Published September 25, 2009
This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from September 24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, HOST: Poland has been a strong ally to the U.S., contributing 15,000 troops to the Iraq war over the past five years with 2,000 more soldiers currently in Afghanistan.
Today, I spoke with Polish president Lech Kaczynski about how he felt when he learned of the U.S. decision to reverse course on last year's plans for a European missile shield:
LECH KACZYNSKI, POLISH PRESIDENT (through translator): I thought that the August 2008 deal, I considered that to be a success. I worked very hard to bring about the deal, to make it successful. I would like to be honest with you and I will just say that I did everything I could to just finalize the deal.
I cannot say I was happy. It was a very important deal for us.
BAIER: The announcement came on the day which was the 70th anniversary of Russia invading Poland.
KACZYNSKI: I don't think it was done intentionally. I excluded such a possibility, but it was an unfortunate coincidence, yes.
BAIER: Is there a new deal for shorter-range missiles to be located inside Poland?
KACZYNSKI: Well, the details have been not worked out yet. I hope it will be, but what is important in politics is timing.
There is a certain difference between the policy of the previous government and the current government with regard to the missile shield. The previous government had no doubt whatsoever if the ratification process would be started in Congress. Then today, we would have begun a different situation.
BAIER: Do you think Russia was emboldened by this decision?
KACZYNSKI: Russia is always bold, but if it's encouraged, then it becomes even bolder.
BAIER: Do you think there was a quid pro quo between the missile shield not being put in and Russia signing off on sanctions?
KACZYNSKI: I think this is a broader problem. I think that one believes is Russia will become a constructive factor in the region of the world. I would very much wish it to be so, but being a politician, I have to ask this question -- what is Russia's interest in this? If someone shows me that it does have, I am not in favor. I would believe but I don't see it.
You can say everything about the Russians, but one thing is certain about them, they have a great literature and have great politics. They can do that well.
BAIER: Are you as a leader of Poland concerned about Russia?
KACZYNSKI: I'm not concerned about the Russian army entering Polish territory, at least in the foreseeable future. But the time will not pass. There are gas weapons, there's oil. There are many other instruments that are being used in a very soft way -- a subtle way. And that's what I'm concerned about.
BAIER: The Obama administration says it wants to reset its relationship with Russia. Are you worried about this reset and how it will affect your country?
KACZYNSKI: The United States, you have a right to conduct your own policy and there is nothing I can say about this, and I cannot question it.
But the United States, like any other country in the world, can be right or can be wrong.
BAIER: Is it wrong?
KACZYNSKI: So far, we don't know it yet. Russia can play a big constructive role in the world because it is a big country. But, however, the development in Russia at the moment does not give any indication that this is how it will continue, that this will be so.
BAIER: Thank you to the Polish president for that interview today.
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