Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Bush effect?

Hugh Hewitt and Andrew Sullivan are both touting Pres. Bush for Time's Man of the Year. A good, logical choice. Now let's see how Time botches this. I will never forgive Time for its cop-out choice for Man of the Century of the 1900s by choosing Einstein. Sorry, but that one isn't even close: there's Churchill and all others. No greater man with greater effect lived in those 100 years.

Meanwhile, Arthur Chrenkoff notes that Poland has ditched its historically Francophilic outlook in favor of an Atlanticist bent. Why were they so closely aligned with the French? Poland is the most Catholic country in Europe east of Italy (which probably accounts in no small degree for the traditional German, Austrian and Russian antipathy towards the Poles -- the former two are Protestant, the latter [when religious to any degree] Eastern Orthodox), France is one of the five main Catholic countries in Western Europe (with Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland) and the people themselves share some traits, as Chrenkoff explains.

Why have the Poles changed their alignment? Like Italy and Hungary, Poland is a country that has historically been trampled upon by greater powers: conquered, annexed, liberated and then conquered. Its ultimate freedom came with the fall of the Soviet Union and that happened thanks to the US, not France. Poland remembers the dark days of totalitarian rule. The policies of President Bush serve to ignite their love of political freedom, and remind the Poles (and Hungarians, Czechs, Bulgars and Romanians) why that freedom is so important and valuable. No other country's policies resonate with the Polish polity in that way.

The Poles are now stalwart allies of the US. Good. The more countries with their priorities straight, the better.

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