RELEASE from Romney for President
CONTACT: Romney Press Office
July 31, 2012
MITT ROMNEY DELIVERS REMARKS IN POLAND:
“FREEDOM AND FRIENDSHIP”
– Mitt Romney
today delivered remarks in Warsaw, Poland. The following remarks were
prepared for delivery:
Thank you all very much for the warm welcome to this great city.
has been a privilege to meet with President Komorowski, Prime Minister
Tusk, Foreign Minister Sikorski, and Former President Walesa.
is a nation with an extraordinary heritage that is crafting a
remarkable future. At a time of widespread economic slowdown and
stagnation, your economy last year outperformed all other nations in
began this trip in Britain and end it here in Poland: the two bookends
of NATO, history's greatest military alliance that has kept the peace
for over half a century. While at 10 Downing Street I thought back to
the days of Winston Churchill, the man who first spoke of the Iron
Curtain that had descended across Europe. What an honor to stand in
Poland, among the men and women who helped lift that curtain.
that stay in England, I visited the State of Israel - a friend of your
country and mine. It's been a trip to three places far apart on the
map. But for an American, you can't get much closer to the ideals and
convictions of my own country. Our nations belong to the great
fellowship of democracies. We speak the same language of freedom and
justice. We uphold the right of every person to live in peace.
believe it is critical to stand by those who have stood by America.
Solidarity was a great movement that freed a nation. And it is with
solidarity that America and Poland face the future.
I saw the memorial at Westerplatte and the gate at the Gdansk Shipyard,
where Polish citizens stood with courage and determination against
daunting odds. And today, on the eve of the 68th anniversary of this
city's uprising against the Nazis, I will pay tribute at the monument
to that historic struggle. Over 200,000 Poles were killed in those
weeks, and this city was nearly destroyed. But your enduring spirit
men and women everywhere, whether they have been here or not, already
know this about Poland: In some desperate hours of the last century,
your people were the witnesses to hope, led onward by strength of heart
and faith in God. Not only by force of arms, but by the power of truth,
in villages and parishes across this land, you shamed the oppressor and
gave light to the darkness.
and again, history has recorded the ascent of liberty, propelled by
souls that yearn for freedom and justice. Former U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice has noted that it is often one brave man or
woman who says "no" to oppression, and in doing so, sparks a revolution
of courage in hundreds, thousands or millions of others.
1955, in my country, Rosa Parks said "no" to a bus driver who told her
to give up her seat to a white person, and in doing so, started a
revolution of dignity and equality that continues to this day. Mohamed
Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia, was denied his business wares by
a government functionary, and in protest committed suicide by
self-immolation. With that act of defiance, the Arab Spring was born.
Ceausescu stood before an audience of 200,000, recounting for them his
supposed works on their behalf. One elderly woman shouted out what
others only thought. "Liar," she said. Others echoed her, first
hundreds, then thousands. And with the fall of Ceausescu days later,
the entire nation had awoken and a people were freed.
here, in 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul the Second, spoke words
that would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived
in bondage. "Be not afraid" - those words changed the world.
I, and my fellow Americans, are inspired by the path of freedom tread
by the people of Poland.
before modern times, of course, the Polish and American people were
hardly strangers. The name "Pulaski" is honored to this day in America,
and so is the memory of other Poles who joined in our fight for
independence. Two years after our young republic gave the New World its
first freely adopted written constitution. Poland did the same for the
Old World, with a preamble that called liberty "dearer than life."
every turn in our history, through wars and crises, through every
change in the geopolitical map, we have met as friends and allies. That
was true in America's Revolutionary War. It was true in the dark days
of World War II. And it has been true in Iraq and Afghanistan. There
has never been a moment when our peoples felt anything but mutual
respect and good will - and that is not common in history.
watched with astonishment and admiration, as an electrician led a
peaceful protest against a brutal and oppressive regime.
has to be understood," as President Walesa has recently said, "that the
solidarity movement philosophy was very simple. When you can't lift a
weight, you ask someone else for help and to lift it with you."
course, among the millions of Poles who said "yes", there was one who
has a unique and special place in our hearts: Pope John Paul the
Second. When he first appeared on the balcony above Saint Peter's
Square, a correspondent on the scene wrote to his editor with a first
impression. This is not just a pope from Poland, he said, "This is a
pope from Galilee."
1979, Pope John Paul the Second celebrated Mass with you in a square
not too far from here. He reminded the world there would be no justice
in Europe without an independent Poland, and he reminded the Polish
people, long deprived of their independence, from where they drew their
greeting a crowd huddled along a fence, he met a little girl. He paused
and asked her, "Where is Poland?" But the girl - caught off guard -
couldn't answer. She laughed nervously until the great pope put his
hand over her heart and said: "Poland is here."
Paul the Second understood that a nation is not a flag or a plot of
land. It is a people - a community of values. And the highest value
Poland honors - to the world's great fortune - is man's innate desire
to be free.
there are parts of the world today where the desire to be free is met
with brutal oppression: Just to the east of here, the people of Belarus
suffer under the oppressive weight of dictatorship. The Arab world is
undergoing a historic upheaval, one that holds promise, but also risk
and uncertainty. A ruthless dictator in Syria has killed thousands of
his own people. In Latin America, Hugo Chavez leads a movement
characterized by authoritarianism and repression. Nations in Africa are
fighting to resist the threat of violent radical jihadism. And in
Russia, once-promising advances toward a free and open society have
In a turbulent world, Poland stands as an example and defender of
last month, in Gdansk, a sculpture was unveiled of President Reagan and
John Paul the Second. As President Walesa told a reporter, "Reagan
should have a monument in every city."
Nowak, recalled the days in 1981 when he, Walesa, and others were
imprisoned by the communist regime. Just when it felt like they might
be forgotten by the world, the captives learned that in the White
House, the President of the United States was lighting candles. It was
a demonstration of unity with them - a sign of solidarity. "When Reagan
lit the candles," Mr. Nowak recalled, "we knew we had a friend in the
is a country that made a prisoner a president … that went from foreign
domination to the proud and independent nation you are today. And now,
for both our nations, the challenge is to be worthy of this legacy as
we find a way forward. The false gods of the all-powerful state claim
the allegiance of a lonely few. It is for us, in this generation and
beyond, to show all the world what free people and free economies can
achieve for the good of all.
because here in Poland centralized control is no distant memory, you
have brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous
economy. When the Soviet Empire breathed its last, Poland's economy was
in a state of perpetual crisis. When economists analyzed it from
abroad, one heard talk of the prospect of starvation in major cities.
from the depths of those dark times, this nation's steady rise is a
shining example of the prosperity that economic opportunity can bring.
Your nation has moved from a state monopoly over the economy, price
controls, and severe trade restrictions to a culture of
entrepreneurship, greater fiscal responsibility, and international
trade. As a result, your economy has experienced positive growth in
each of the last twenty years. In that time, you have doubled the size
of your economy. The private sector has gone from a mere 15 percent of
the economy to 65 percent. And while other nations fell into recession
in recent years, you weathered the storm and continued to flourish.
economists speak of Poland today, it is not to lament chronic problems,
but to describe how this nation empowered the individual, lifted the
heavy hand of government, and became the fastest-growing economy in all
one of your leaders shared with me an economic truth that has been lost
in much of the world: "It is simple. You don't borrow what you cannot
world should pay close attention to the transformation of Poland's
economy. A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has
meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that
defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role
on the international stage.
than heeding the false promise of a government-dominated economy,
Poland sought to stimulate innovation, attract investment, expand
trade, and live within its means. Your success today is a reminder that
the principles of free enterprise can propel an economy and transform a
a time of such difficulty and doubt throughout Europe, Poland's
economic transformation over these past 20 years is a fitting turn in
the story of your country. In the 1980s, when other nations doubted
that political tyranny could ever be faced down or overcome, the answer
was, "Look to Poland." And today, as some wonder about the way forward
out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer once again is
"Look to Poland".
is not surprising that a people who waited so long, and endured so
much, for the sake of liberty, are today enjoying liberty to the
Poland has no greater friend and ally than the people of the United
helped us win our independence… your bravery inspired the allies in the
Second World War… you helped bring down the Iron Curtain… and your
soldiers fought side-by-side with ours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have fought and died together.
We share a common cause, tested by time, inseparable by foe.
In times of trouble and in times of peace, we march together.
God bless you, God bless America, and God bless the great nation of