Poland: Speak Firmly, Carry a Little Stick

Lacking leverage, the Administration pursues caution and calm

"At this point, the question is how you do nothing, not whether you do anything."

That wry comment from a Reagan Administration official summed up all too well the initial U.S. response to the imposition of martial law in Poland. Secretary of State Alexander Haig admitted that the Administration was "surprised" by the crackdown. Other officials insisted that he referred only to the timing rather than the fact of the move. Nonetheless, Washington had apparently focused its planning on the contingency that has not yet happened. The U.S. and its European allies long ago had...

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