Lech Walesa, former president of Poland, visited the Institute of World Politics where he gave a personal look at the implosion of the Soviet empire and an optimistic view of his country’s future as a staunch American ally within a united Europe.


Reflecting on his days under communist military rule when, as a shipyard electrician, he led the Solidarity movement that organized and mobilized millions of Polish citizens in nonviolent resistance, Walesa warned of danger from totalitarian Belarus, increasingly authoritarian Russia, and a corrupt and collapsing Ukraine. 


Much work remains to be done, Walesa said in his September 22 talk, to prevent those countries from falling into a permanent netherworld of neo-Soviet dictatorship. He predicted that Poland would play an increasingly important role in European and trans-Atlantic affairs.