Thursday, July 6, 2017

NY Times -- Right-Tilting Poland Welcomes Trump as Europe Watches Warily

“Polish officials are bragging: On President Trump’s way to the Group of 20 summit this week, he is coming to Poland first, choosing it over more powerful American allies like Germany, France or Britain.

“’We have a new success, Trump’s visit,’ Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the governing party and Poland’s true power broker, said in a speech last week. Mr. Trump’s visit, he said, is causing other European countries to ‘envy’ Poland.”
But, Robert Reich questions, “Why is Trump traveling first to Poland on his European trip?

“To legitimize a friendly right-wing, populist government that's moving in a direction Trump would like to move on a number of key issues -- immigration, global warming, and efforts to co-opt the news media, crack down on political opponents and, most recently, limit the courts.

“Shortly after taking power in late 2015, the governing Law and Justice party hobbled and then co-opted Poland’s constitutional tribunal, turning it from a check on the constitutionality of new laws to a rubber stamp for the government.

“Then the party removed independent oversight from the secret services, asked the justice minister, a party stalwart, to also act as chief prosecutor and transformed public-owned news media into pro-government mouthpieces.

“Oh, and Trump will then be participating in a meeting of eastern-European leaders, including Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, another authoritarian.

“After that, a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

“It's an authoritarian tour”

Right-Tilting Poland Welcomes Trump as Europe Watches Warily

By Rick Lyman