Poland Must Preserve Wilson Spirit


Tony Housh

About Tony Housh

Tony Housh is a senior counsellor for the international strategic advisory firm APCO Worldwide and the principal of CGC Advisors. With over twenty years’ experience in Poland, he advises and assists companies in a wide range of sectors including defence, energy, innovative technologies and bio-sciences. He has served as the Chairman of AmCham in Poland since January 2015.

January 8 marked one hundred years since President Woodrow Wilson went before Congress and delivered his fourteen points aimed at ending the war in Europe and building a lasting peace. The world is a much different place than it was in 1918, and while technology, markets and alliances have developed in ways never foreseen, key ideals in Wilson’s vision have resonance today.

Poland’s place in the international community is very far from what it was one hundred years ago. From a country being reborn after partition and war, Poland is now a key ally of the United States, an emerging leader in NATO, a leading market in the European Union and a major destination for US investment. The country’s long road through the twentieth century was difficult and often tragic. Yet, it is this very experience that can help Poland carry forward key ideals of the fourteen points as a strategic partner of the United States and its European partners.

Many historians, with the benefit of hindsight, call Wilson’s points idealistic or naïve – but he saw the need for Europe to move forward after the end of hostilities, defuse obvious ethnic divisions and develop a more fair and freer system of international trade in order to ensure peaceful relations. His fourteenth point, calling for an international body to guarantee the integrity of borders and resolve disputes eventually bore fruit decades later as the United Nations. Now, one hundred years later Poland has a seat on the UN Security Council and a vital voice on a range of critical issues.

The re-erection of an independent Polish state was necessary in Wilson’s view based on his vast knowledge of history and appreciation for Polish accomplishments in science, literature, music and art. The Polish contribution to American independence was evident to him almost every time he left the White House, with the monuments of Kościuszko and Pułaski guarding two approaches to his residence. The efforts of Ignacy Paderewski about Poland and the vast Polonia diaspora supported Wilson’s desire for a new Poland on the European map.

The wide support in the US for a democratic Poland was warmly met in 1926 by the presentation of over five and a half million Polish signatures congratulating America on 150 years of independence. Today, it is important that we remember this spirit of mutual support, appreciation and common goals as we work together to ensure that Wilson’s XIII point is carried forward for the next hundred years.

Wilson envisioned policies made not by the government or administration of the day, but policies that will serve our democratic societies for generations – not election or business cycles. A century after his declarations, we are responsible for our collective security, prosperity and freedom – we must jointly ensure our common realisation of these goals.

Originally published on Rzeczpospolita.

The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.


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Beyond Borders: Immigration Within the EU

refugees immigrants

Poland Stays Cool on Euro Adoption

Euro cash and Zloty on one photo.

Romania’s Budget Deficit ‘Should Start Alarm Bells Ringing’

BUCHAREST ROMANIA - June 29 2017: Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose during a swearing-in ceremony at Cotroceni palace in Bucharest capital of Romania June 29 2017.

Romanian Transport Infrastructure Failures Pile Up

Cernavoda Romania - June 20 2012: Construction works at the A2 highway connecting Romania's capital Bucharest to Constanta.

Budget Chaos Hits Romanian Leu

Different Romanian Lei Banknotes on the table

Ex-Transition Economies’ FDI Recovery

dollar euro fdi

IFC Invests 30 Million Euros in Ukrainian Packaging Firm

IMMER Ukrplastic

CEE Playing Catch Up on R&D Spending

science, r&d

Georgia’s Great Potential

The highland agriculture lands in Gudauri with the herd of sheep grazing here Georgia.

Czech Republic Approves 2018 Budget

Ten czech crown coins money on black marble background

The Problem With Central European City-States

Budapest Hungary - Panoramic skyline view of the famous Buda Castle Royal Palace with the Buda Hills and Matthias Church at background at sunset

Montenegro Accelerates Legal Reform

montenegro law reform

EU Triggers Article 7 Against Poland

CRACOW POLAND - JULY 23 2017: Another day in Cracow thousands of people protest against violation the constitutional law in Poland. Defense of the triad of division of power free election and independence of the highest court in Poland

Budapest and Warsaw: Marriage of Convenience or Union of Values?

CEE Governments Still Can’t Resist Tampering with Legislation


Romania Surviving the Waves of Recent Political Tsunamis in Europe

Ask for Georgian Campaign Set to Expand Abroad

Traditional Georgian carpet. Carpets with typical geometrical patterns are among the most famous products of Georgia.

EBRD Transition Report Highlights Financial Sector Resilience


Hungary and Israel: the Collision of Past and Present

Budapest synagoge

Emphasising the Incongruence Between the V4 Countries

Macron emerging europe

Georgian Wine Posts Record Results

Glass of wine at tasting area of annual city festival Tbilisoba with crowd of people around. Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia country

Kosovo: A Population of Talented Young Entrepreneurs Waits at Europe’s Door

Air Passenger Volumes Reach Record High in the Baltics


Poland & Ukraine Should Join Outsourcing Forces


Retail Rents Rise Across Emerging Europe

Na Prikope Prague

Adam Smith’s Warning for Poland

Resignation in Ukraine: War, Revolution, Crisis — Some Things Never Change

Prepare for a New Europe

Non-Financial Reporting No Longer a Secondary Consideration in CEE

Romanian Economy Grows Fast in 2017

Brasov cityscape panoramic and aerial view over medieval architecture of Brasov town, in Transylvania Romania

Euroscepticism in Serbia: An Image Problem?

Growth Increase Offers Glimmer of Hope for Moldova


Trans Adriatic Pipeline Will Fuel Albanian Growth

Xanthi. Greece - July 30 2017: aerial view of construction of gas pipeline Trans Adriatic Pipeline - TAP in north Greece. The pipeline starts from the Caspian sea and reaches the coast of southern Italy

Estonia: Europe’s Little Technological Giant

Western Ukraine Could Be an Entry Point into the Country

Stuck in Neutral: Georgia’s Constitutional Reforms

Tbilisi Parliament Georgia

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

The Global Outsourcing Industry — the Rise of the Phoenix

EU May Offer Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine Customs Union and Schengen Access


Examining How a Strong Swiss Franc Could Single-Handedly Topple Poland’s Economy

The Morawiecki Plan Promises a Brighter Future for Poland

Warsaw Rising: The Polish Capital’s Skyline Gets Even Taller


Ukraine’s Finance Ministry Wants Urgent Tax Reform

World Bank: Western Balkans Need to Speed Up Growth For Faster Convergence

world bank

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Despite Public Anxieties, Migration is Playing a Key Role in ECA Growth

Bratislava city aerial panoramic view. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.

Assaults on the Judiciary: How CEE Governments Are Trying to Restrict Judicial Independence, and Why It’s Not Working… For Now

poland romania justice system

Košice Business Matchmaking Event Brings in Hungarians

kosice, slovakia

Bulgaria Keen on Euro Adoption

FRANKFURT GERMANY - MAY 16 2014: Euro Sign. European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the euro and administers the monetary policy of the Eurozone in Frankfurt Germany.

Belarus Foreign Minister Hails Success of Visa-Free Travel Programme

Great noble deer surrounded by herd.Portrait of a deer, while looking at you.Adult deer with big beautiful horns on snowy field on forest background.

Changes Are Making Ukrainian Banking More Aligned with International Standards

Business Standards Are High in SEE But Vary Widely

Aerial view of The Cathedral of the Assumption in Varna

Partnership is the Key to CEE-Indian Business

After Its Significant Rise the Georgian Economy May Now Fall

Panorama of Tbilisi, Georgia in sunset rays. Vivid, saturated, splittoned image.

Baltic States to Launch Combined Capital Market

capital markets

Kaczyński Defends PiS Record

European Volatility Makes Economic Development Slower for Ukraine

21st century Manufacturing Arrives at Great Stone

Great stone

Europe Needs To Be More Proactive In Embracing Armenia

Czech Own Currency Insures Against Euro Losses

Euro Czech republic emerging europe

European Commission Withholds 600 Million Euros from Ukraine

kyiv, kiev, ukraine

The Azerbaijani Laundromat: Why It Matters

azerbaijani money laundering

Changing Perspectives and Showing That True Romania is a Vibrant Innovative Country

P&O Maritime Enters Ukrainian Market

Logistics and transportation of International Container Cargo ship and cargo plane in the ocean at twilight sky Freight Transportation Shipping

Romania Cuts Income Tax, Introduces Solidarity Tax

CLUJ NAPOKA ROMANIA - OCT 2 2016: People on the central street of Cluj Napoka - the unofficial capital of Transylvania.

Polish Tax Laws — Fighting a Winning Battle Against Tax Evaders

Hungary’s Solar Dreamer

hand sun and blue sky with copyspace showing freedom or solar power concept

The Long Tail of Global Expansion

2018 Elections — Vital Decisions for Hungary’s Future

Victor Orban energing europe

Wizz Air in Huge Polish & Ukrainian Expansion

wizz air a320

Go East

The EU’s Choice: Fundamental Reform Or Disintegration

Prospering Czechia Still Needs a Bigger Workforce

prague emerging europe

Measure, Strengthen, and Grow

dacia brand

IMF Wants Banking Sector Reform in Western Balkans

croatia national bank

Lithuania Set to Streamline Competition Legislation

Industrial dock with cranes on the quay

Ukraine to Restart Privatisation to Realise Profits

Pricatisation electricity ukraine

Slovenia Sets Green Vehicle Deadline of 2030


Ukraine’s Economic Recovery: Good, But Slow

ukraine money

IMF: Institutions Key to Sustainable Growth


LGBT in CEE — A New Acceptance Is Being Born From Migration

Is there any prospect of ‘Polexit’?

poland european union polexit

Belarus Steps Up Liberalisation of Business


Poland’s New PM Defends Attacks on Justice System

warsaw supreme court

Latvia Urged Not to Increase Expenditure As Economy Grows

Riga, Latvia - August, 2010: Panorama view from Riga cathedral on old town of Riga, Latvia

Romanian Cabinet Reshuffled as New Splits Emerge in Ruling Party

BUCHAREST ROMANIA - MAY 25 2014: The Victoria Palace. Victoria Square.

Moody’s: CEE Creditworthiness Holding Up

Man's hand holding pen and checking spreadsheet

Good Match But Unlikely Marriage

OECD: Tightening Labour Markets Sustain Growth in Emerging Europe

workers, employment

Is Prague the New Face of Overtourism?

prague tourists

Slovenia: Emerging Europe’s Hidden Giant

ljubljana slovenia

After Economic Shocks Armenia Plans for Macroeconomic Stability

yerevan armenia minister of finance

Lviv Is the Pearl and the Soul of Ukraine

Business Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism — Can Investors Win the Confidence Game?

Mayor: Armenia And Its Capital Yerevan Offer Safe Investment And Tourism To a Growing World

Emerging Europe Looking Good in Best-Performing Cities Index

Budapest, Hungary. Aerial view of the old city Budapest, Hungary with river and Parliament Building with cloudy blue sky

Nadiya Savchenko: I Dream of a Great Ukraine

Panorama of the top part of the Andrew's Descent from Castle Hill in springtime in Kiev Ukraine.

Emerging Europe to Record Positive Growth Across the Board in 2018

coins growth

Fish in the Bath and Other Christmas Traditions

Christmas Market On The Dome Square With Riga Dome Cathedral In Riga, Latvia. Christmas Tree And Trading Houses With Sale Of Christmas Gifts, Sweets And Mulled Wine. Famous Landmark.

Ukraine Is Offering Europe Unique Combat and Technological Experience

CEE Boosted by Positive Tourism Trends Across the Region

cruise ship in Kotor Bay Montenegro. Aerial view panorama. Kotor bay Montenegro.

GE Inaugurates Its New Bucharest Software Centre

Asian Outsource Developer Team Sitting At Desk Working Laptop Computer Mobile Application Software Real Office

Ukraine Holds Open House at Davos

Baltic Bank Merger May Tempt Polish Heavyweight

DNB Bank Vilnius

How strong is V4?

Viktor Orban

Albania’s Economy Not Benefiting From Largest Oil Reserves in Region

  1. With Polish wife, I’ve always appreciated Wilson’s influence in bringing about Polish Independence; however, his knowledge, patience didn’t extend elsewhere and Czechs who had equally valid case as Hungary were lumped together with Slovaks & hybrid “Yugoslavia” was created leading eventually to mayhem. Also, Wilson’s nation state idea didn’t extend beyond Europe & greedy British and French were allowed to carve up Turkish Empire and the consequences of that are still with us.

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