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When Lech Walesa, the man whose Solidarity movement helped bring down the Iron Curtain, found himself sitting across from Barack Obama at a banquet in the Polish capital on Tuesday evening, he offered the younger man a piece of advice. Walesa said he, “Wished the United States would lead.” Obama was at the banquet at Warsaw’s Royal Castle to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first partially-free elections, which ended the Communist Party’s domination and ushered in democratic rule. 70-year old Walesa did not go into details about what he had said to Obama, but he had previously said the Obama White House was not being sufficiently muscular in response to Russian interventions in Ukraine and other threats to world peace.

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