January 22nd, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Zakaria: Post-Communist lessons for the new Middle East

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

As Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya transition from dictatorship to democracy, you'd think they'd look to America as a model for their new governments. But they don't. America is still too controversial in the Arab world.

Instead, many of the countries transformed by the Arab Spring are looking in a surprising place for inspiration.

Where is this new city on a hill?

Take a look at the man landing at the airport in Tunis, Tunisia: It's Lech Walesa. He's the man whose actions 30 years ago in the Gdansk shipyard in Poland helped cause Communism to crumble across Eastern Europe. Walesa was in Tunisia to pass on the lessons he had learned.

In fact, Poland is a good model for these countries. It's a country that started out with many problems - political and economic - but gradually overcame them. Today's Arab revolutionaries want to see how they did it. They are studying the Eastern European experience, and particularly the Polish path. 

Poland is cooperating in various ways. It has started hosting conferences to share its knowledge. In fact, it uses a U.S.-made computer game to train Arab and East European civil servants. It's called "SENSE", or the Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise. SENSE simulates a virtual country emerging from authoritarian rule. It trains participants to make democratic decisions and allocate resources. Years after training on it, Warsaw is now passing on its own experience to the Arab world.

Poland's political and economic success have given it a sense of confidence and a new profile on the international stage. It's a member of NATO. In fact, it now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Beyond Europe, Poland has also been one of Washington's most loyal allies: Poland was among the largest contributors of troops to the War in Iraq, and it still has troops in Afghanistan.

But perhaps the biggest reason for poverty-stricken nations like Egypt to pay close attention to Poland is that it is a very rare breed in today's world, especially in Europe. Poland has a strong economy - the sixth biggest in the European Union now and the only European Union country to avoid a recession altogether. None of its banks needed to be rescued.

Its economy grew 4% last year, and is on track to grow 3% in 2012. Why, you'll ask. How did it survive the turmoil in the Euro Zone? One answer is that it has strong domestic demand and has been pouring money into infrastructure projects.

But the real - and fortuitous - reason is that Poland has yet to be allowed in to the Euro Zone - it continues to use zlotys instead of the euro. So unlike Greece or Italy, it was able to devalue its currency to stay competitive.

The irony is Warsaw continues to see its destiny as being tied to the common currency. More than half its exports go to the EU - a majority of it to Germany, its main trading partner. Poles reason that being part of the same currency would encourage foreign direct investment in Poland. And it's not just about economics. After yearning for decades to be part of Europe, its leaders now feel a resurgent Poland could be a full-fledged member of the European community.

But perhaps Poland should look at England, Sweden, and Switzerland - all European countries, all with strong economies - but with their own currencies. That might be the model to emulate. In any event, no Arab country is likely to give up its currency anytime soon - no matter what Poland will do.

For more of my thoughts throughout the week, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and to visit the Global Public Square every day. Also, for more What in the World? pieces, click here.


soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Roman

    1. Polish transformation was not aided by computer games of any sort. No-one in Poland has heard of "SENSE" in 1989. We went into the transformation without any detailed plan or prior training. It was a very much fly-by-the-seat-of-pants exercise.

    2. Poland did not devalue its currency on purpose during the recent crisis. In fact, Polish central bank defended the Polish zloty several times in 2011

    3. Poland wants to join the Euro in the future to eliminate foreign exchange risk for its importers and exporters.

    January 22, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • philR

      Roman you are completly right and Mr F Zakaria is wrong again: "In fact, it now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union" that was last January for 6 months it is now Danemark...Mr Zakaria you are not checking your news very well , no wonder why you work for TimeWarner , all you do is infotainement !

      January 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        I'm afraid you haven't got it right neither. Poland held the E.U. presidency between 1 July 2011 – 31 December 2011. Denmark is succeeding Poland.

        January 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
      • philR

        MeaCulpa : Poland ended their presidency od the EU on Dec 31th 2011...Mr Zakaria should also appologise

        January 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • alceste

      Roman, you're right, and it's good to take an airbag like Fareed to task – the causes of Poland's prosperity are multiple, and they cannot be attributed to the wishful thinking, left or right, of those who want to inflict their agenda –

      January 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  2. Rxm

    Poland is not doing anything special to grow their economy.

    You didn't explain what Poland is exporting to the EU partners such as Germany. Do they have their own renowned product brands and service companies? Not that we know of. Poland is considered and often is used as a low-cost manufacturing center for European companies. That has fueled the Polish economy during the recent global recession. Outsourcing in the western industrial world sparked the global recession. So naturally, countries that benefited from outsourcing such as China, India, Poland, etc. actually saw growth in their economy.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      True, Poland's strength is its huge farming sector – agriculture accounts for about 60 per cent of the country's total land area – which is still unwieldy and inefficient. Poverty is widespread in rural areas. There was an exodus of workers to western Europe in the years after Poland joined the EU, but it slowed down after the global economic crisis took hold. In fact many have returned. The country's economy has had some success in creating a market economy and attracting foreign investment from some E.U. countries that benefit from lower labour costs in Poland.

      January 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
      • Jopp Raumer

        Well, the farming sector may account for 60% of land area, but it only accounts for 10% of the economy. The main reasons the Polish economy has done so well throughout the crisis is a.) having its own currency and thus remaining buffered from a good deal of the Eurozone's pitiful incompetence, and b.) a strong domestic market. I'm not sure about Zakaria's other claims, which are contested, but I wouldn't be surprised about their erroneousness. CNN isn't exactly a high calibre news network. It's sensationalism, a source for entertainment more than a serious media outlet. They hire actors not journalists.

        January 23, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • Dario

      You are correct, Polish goods sell well in Germany partly beacuse they are cheaper yet good quality, keep in mind: Exporting is business and the business is good.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:55 am | Reply
    • WhoKnowsWhatImThinking

      you say:
      ***Not that we know of. Poland is considered and often is used as a low-cost manufacturing center for European companies. That has fueled the Polish economy during the recent global recession. Outsourcing in the western industrial world sparked the global recession. So naturally, countries that benefited from outsourcing such as China, India, Poland, etc. actually saw growth in their economy.***

      I say:

      Don t they have some famous video game company there. CD Projekt
      You know little known game like WITCHER 2, EUROPA UNIVERSALIS, etc...

      My god, you really show your lack of knowledge

      Go to any western university, and they ll tell you polish are a crafty lot in engeeneering and mathematics.

      now, for the rest, from wikipedia

      *The Economy of Poland is a high income economy[9] and is the sixth largest in the EU and one of the fastest growing economies in Europe*

      *Before World War II, Poland's industrial base was concentrated in the coal, textile, chemical, machinery, iron, and steel sectors. Today it extends to fertilizers, petrochemicals, machine tools, electrical machinery, electronics, car manufacture and shipbuilding.*

      oh yes, you said mainly agriculture

      *Agriculture employs 14.8% of the work force but contributes 3.8% to the gross domestic product (GDP*

      how wrong you were

      *The total value of the Polish pharmacy market in 2008 was PLN 24.1bn, 11.5% more than in 2007.*

      *The Polish banking sector, the largest in central and eastern Europe *

      yes, it heavily depend on outsourcing ... muhahaha... I wonder if you are posting from china, inside a government office

      January 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  3. RComeau from Canada

    I don't think that the article contradicts you, but looks at it from a different perspective.

    1: I doubt the average person used SENSE but maybe it may have been used by some of the new government bureaucrats as part of that seat-of-the-pants governing. Learn from SENSE and apply the new knowledge on-the-fly, build new ideas on top of it and now share the new knowledge for the next generation.

    2: Whether the devaluations were intentional or not, they occurred and it was beneficial for exports and thus your economy. Greece cannot devalue so it has to improve productivity to compete. In Canada, our currency rose because it is tied to energy (we have a lot of oil) and it hurt our traditional manufacturing industries a lot.

    3: So far, foreign exchange risk has been good for you and bad for your partners. Of course it can go the other way as well...

    January 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Fareed, indeed Lech Walesa made history in Poland by leading an independent mass political movement in 1980, with strikes at the Gdansk shipyard that led to the establishment of the Solidarity trade union. You forgot to mention another famous contemporary of Walesa: the late Pope John-Paul II was an important influence on the Solidarity movement throughout the 1980s.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    please read: another famous POLISH-BORN contemporary of Walesa: the late Pope John-Paul II......

    January 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Actually, it was the much villified Polish General Wojcek Jaruselski who brought democracy to Poland and not Lech Walesa nor Pope JohnPaul II. Today, almost no one in the West wants to acknowledge this simple fact but then again, one cannot argue with history.

      January 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Wojciech Jaruzelski's authoritarian imposed martial law between December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983. Nevertheless the movement for change was irreversible, Elections in summer 1989 ushered in the first post-communist government in Eastern Europe.

        January 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • What?

        Jaruzelski???? You are OUT of your mind!!!!!!!!!!!!

        January 23, 2012 at 8:40 am |
      • rightospeak

        History is different from what you know. Jaruzelski was a Soviet general and did what he was told . I used to think that he was a hero, unfortunately, he was not -he wanted to maintain Communist rule till the last minute.

        January 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • marta

      i'm so sorry but you are not so smart if you think than Jaruzelski was the one who brought democracy to Poland
      I'M Polish and know my history very well unlike You
      Jaruzelski is the biggest Communist in whole Poland ,he is still accused of shooting to people when they where fighting in Stocznia Gdansk with Walensa against martial law with Communists under leadership of Jaruzelski
      so please do the reading before writhing something like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 22, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
      • Joe

        Yes, I agree, Jaruzeslki was in charge and tried to figure out what to do. The events overwhelmed him, and to his credit, he did not start civil war.

        January 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • rafal

        Clueless Marta. If it was not for Jaruzelski and his 1981 martial law, soviets would slughter most of the polish oposition leaders and there would no round table and no free elections. Period.

        January 23, 2012 at 7:52 am |
      • rafal

        Clueless Marta. If it was not for Jaruzelski and his 1981 martial law, soviets would slaughter most of the polish oposition leaders and there would no round table and no free elections. Period.

        January 23, 2012 at 7:52 am |
      • KB

        Good point Marta. Rafal does not seem to know the soviets had been slaughtering the opposition regardless...

        February 7, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  6. J. Sims

    I am shocked that your guest, Steve Rattner, was so rude on today's show. It was very clear that Mr. Rattner has issues listening to someone else's opinion and/or listening to what a female has to say. He was a bully to Anianna Huffington.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Yes, I noticed it too. Yet I don't know how the two – Ariana Huffington and Steve Rattner – get on professionally. To be honest I'm not a fan of Ariana Huffington.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
  7. AK

    Indeed, Poland is an interesting example and can bring a valuable economic and political model for countries transformed by Arab Spring. As the only EU country not to suffer a financial crisis, having own independent currency – Polish Zloty (PLN), it is boasting a stable financial system, one of the strongest stock exchanges, and the largest sources of shale gas in Europe.
    Given these relative advantages, and particularly the Polish path after the Communism and over 20 years of transformation experience, Poland might be at a historical crossroad, in effect, becoming one of the leading European countries in supporting and inspiring new Arab economies.

    January 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      If the Polish were wise enough, they'd steer clear of the Eurozone and not take orders from Washington D.C. as is the case of France and Germany. This way, they could in fact become a leading European country.

      January 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
      • Joe

        Difficult to say. The benefits of joining Euro for Poles are obvious, they have strong manufacturing base, in contrast to Greece and Portugal, and thus common currency would help a lot to help the trade. Small businesses are very volnerable to exchange rates, it would be a boom for them too. In general, I think this Euro crisis, caused mostly by corruption in Greece and Italy, and private debt in Spain and Ireland, though very deep, is misunderstood on the other side of the pond. I am pretty sure they'll learn.

        January 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
      • rightospeak

        Must agree with George Patton. The EU will fall apart -it is only a matter of time. The Union of Socialist Republics of Europe is about broke. The indebted nations ( check the Polish national debt ) were kept on a globalist agenda and they will rebel. Poland is better off without euro currency .
        One think that amazes me . When Poland was ruled from the East it did not participate in any wars like Afganistan. When it is ruled from the West ( no doubt in my mind ) it gets its soldiers killed. Many people in Poland feel that most of the Poles were sold out to Western interests-its industries sold for pennies on the dollar to Western companies.

        January 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  8. Mark Brodsky

    With regard to your earlier guest discussing overhauling the entire tax code . The current system is a disaster, and it seems we need some better replacement

    The problem may be that an income based system is obsolete. Pencil and paper are so 20th century. Should not taxation be as invisible as bank, and brokerage charges?

    A better solution is a painless small fee on all monetary transactions processed and collected automatically. SMALL fee on ALL transactions is the key.

    The Swedish experience with an FTT/Tobin tax on stock transactions shows activity changes are directly proportional to the relationship to the tax it replaces. Thus even a small FTT can help end the wild swings in the computer driven marketplace.

    No form, no filing, no pain. Just a tiny percent of every transaction picked off and processed by the same groups that automatically take their cut today. Brokers, Banks, credit and debit cards, and check cashers all take a piece of most transactions. The limit may be set at 1 percent of all transactions, with some exceptions (ie 0.1% for home purchases, and 0.2% for index arbitrage and stock sales). Maybe 1% on all international transfers out of the country and 0% for those coming in. As long as this tax is never is raised over 1% it remains basically painless

    And it is not regressive. The poor only move their money once while businesses turn their dollars many times over the years. Savers don’t get penalized and lobbyists can still get congress to offer more pro-active (non-tax) plums for their masters.

    SMALL & ALL FTT eliminates all the need for tax planning and the grey area of defining what is really a business expense.

    And it can be started at the lowest levels immediately While generating funds in the background it allows for a more orderly shut down of the current tax code .

    Please look into this option for what would be the most painless way to reform and replace the current tax code system with an Invisible Tax. An Untried FTT or the Expanded Tobin, or simply SMALL & ALL.

    January 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • WhoKnowsWhatImThinking

      Mark Brodsky.

      what you propose, transaction taxes, would favor the rich. they are the ones who can afford to save money, buy wholesale, never pay a rent, and so on.

      It would penalize ordinary peoples and small companies. your system get us back to the medieval era, with evil guards taking whatever you got each time you enter or leave a city, or even if you so much as sneeze....

      January 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  9. foooofoooo

    I'm a 14 years old .. And i haven't done anything with my life! Nothing that i could remember forever or something stupid .. I have no friends.. Never had a bf ..I hate my body, i have talents that has no use for me in this world, i'm in love with a guy that i'm pretty sure doesn't even love/like or even look at me,I'm not good at taking school tests.. I just don't get it .. I'm 57 kg and 1.54 cm tall .. I have breasts,you can little see small waist ,but i have no butt which looks so weird because i have huge thighs that can't fit into jeans and it look so disgusting i feel so disgusting i mean if i had something at least little thing behind i would be happy but no .. there is nothing it's all flat ! Whenever i go up in Weight the fat goes to my thighs and nowhere else .. just thighs not butt ! I know it's not the worlds first problemm but i just feel so sad because of all these things going into my life and getting oout .. I just feel so alone and so ugly ..

    January 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      If this is real – you're very young, miss, and things will get better. But I'm afraid that an article on the Middle East really may not be the right forum.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • tolani

      Hey dear, everybody has something they'd lie to change about their bodies. Even the super models and celebrities have body issues - from no butt to flat chest to hamburger sized lips to no lips at all, bad skin ... Every body has issues. They only choose to embrace the good parts of their bodies and accentuate those. You may find yourself happier in skirts if troussers dont work for you.

      And that guy who isnt seeing you should be ignored too. Your worth is not in who you re with. Some years down the line, you 'd wonder "what was so great about him anyway?" I know coz I ve been there.

      Lastly, give yourself a break. Most girls dont look their best at this age. You ll grow into yur own. Fall in love with the girl inside. Have fun.

      January 23, 2012 at 6:04 am | Reply
  10. ytuque

    Can the Arabs follow any western example where rights are guaranteed for all rather than only for Muslim men?

    January 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  11. Jon

    ... so they're training civil servants with a Civilization clone? Interesting...

    January 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  12. barack o'soros

    zakaria, you're losing it brother...really..hang it up....championing what cannot be championed, naive to the extreme my friend...all wishful thinking from you....RATHER than calling your brothers out on exactly what they are is nothing short of appalling...

    and btw, your interview with obama was a complete farce...I mean, how brown can one's tongue get?

    January 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  13. Mortimer Levy

    The current mood and certainly the culture of the Arab countries revolves around the elimination of the Jew. Choosing Poland as a role model was certainly a logical decision. I'm certain that numerous lessons can be learned from the Polish citizenry how such a task can be accomplished. You're dealing with 'experience' here. Regards M.L.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • mop

      You must be confusing Poland with Nazi Gernamy.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:01 am | Reply
    • Jopp Raumer

      It's so nice to see a racist, uneducated Zionist troll the discussion. I encourage you to pull your head out of you rear and stop reading the racist garbage put for by Ellie Wiessel, Jan Gross, and other representatives of the Holocaust Industry. Ask yourself which country is by far best represented at Yad Vashem. If Poles were and are the dark, evil anti-Semitic nucleus of the world, then Hitler was a saint. Honestly, most people spend about as much time thinking, let alone hating Jews as they do Lesothans. Get over yourself, Mortimer. You're not a victim. There is no Jewish Question. And I would show a little consideration for Poles given their history. Where were Jews offered the greatest freedom they had every seen in Europe for most of their histories than in Poland? Read up a little instead of parroting your offensive ADL garbage.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
    • moderateGuy

      Mortimer, one would think you would be too busy swaggering down the West Bank beating up Palestinian school girls to have any time offering your lies here.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
    • rightospeak

      Mortimer is full of hate and likes to play a victim because that is what they teach children in synagogues-I had a first hand experience. Children I know talked about how no country wanted Jews during the Great Depression, how only Jews died in concentration camps. They are not being thought that Jews in Poland had their own Congress and were selfgoverning for 600 years, that Poland took in 500,000 Jews from the Soviet Union (where the Jews lead the Communist Movement ). Prior to WW II in Warsaw ,Poland most young Jews were emigrating to Moscow to support the Communist Movement or to Palestine-courtesy of Isaac Basevis Singer , if Mortimer bothered to read Jewish literature.

      January 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  14. Tylenol666

    This is coming from the Pakistani Ethnic who Lives in America Telling The Middle East how to Follow Europe Post Commy Lessons,, Awsome!,, how are your book sales doin?

    January 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  15. LK

    Jaruzelski = war criminal, who was spared jail god knows why.
    Walesa = national hero
    Poland where I am from has come from ww2 attrocities, Katyn genocide among others, and communism to be the 6th strongest economy in Europe, we are proud and growing stronger each day. Please come to PL this summer, we are hosting the biggest football tourney in Europe this summer, it will be fun for all.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  16. F. Daniel Gray

    It's unfortunate Mr. Zakaria chose to apply a Western analysis to the Mid East. That typically short term view with its capitalist, i.e., what's good for the West, is the principal instigator of the problem. It is naive and foolish to assume that some kind of recognizable Western democracy will emerge. Actually, ALL bets are still off. Excepting oil, there is little the "Arab spring" nations can offer to the West's global economic structure. The slave labor "wages" manufacturing sector is now dominated by Asia, Will the "emerging" nations of the "Arab spring", offer even smaller wages? Yet, there is high unemployment, which impelled the "uprisings." At present, one thing is certain (Mr. Zakaria chose to ignore it), a return to the status quo, where concern for Israel's "safety" is a priority, is now on the back burner. The economy and the role of the religious organizations, are key elements as to when (?) the dust will settle; and it varies from country to country.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  17. Brian

    Turning from Poland, please note, Mr. Zakaria that England is not a sovereign state and even if Scotland should leave the United Kingdom in the next few years she will still be joined to Wales and Northern Ireland.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  18. Thezel

    I think it makes sense for Middle East countries to look towards a successful, and more importantly, recent democracy for a pathway to that goal. the US formed its democracy over 200 years ago, before anyone had one (that's the real achievement, BTW!) But creating one then, and in north america, if far different than building one now, in the midst of a much "smaller" world/

    January 22, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  19. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    How long will Mr. Zakaria be spinning the wheel on Arab democracy and continue to put a soft face on Islamic radicalism talking roots in the ME/N.Africa with the exit of more tolerant regimes?

    Lech Walesa may be there in Tunis, but, the fact remains that the Tunisians are at best only be looking upto him to learn a bit on how to become rulers from the revolutionaries that they had been, just the way Mr.Walesa transformed himself from a union leader to eventually the President of Poland.

    The openly ant-Semite and covertly anti-western Mr. Zakaria's only purpose of this exercises appears to be to turn the screws on Israel and lay the ground work of its eventual destruction, rob already hard hit westerners by urging the west to prop up these PURPORTED tolerant democracies, and also open the doors for greater Muslim migration into the west in the garb of building bridges between the West and the Muslim world.

    What Mr. Zakaria fails to realize is that many Americans/Europeans/Indians are now are seeing through his Islamic designs.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • WhoKnowsWhatImThinking

      the root of radical islamism is chines funded terrorism operation. the peoples in al quaida are not even muslim, they are heretics.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • rightospeak

      To say that Fareed is anti-semite and whatever else the hatefull Amit imagines is unfair and nonsense . Amit just wants to make a hateful anti-semitic statement (Arabs are semites ) to feel better.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  20. BenBreeg

    Yeah Arabs, take example from Poland, You'll migrate abroad to seek normal life like your land is occupied by hostile army... Since 2006, 2 million Poles left the country, it's not a role model for nobody.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  21. justiceforall

    Comparing anywhere in Europe to Egypt which is made of 65% islamists is rediculous. Europe has on average 1 baby per family and Egypt over 8. 65% of Egypt spend its time in Mosques and Europeans in school and business.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  22. Kamil Zawadzki

    Reblogged this on Talking points.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  23. FlynJackson

    "As Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya transition from dictatorship to democracy, you'd think they'd look to America as a model for their new governments. But they don't. America is still too *controversial* in the Arab world." A Washington-Post ABC News poll conducted Jan. 12-15 put Congress’s approval rating at 13 percent, a record low for that opinion survey. A Dec. 15-18 Gallup poll put the approval rate at 11 percent, also a record low.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Reply
  24. hal

    Wrong!

    Comparing middle east with a European pre/post communist, Poland?

    Stay off the sheesha Fareed! Even some of the facts are wrong, it's incomaparable.

    Are you saying Poland has a fervent religious fanatic majority?

    January 23, 2012 at 12:29 am | Reply
    • mop

      Yes – the Roman Cathlic kind, they are very serious about it

      January 23, 2012 at 3:55 am | Reply
  25. Wrong

    Zakaria sucks! He doesn't know what he is talking about. I am surprised that CNN has not fired him yet.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:41 am | Reply
  26. Jon

    Anyone who was in Poland 20 years ago and visited again recently KNOWS that Poland is a country worthy of imitation. The Arabs have made a good choice.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:54 am | Reply
  27. Kendo78

    Honestly, knowing Poles and Polish history it's kind a hard to not agree with Fareed Zakaria. All he is saying is a true.
    I do accept his report as it is. And rejects whole the comments complaining this report as the voice of the people who want's only showing for the rest huge lack of the knowledge.

    January 23, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply
  28. Joanna

    Zakaria, my o tym wiemy.

    January 23, 2012 at 3:21 am | Reply
  29. Jim

    Do not compare Poland to Arab countries. Arabs are primitive and tribal. These live in the time of the camel rider Moamad and thing women are property. What a bunch of animals.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:03 am | Reply
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