The PAC’s New Spirit
The Council of National Directors (CND) of the POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS (PAC) met in Rosemont, Illinois for their autumn meeting on 17-18 October 2014. Once every two years the CND elects ten national officers who constitute the PAC’s Executive Committee. At this autumn’s CND, eight incumbents, four of whom were unopposed, were re-elected by the CND, for a net change of two new national officers.
Mrs. Maria Szonert-Binienda, an attorney-at-law best known for her advocacy of truth and justice for the victims of the Smolensk Disaster of 10 April 2010, defeated the incumbent Vice-President for the Polish Agenda, Mrs. Bozena Kaminski.
The long serving Vice-President for Public Relations, Dr. Susanne Lotarski, was unseated by Mr. Mark Pienkos, who wants to produce a PAC newsletter. 82 of the PAC’s 118 national directors voted in the 17 October elections.
Mr. Zygmunt Staszewski, National Director of the Long Island Division, called for a count of national directors present when the CND meeting reconvened on 18 October. 50 national directors were present. This means that 32 national directors only came to the CND for the purpose of voting on 17 October.
The continuity of personnel on the Executive Committee produced by the 17 October elections dovetails with a marked change in the spirit of the PAC as expressed by the votes of a clear majority of national directors in their deliberations on 18 October. This new spirit can best be described as back-to-basics. The PAC was organized in 1944 to lobby for a strong and sovereign Poland as the best way to promote America’s democratic values and to safeguard the national security interests of the United States in Central and Eastern Europe. After Putin’s Kremlin annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine, there is no doubt that our Motherland, Poland, is in danger.
That is why the national directors strongly agreed with Mr. Chris Zawitkowski, far-and-away the best informed and most persuasive speaker at the CND, that the PAC must lobby now for the transfer to Poland of United States armed forces stationed in Germany, two army divisions plus other assets including missiles for air defense. Poland is now a front line state, Germany is not. Germany does not want to challenge Putin’s Kremlin for using Russian armed forces to violate recognized international borders and thereby defy the law of nations. Moreover, this spineless German point-of-view, buttressed by an excessive concern for the letter, not the spirit, of the NATO Founding Act of 1997, which is shared by France, Italy, and Spain, prevailed at the NATO Summit in Cardiff, Wales, UK, last month, September 2014. This is why the United States needs to show leadership now by stationing United States armed forces in Poland without delay.
Mr. Zawitkowski, who recently became a national director of the Southern California Division, is a well informed insider whose distinguished career in the defense industry, both in America and in Canada, make him an able successor to Mr. Marty Cepielik, who received a stirring round of applause from his colleagues for his long service to the PAC. Moreover, at the 2 October 2014 annual meeting of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), which has become the “go to” Washington, DC think tank for business and government officials, there was a nearly unanimous expression of the urgent need for the United States to show leadership and station substantial armed forces in Poland and the Baltic States.
The next item on the agenda at the 18 October session of the CND was the Smolensk Resolution. Dr. Stanisław Sliwowski and Mr. Andrzej Burghardt, national directors of the New Jersey Division, persuasively explained why their Smolensk Resolution, which calls for United States Congressional Hearings on the Smolensk Disaster, should be enacted by the CND. A solid majority, approximately 70% of the 50 national directors present voted-up this resolution.
President Frank J. Spula agreed to implement this resolution by asking Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to hold hearings for the purpose of scrutinizing both the procedures and findings of the official MAK and Miller Commission Reports, which offer an implausible explanation of how all 96 aboard Polish Air Force One died at Smolensk North Military Airfield on the morning of 10 April 2010, while en route to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyń Forest Massacres..
A hopeful sign for the PAC’s future lobbying clout was the three young national directors representing the Eastern Massachusetts Division – one, well under forty years old and two, a young lady and a man under thirty. All benefited from a superior general education, are making worthwhile careers, read and speak Polish, follow Polish politics, and are convinced that a strong and truly sovereign Poland, their kin country, serves the interests and values of our United States.
By John Czop