Finding Home, Again . . .

"I returned to the town where I was a childand a teenager and an old man of thirty.The town greeted me indifferentlybut the streets' loudspeakers whispered:don't you see the fire is still burning,don't you hear the flame's roar?Get out.Find another place.Search for it.Search for your true homeland."  So goes the amazing poem by Adam Zagajewski,…

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Poland: An Illustrated History

Did you know that the Magna Carta predated the Act of Cienia (safeguarding laws at the expense of the monarch's power) by thirteen years only? However, Poland's Neminem Captivabimus preceded England's Habeas corpus by over 150 years. Easily accessible nuggets of the Polish past come in handy if one teaches, as I do, Western Civilization…

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Brilliant Minds

When I resolved to write about Polish contributions to the intellectual heritage of humanity, I imagined the skeptics rolling their eyes expecting yet another futile exercise of “The Elephant and the Polish Question” genre. What does one’s origin have to do with one’s creativity? The answer is, well, quite a bit but on many unexpected…

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Securing Our Flank in Europe

In November, 2000, the European Union decided to form a rapid reaction force to intervene in crises. No matter that the Europeans don't have the will and wherewithal to replace NATO. The Russians immediately invited themselves to join in. No matter that the Russians have little left to offer after Chechnya. Clearly, the Russian initiative…

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Advances Abroad, Struggles Within

On that day, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), which had been known for 45 years as West Germany, officially absorbed the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or East Germany, reuniting a people who had been split apart politically, culturally, philosophically, and spiritually for decades by a cruel superpower conflict. The event actually began with the…

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The World of Child Labor

As Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) told a U.S. Department of Labor hearing in 1997, “In an age of computers, fiber optics, and space travel, it is easy to forget that in many parts of the world–including our own backyard–children are sold into servitude, chained to machines, and forced to work under the most dangerous and…

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Poland and the Future of NATO

This is an updated portion of an address delivered at the University of Virginia on February 26, 1999.In the late 1940s an anonymous Polish wit introduced a rhyme that aptly summarized the Polish predicament and hopes at the time:Panie Truman, spuÊç ta baniabo tu jest nie do wytrzymania[Mr. Truman drop the bombwe can't bear it…

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