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Since Georgette Mosbacher's return to the United States in January, the position of U.S. ambassador to Poland has remained vacant. The chargé d'affaires performs representative functions. Washington's candidate for ambassador is Mark Brzezinski, the son of Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the renowned Polish-American political scientist and security advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Mark Brzezinski was previously ambassador to Sweden.
Over two weeks ago Onet.pl reported that his candidacy is being blocked by the Polish government. The reason behind the stalemate was rather peculiar. Allegedly, Brzezinski was, according to Polish law, supposed to hold a Polish citizenship, so by law he could not be an ambassador representing a foreign country. He would have to renounce his citizenship before President Andrzej Duda.
Brzezinski himself said he knew nothing about having a Polish passport. It is easy to see Polish diplomatic efforts as an attempt to humiliate the incoming ambassador by making his appointment conditional on the blessing of Polish president. According to sources, the U.S. State Department had no intention to budge.
Now, according to Onet, the Law and Justice party has found a way to get out of the budding diplomatic scandal it created. The key to solving the purported citizenship issue is an old agreement between socialist countries on avoiding dual citizenship, dating back to the 1960s. It says that if a child is born to two citizens of Eastern Bloc countries, it is up to the parents to decide which citizenship he or she would hold. If they fail to do so, the child automatically becomes a citizen of its mother's country at age 18.
How does this relate to Mark Brzezinski? He was born in the United States at a time when the agreement was still in force. His father was Zbigniew Brzezinski, but his mother was a citizen of the then Czechoslovakia. Poland did not receive any declaration from his parents regarding Mark Brzezinski's citizenship. Thus, according to the government's current interpretation, Mark Brzezinski is a citizen of the Czech Republic (that country is the legal heir to Czechoslovakia, which broke up in 1993).
First Germany, now the U.S.
Thus, the Law and Justice government found a creative way to deal with an improbable problem of its own creation, clearing the way for Brzezinski’s appointment, who can now pack for Warsaw without hindrance. According to Onet, his letters of credentials could be accepted by the Polish president most likely in September. Brzezinski will arrive in the Polish capital earlier, as early as August.
This is not the first time PiS tried to block the arrival of another country's ambassador. Last year, it ruffled feathers with Berlin during the appointment of German Ambassador Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, who was accused of being the son of Hitler's aide-de-camp (in fact, his father was a liaison officer). The German government did not yield, seeing the attacks as beneath the dignity of diplomatic conduct. It refused to withdraw Freytag von Loringhoven’s nomination, and in the end Poland had to accept him anyway. Now, the same process was repeated with respect to another of Poland’s purported leading allies.
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