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Poland's Resilience

From today's Wall Street Journal...

Poland's Resilience
A lesson in the stabilizing benefits of democracy.

The plane crash that claimed the lives of Poland's president, his wife, and a cross-section of its governing elite is a numbing blow to a country scarred by history. Yet it is a measure of Poland's recent success that Saturday's tragedy bears only superficial resemblance to the country's darkest memories.

In a jarring coincidence, President Lech Kaczynski was leading a delegation to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Forest massacre, when Joseph Stalin ordered the murders of 22,000 Polish officers held by the Soviets as prisoners of war. Moscow didn't own up to the deed until 1990. Saturday's accident also reminded Poles of the 1943 plane crash that killed their pro-Western General Wladyslaw Sikorski, thus depriving the country of its own Charles de Gaulle.

But that is where the historical similarities end. Nobody suspects foul play in Saturday's crash, which happened as the plane was attempting to land in thick fog after reportedly ignoring requests from the control tower to reroute to another airport. The Kremlin immediately declared a day of mourning and Vladimir Putin accompanied Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk to the site of the crash.

The Poles themselves have put on a civics lesson in the stabilizing benefits of a well-functioning democratic system. While the news came as a shock, there was no uncertainty or intrigue about who runs the country, or when the next president will be selected. Uniquely, democratic constitutions create durable institutions that rule the rulers and are designed to outlast any politician or party.

In two decades, Poland has evolved from a shabby Soviet satellite into a European power and close American ally in NATO. The country boasts a dynamic economy—a standout in an otherwise stagnant European Union—and a respected military that has distinguished itself in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of those on the fateful flight built this new Poland, which is their worthy epitaph.

Re: Poland's Resilience

Sorry mike c this is a great time of sadness and mourning NOT a time for US propaganda. sorry.

Re: Poland's Resilience

Why would you see this as propaganda?

He only posted an article relevant to most posters here, and one which most of us wouldn't have had access to.