By Michael A. Szymanski

This week we have what I consider a very significant commentary by our own Frank J. Dmuchowski concerning recent threats against Poland made by the Chief of Russia’s General Staff. As reported in the May 4, 2012 issue of the New York Times, “A senior Russian general threatened… pre-emptive attacks on missile defense sites in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe in the event of a crisis…” According to the Times article the threat reflects the Kremlin’s opposition to the Obama administration’s plans to implement a missile defense system and further undermines relations between the U.S. and Russia. As Americans, that certainly concerns us, but as Polish Americans we have a special and even greater concern for the security of Poland. What you might take particular note of in Mr. Dmuchowski’s commentary is his reference to the historical role of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński who was part of the Polish Defense Ministry in Warsaw during the 70’s and 80’s, and who secretly provided the United States with a detailed plan of the Soviet Union’s intent to launch a pre-emptive attack against northern Europe through Poland. As Frank reports, a key element of this plan was the “assumption that the West would not engage the Soviet Union in a full scale thermonuclear war” and was in fact indifferent to Poland and her citizens.

The reason this is so important is because of the axiom that if we don’t remember our history, we may be doomed to repeat it. Because the threat was made, there is certain to be one or more actual plans among the Russian military for making such a pre-emptive strike, and the point Frank makes as he follows his reasoning is that the important role of Polonia and, in particular, the Polish American Congress, is to see that the U. S. takes appropriate action to make Russia clearly understand that America is NOT indifferent to Poland’s fate, and that in the event of a Russian pre-emptive strike both NATO and America will come swiftly and forcefully to Poland’s defense.

In the Last issue, we got a taste of the problems China can cause by its totalitarian government’s failure to respect the rights of its citizens. Now we are confronted with the reminder that another totalitarian regime still rules in Russia. We can hope that newer, younger generations with broader access to information through social media will eventually displace the old regimes, but until that day comes, we must remain vigilant and look to America and Poland to stand together in deterrence of any threat Russia may pose, be it economic or military. Among the news from Poland is an item concerning Vladimir Putin’s return to the Office of President of Russia, headlined in part by the comment that Putin’s “habits never change.” Simply put, he can’t be trusted.

Another item that caught my attention this week was Father Lawrence M. Ventline’s discussion of “neighborliness.”  Fr. Ventline reminisces about the tight – knit friendships of the old Polish neighborhood he grew up in and the current Polish neighborhoods he is familiar with. He contrasts that with the indifference that seems to exist among neighbors in many of today’s communities. This reminds us that we are richer for having relationships with those we live among, and that we should take advantage of the communities we live in.


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