As a young reporter covering Communist Eastern Europe during the late 1970s, I had the extraordinary experience of witnessing the birth of the Polish Solidarity trade union movement, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this monthwrites Judy Dempsey in the International Herald Tribune.
The French left declined all support because it itself was too close to the former Soviet Communist Party. The French right did not want to foster instability anywhere in Europe. As for German leaders, they feared that a political explosion in Poland would undermine their efforts at détente with the Kremlin, which they believed was crucial for establishing closer ties with Communist East Germany.Makes you wonder why this guy (rather than the lucid West European peace lovers) is a hero in Eastern Europe and why the Eastern Europeans would join Bush's coalition in Iraq by such large numbers. That cowboy sure was never named for a Nobel peace prize, unlike bona fide pacifists such as Mikhail and the current chancellor of Germany.
"The West European governments were concerned with the stability. They did not want Poland to rock the boat," says [Gienek Smolar], who when living in exile in London had helped garner international support for Solidarity.
Strangely enough, the Easterners have not espoused their Western cousins' view that the great danger to them, indeed to all of humanity, comes from that treacherous Uncle Sam. Graham Bowley points out that
Estonia possesses a new self-confidence as an independent country in the protective embrace of the European Union. This has allowed it and the other new-accession states, led by Poland, to resist Moscow more firmly, and has also encouraged the EU to take a tougher line versus Russia, for example over last year's disputed elections in Ukraine.