Helle Dale has written two articles on how the Obama Administration is still unable to get its public diplomacy act together. I don’t think that there was a deliberate attempt to snub Poland over the 70th anniversary observances of the start of World War II, but as the Heritage Foundation scholar points out, Poland has a lot of reasons to be unhappy with the White House and the State Department.
“The Polish government sent out the invitation three months ago to the White House, but an answer was received only on Wednesday, a mere five days before the ceremony. Repeated attempts over the summer by the Poles to contact the White House and the State Department met with a long period of silence. One White House aide actually replied that everyone was on vacation until after Labor Day, which caused a Polish official to say he apologized that Adolf Hitler had invaded his country on Sept. 1.
The initial answer from the White House almost defied belief. The head of the official U.S. delegation was not to be a member of the Obama administration but former Clinton Defense Secretary William J. Perry. Over the weekend, a change was announced, and the U.S. delegation is to be headed by National Security Adviser Gen. James L. Jones. Gen. Jones will head the U.S. delegation, rather than President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Gen. Jones will stand alongside Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Anyone want to play ‘who doesn’t belong in this picture?’” Read more…
In another article, Helle Dale asks whether “Putin is outcharming Obama.”
“When Russia threatens to outdo the United States on public diplomacy in a place like Poland, something is seriously amiss in the way the State Department and the White House is conducting the relationship with one of the United States’ most loyal allies. Unfortunately, this is exactly what may happen at the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, which will be taking place tomorrow (Sept. 1) in the Polish port city of Gdansk.
While the Obama administration has been insultingly negligent in responding to the invitation from the Poles, and only this weekend gave the final word on participation, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is using the occasion for a charm offensive of his own. (Whether Mr. Putin succeeds is of course another matter – Russia has a lot of history with Poland to overcome, including the Katyn forest massacre in which Soviet secret police killed thousands of Polish officers in 1940.)” Read more…
There is more on this topic in my earlier post With Putin in Poland for WW II Anniversary, Many Poles Feel Snubbed by Obama.