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From America's protégé to constructive European. Polish security policy in the twenty-first century
Following the events of 11 September 2001, Poland emerged as one of the United States’s key allies, arguably its protégé, in Central and Eastern Europe. The close affinity of interests on security matters between the United States and Poland became particularly apparent in Iraq, where Warsaw proved to be a strong and highly vocal supporter of Washington. However, at the same time, Poland has been progressively drawn into the internal workings of the EU, and as a consequence its perspectives on European security have evolved towards a more ‘EU-positive’ attitude. This, coupled with disappointment over the war in Iraq, has meant that Poland’s Atlanticism is increasingly questioned, with calls for a more pro-European attitude growing. This paper will reflect upon these debates and argue that Poland’s Atlanticism is indeed changing. Focusing on the Iraq conflict and perspectives towards the EU’s security ambitions, this paper will show that Warsaw has strived to reconcile its Atlanticism with a concomitant engagement in the European Union’s CSFP and ESDP. The paper concludes that Poland’s Atlanticism is likely to be toned down in the future as Poland becomes more focused on developing its policies in an EU context and in cooperation with individual member states.