforgiving to a suburban boy from the Bay Area. But there I was nonetheless, January 1991, riding a public bus to the Mokotow section of Warsaw after an exhausting Sunday of meetings and knocking doors – the typical life of a Mormon missionary.

My fellow companion noticed the oddity immediately. The bus was packed, awkwardly crowded for a Sunday evening. As we arrived on Spacerowa Street the crowd emptied. My friend was curious and motioned for me to follow him off the bus. As missionaries we were advised to avoid such efforts but we couldn’t resist.

We followed the crowd, watching them disperse into a mass of people gathering up and down the street. Tens of thousands of Poles, gathering for one single purpose – to make a statement with their new found freedoms.

Lech Walesa had been President for only two months but the change in attitudes and opportunities seemed abundant and powerful – Poland was officially a democracy. Earlier that day, January 13, 1991, the Red Guard had taken over the TV Tower and Parliament in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The Gulf War, which would begin operations in just 4 days, provided the perfect media cover as Moscow tried to grasp onto the last of the satellite countries.

At one time, Lithuania and Poland were one country. Czeslaw Milosz, the famous dissident and Polish poet was born there. The people had strong roots together. The Poles would not stand by idly as their neighbors were harangued in a last stand by the Commies.

As we approached the spot of contention that night (the Russian Embassy) we hear the chants of “Wolna Litwa!” (“Free Lithuania”). The crowd was holding candles, shaking the gates, demonstrating their ire and stretching their new democracy-born sea legs. It was thrilling. And it worked. The Red Army eventually relented and “Litwa” was free.

Today, President Bush took part in the unveiling of a memorial in DC dedicated to the victims of Communism. This is a subject close to my heart and it was my privilege to be there. Special thanks to Robert Bluey for the invite!