Interviewer: Ania Navas
Dr. Łucja Świątkowska-Cannon, specialist in the field of international relations and economics, consultant and political advisor, author of many publications. In the 2016 presidential election campaign, she was the former chairwoman of the Advisory Committee "American Polonia for Donald Trump". In the current 2020 campaign, she is the co-chair of this organization.
The goal of our organization "Polish-Americans for Trump" is primarily to support the current President Donald J. Trump in the presidential election campaign and his re-election.
We would like to recruit volunteers from the broad mass of the Polish community in America, whose members are entitled to vote in the presidential elections in the United States.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida are the states where we most care about mobilizing voters, as they are key states in the election struggle.
We must act quickly and we must act intensively, because the current presidential election seems to be one of the most important in the history of the United States.
There is little time left, because the 2020 presidential election will be held on November 3 Remember that every vote counts.
Ania Navas: Why is this year's presidential election so important for the United States, but also for Poland?
Our organization supports the re-election of President Donald J. Trump. This was officially announced in August 2020, ahead of the Republican Party Convention. This action is a continuation of the same election campaign in the 2016 election campaign. We have our own page that you can find on the Internet:
under the tab: Koalicje ( Coalitions ).
We are one of the coalitions supporting this candidate in the presidential election. It is there that you can volunteer your participation in activities supporting the re-election of President Trump.
This year's presidential election is important for two reasons:
First of all, the American Polonia has enormous electoral potential and we must activate it. Without participation in the political process in the country of permanent residence, such as the United States for the Polish Diaspora, the Polish diaspora is invisible and does not take part in important decisions that affect her life and therefore our affairs are ignored.
The first thing for those eligible to vote is to register for the election one month before the election date. There is little time, because this registration should be made by October 3, 2020 or by the end of September. It depends on the laws of each state.
I would like to appeal to Polish organizations, clubs and even Polish parishes in the USA to conduct a campaign of persuading people to register for election. It is an apolitical activity.
Participation in presidential elections is a civic duty and everyone should fulfill it. All eligible persons should register regardless of their political views. Anyone can vote as they wish, but must be registered to do so.
Secondly, we have two very different candidates, of which Donald Trump is much better for Poland and the Polish diaspora.
Ania Navas: Why does the organization "Polish-Americans for Trump" support the current US president and his re-election for a second term?
Firstly, because he did a lot for the Polish diaspora and for Poland during his first term of office. He fulfilled his promises to the Polish community in the 2016 election campaign.
- strengthening Poland's position in NATO and thus ensuring the security of this country
- help for Poland in gaining energy independence
- abolition of entry visas for Polish citizens to the USA (Visa Waiver Program).
I think that the American Polonia is well aware of these actions by President Donald J. Trump, and the president himself repeatedly thanked American voters of Polish origin for supporting him. He did this, for example, during his memorable official visit to Poland in 2017, when he spoke in Warsaw at the Monument to the Warsaw Uprising on Krasiński Square.
Ania Navas: What is the main election strategy in the re-election of President Donald J. Trump?
The main strategy is to defend the electoral votes in states won by the current president in 2016.
President Trump obtained 304 electoral votes in the previous elections, which was the absolute majority in the Electoral College.
Then we will try to win in those states where Donal Trump minimally lost. Such as Minnesota or New Hampshire.
In the United States, the following electoral divide is traditionally observed: there are states that always vote for a Republican candidate, there are states that always vote for a candidate from the Democratic Party, and states that are referred to as "swing states" because voters there are they vote alternately. It is for the votes of voters in these states that the most fierce political struggle takes place, and they usually decide about the victory of a given presidential candidate.
We know from previous campaigns that states such as New York, Illinois or California are under the total control of the Democratic Party and there, in principle, there is no way to win a candidate from the Republican Party.
Therefore, the main effort of the election campaign is directed at voters in the so-called "Swing states". This is where elections are won. This is where all the campaign effort and major financial resources go. Florida is such a state.
The key to victory in the last presidential election was Florida and several other states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. It is in these states that we need the greatest mobilization from voters.
Ania Navas: Do you think the special position of Poland in the alliance concluded with the United States would be in any way endangered in the event of President Trump's defeat?
That's what I wanted to talk about now. Everyone knows that not so long ago, on August 15, 2020, Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, visited Poland and signed an agreement on extended military cooperation. This is something new and very important, namely the legal framework for the stationing of US troops in Poland. This agreement is similar to that signed by the US government with other NATO countries. In this way, Poland becomes a full member of NATO in every aspect.
The most important point of this agreement is the transfer of the command of the American land forces of the 5th Corps to Poznań. It will be the command post for the entire eastern flank of NATO. It is the establishment of new defensive capabilities in Poland for the whole of Eastern Europe. The second important point of this agreement is the increase in the number of American soldiers in constant rotation in Poland. Currently, there are 5,500 of them, but the new agreement allows for an increase in this number after the withdrawal of some American soldiers from Germany.
Poland has become part of a larger American strategy to modernize NATO structures.
This includes decentralization, i.e. the transfer of a certain number of commands and American soldiers from Germany to other countries. Poland is an important center of gravity in this strategy due to the potential threats to the eastern flank from Russia. Another issue is also increasing the mobility of NATO troops, introducing new technologies in military equipment and enhancing cybersecurity. I have written a number of articles on this topic. I argue that President Trump is significantly reforming NATO structures. Unfortunately, these actions did not meet with broad support from the American establishment. The most staunch critics even say that President Trump's moves are unfavorable to NATO.
If this year's presidential election is won by the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, there will be a return to the previous state. That is, Poland will be marginalized.
Ania Navas: It is a really sad prospect. Therefore, the key task of the Polish Americans for Trump organization is to mobilize Polish voters to take part in this year's presidential elections.
Of course. I would also like to warn you that if Joe Biden wins, Poland's energy independence will also be threatened. President Trump's current administration helps Poland and all of Eastern Europe to gain and maintain energy independence.
Until now, due to the communist system, Poland, along with other countries of Eastern Europe, was under Russian rule. Natural gas pipelines and supplies came from Russia. Poland was politically and economically dependent on Russia.
President Trump strongly supports the Three Seas project, which offers a chance to become independent from Russia. It also imposed economic sanctions on all corporations involved in the construction of the German-Russian pipeline "Nord Stream 2" aimed at importing Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea bypassing Poland and Ukraine.
Joe Biden plans to completely ban shale gas extraction in the United States if he wins the election. In this case, Poland will no longer be able to import American gas as it is doing now.
Democrat candidate Joe Biden and his supporters want to generate energy using the sun and wind, completely avoiding other natural sources such as gas and oil. In my opinion, this is a big mistake, as you cannot rely solely on solar and wind energy.
Ania Navas: At the end of our conversation, what would you like to say to all American citizens eligible to vote who have Polish roots?
First of all, I would like to ask all members of the Polish American community to persuade their relatives and friends eligible to vote to register for the presidential election and participate in this extremely important political process. It is our privilege, but also a civic duty, and if we are not politically active, others will decide for us.
I am also asking for volunteers to get involved in the election campaign. This can be done, as I mentioned, by subscribing to our website
I believe that President Trump is the best friend of Poland and the Polish diaspora. We have never had such good relations between two countries. That is why the American Polonia should support a candidate who has fulfilled its promises.
Translation from Polish: Andrzej (Andrew) Woźniewicz