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The Sordid Past of Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006

When Poland's president and prime minister, the Kaczynski twins, visited Washington, D.C., in September 2006, they both voiced their support for former Polish chief of state, the post-Communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, who aspired to be the new secretary general, or gensek, of the United Nations. The White House responded with an embarrassing silence. Although George W. Bush had earlier supported Kwasniewski, the United States resolved to back the Korean foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon.

Many assumed that Bush discarded Kwasniewski because the Pole could no longer deliver for the United States, as he had by committing Polish troops to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. That was to be his stepping stone to the top post at the U.N. Now, however, Kwasniewski is old news. South Korea is more important, particularly in light of its northern neighbor's nuclear threats. Realpolitik thus derailed the chances of the Polish candidate. ...

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