Via Andrew, Ben Smith brings a new Polish poll on the missile shield to our attention. By a 48-31% margin, Polish respondents say that Obama’s decision was good for Poland. This is in line with what I have been saying about Polish and Czech public opinion regarding the missile defense proposal for quite some time. The Wall Street Journal‘s latest news article this morning was blaring headlines from tabloids in Poland and the Czech Republic as if these responses were representative of the population as a whole. Evidently they are not at all representative. It’s as if foreign media picked up the latest stories from Newsmax and treated them as proof of what most Americans believed. One of the problems the American right seems to be having in understanding the Polish and Czech reactions is that they are taking their cues from the most nationalist segments of the population, and as a result they are given very misleading impressions of how most Poles and Czechs view things. If you believe that Vaclav Havel speaks for his people on this matter, his outrage over the cancellation would mean something, but he doesn’t speak for them, just as he did not speak for them when he backed the invasion of Iraq. The same is true of Kaczynski and the Poles.
How is it that most conservatives can bristle at American elites who ignore them and their interests and not see that most “pro-Western” or “pro-American” governments are staffed with people who are just as out of touch with their own nations on many issues? How do they not see that the sort of people from the coasts they find so unappealing and unlike them are very much like the Europeans who align themselves so slavishly with Washington? Why would anyone assume that such people represent the broad majority of their countrymen when it comes to foreign policy?