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Romney: “Look to Poland” as a Way Out of Economic Crisis

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Poland today, ready to deliver a foreign policy speech that will stress the United States long ties with the nation, and highlight his differences with President Barack Obama.  The Romney campaign has provided excerpts of his speech to be delivered in Warsaw.

Highlights include a stark economic contrast not only between the Poland of decades ago and today, but of the economic policies preferred by President Obama, and those that would be implemented by a President Romney.

A move to economic liberty and smaller government can lead to prosperity … just “look to Poland”.

I began this trip in Britain and end it here in Poland: the two bookends of NATO, history’s greatest military alliance that has kept the peace for over half a century.  While at 10 Downing Street I thought back to the days of Winston Churchill, the man who first spoke of the Iron Curtain that had descended across Europe.  What an honor to stand in Poland, among the men and women who helped lift that curtain.
After that stay in England, I visited the State of Israel – a friend of your country and mine.  It’s been a trip to three places far apart on the map.  But for an American, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country.  Our nations belong to the great fellowship of democracies.  We speak the same language of freedom and justice. We uphold the right of every person to live in peace. 
I believe it is critical to stand by those who have stood by America. Solidarity was a great movement that freed a nation. And it is with solidarity that America and Poland face the future.
In 1955, in my country, Rosa Parks said “no” to a bus driver who told her to give up her seat to a white person, and in doing so, started a revolution of dignity and equality that continues to this day. Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia, was denied his business wares by a government functionary, and in protest committed suicide by self-immolation. With that act of defiance, the Arab Spring was born.
Nicolai Ceausescu stood before an audience of 200,000, recounting for them his supposed works on their behalf. One elderly woman shouted out what others only thought. “Liar,” she said. Others echoed her, first hundreds, then thousands. And with the fall of Ceausescu days later, the entire nation had awoken and a people were freed.
And here, in 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul the Second, spoke words that would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived in bondage. “Be not afraid” – those words changed the world.
I, and my fellow Americans, are inspired by the path of freedom tread by the people of Poland. 
# # #
At every turn in our history, through wars and crises, through every change in the geopolitical map, we have met as friends and allies.  That was true in America’s Revolutionary War.  It was true in the dark days of World War II.  And it has been true in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There has never been a moment when our peoples felt anything but mutual respect and good will – and that is not common in history.  
Americans watched with astonishment and admiration, as an electrician led a peaceful protest against a brutal and oppressive regime. 
“It has to be understood,” as President Walesa has recently said, “that the solidarity movement philosophy was very simple.  When you can’t lift a weight, you ask someone else for help and to lift it with you.”
John Paul the Second understood that a nation is not a flag or a plot of land.  It is a people – a community of values. And the highest value Poland honors – to the world’s great fortune – is man’s innate desire to be free.    
Unfortunately, there are parts of the world today where the desire to be free is met with brutal oppression: Just to the east of here, the people of Belarus suffer under the oppressive weight of dictatorship.  The Arab world is undergoing a historic upheaval, one that holds promise, but also risk and uncertainty.  A ruthless dictator in Syria has killed thousands of his own people. In Latin America, Hugo Chavez leads a movement characterized by authoritarianism and repression.  Nations in Africa are fighting to resist the threat of violent radical jihadism.  And in Russia, once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered.
In a turbulent world, Poland stands as an example and defender of freedom.
# # #
This is a country that made a prisoner a president … that went from foreign domination to the proud and independent nation you are today.  And now, for both our nations, the challenge is to be worthy of this legacy as we find a way forward.  The false gods of the all-powerful state claim the allegiance of a lonely few.  It is for us, in this generation and beyond, to show all the world what free people and free economies can achieve for the good of all.
# # #
Perhaps because here in Poland centralized control is no distant memory, you have brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous economy.  When the Soviet Empire breathed its last, Poland’s economy was in a state of perpetual crisis.  When economists analyzed it from abroad, one heard talk of the prospect of starvation in major cities.
But from the depths of those dark times, this nation’s steady rise is a shining example of the prosperity that economic opportunity can bring.  Your nation has moved from a state monopoly over the economy, price controls, and severe trade restrictions to a culture of entrepreneurship, greater fiscal responsibility, and international trade. As a result, your economy has experienced positive growth in each of the last twenty years. In that time, you have doubled the size of your economy.  The private sector has gone from a mere 15 percent of the economy to 65 percent.  And while other nations fell into recession in recent years, you weathered the storm and continued to flourish.
The world should pay close attention to the transformation of Poland’s economy. A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.  
Rather than heeding the false promise of a government-dominated economy, Poland sought to stimulate innovation, attract investment, expand trade, and live within its means.  Your success today is a reminder that the principles of free enterprise can propel an economy and transform a society.
At a time of such difficulty and doubt throughout Europe, Poland’s economic transformation over these past 20 years is a fitting turn in the story of your country.  In the 1980s, when other nations doubted that political tyranny could ever be faced down or overcome, the answer was, “Look to Poland.”  And today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer is to “Look to Poland” once again.

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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