At six foot nine inches tall, Daniel Kawczynski, the popular Conservative Member of UK Parliament from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, is officially a giant.
As a firm Brexiteer with bona fide conservative credentials, the Polish born and British bred politician is an even larger expert on foreign affairs.
He knows not only Eastern and Central Europe and the Middle East, but also, China, and most particularly the USA, with which he is particularly enamored.
When I asked him at a private lunch at Strangers (the restaurant in the House of Commons where Members of Parliament can take their guests, i.e., “strangers”) he quickly related that his all-time favorite politician was one, Ronald Reagan.
He idolized him as a youth and his anti-communist spirit and defense of capitalist enterprise and democracy.
I retorted that I was a young foot soldier in the Reagan army serving in the US Senate and State Department.
That made us instant friends.
He did agree with my proposition that the troika of Reagan, Thatcher and the Polish Pope won the Cold War and brought down the Evil Empire. But he gave most of the credit to our Ronnie — and star wars.
Aside from his robust knowledge of world affairs, health systems, and business, Kawczynski is a strong Eurosceptic.
He knows this portfolio in great detail and up close and personally.
Seeing the foibles and errors of the overly ambitious European EU project and its bureaucratic nightmare, the ardent and pragmatic visionary is quick to assert the self-determination of nation states and of sovereignty.
As a British patriot and a defender of liberty he sees a bright future for a “global” Britain—enacting trade deals around the world, with America, and all the Commonwealth countries, post-Brexit.
He states flatly that nothing is more crucial than the long-standing: US-UK Special Relationship.
It does not pass him that we are dining on the very day President Trump is in London on a State visit to his country and meeting his Queen.
A close reader of history, this budding leader is no fool on Russia, either.
Recalling Soviet atrocities in WWII and after, he is quick to remind his interlocutors that Putin’s Russia is difficult to trust and like his idol Reagan, you need to verify everything, first and often. “Learn from Reagan,” he says.
Of course this is even more evident to his Polish relatives living next door to The Bear, which may be weak economically but remains armed to the teeth and a strident nuclear power.
Kawczynski is no stranger to controversy and indeed seems at times to relish in it.
He is very outspoken on Germany and its hegemonic plans for Europe and their increasingly anti-American stance and unwillingness to pay for NATO.
He speaks his mind and argues a good brief.
He is no one’s fool.
He stands up for freedom—in Europe, in distant places and is willing to take on both Russia and China—as real adversaries.
Kawczynski comes from the school of frank and open diplomacy.
He wears his truth on his sleeve and tells it like it is. He does not lie or camouflage things.
This candor has gotten him into trouble on occasion but is also an endearing trait in a world full of cheats, phonies and liars.
As a stalwart in the Boris Johnson camp and a big endorser of his candidacy to become head of the Conservative Party and then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, this MP has set himself up for a prominent ministerial position in the next government.
Why not Foreign Minister, I ask him to illicit a response.
He is humble in his answer and prone to words like “honour” and “service” but under it all I can tell he is willing, able, and ready.
In truth, Britain, America, and freedom lovers everywhere would be well served would that come to fruition.