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Poland as a Euro-Atlantic Power: The Determinants of U.S.-Polish Relations 1989-2005

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Master's thesis

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The present study treats the evolution of Polish-American security relations since 1989 with special focus on the diplomatic events since 11 September 2001. The study poses the question as to what forces personalities and events led to the rise of Poland as a power in the transformed Europe of the 21st century particularly as this phenomenon has been visible in US-Polish alliance statecraft. The newly democratic Poland eager to avoid the fate as in the years from the end of the 18th century until 1945 sought a durable security bond with the United States via Euro-Atlantic structures as well as integration into what became the European Union. Polish diplomatic and political elites hoped that a formal alliance with the United States would eliminate the vulnerabilities and risks of the first half of the 20th century. The new turmoil of the 21st century however poses a great question mark over such statecraft as was evident in the events of diplomacy and alliance cohesion as developed in the years 2002 until 2005. While Poland quickly stepped to the side of the US in the wake of the assaults on the United States and the strategy of the Bush administration radically to transform Iraq the protracted war in Iraq and beyond as well as frictions between the European powers have all exacted a price. Polish diplomacy and alliance statecraft must strike a balance between the demands of its close security partnership with the United States and the rest of its NATO allies as well as the need to become a valued and effective member of the European Union despite the latters setback in the course of 2004 and 2005.

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  • Government and Political Science

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