Politics

Trump in Warsaw: West Has the ‘Will to Survive’

President locks arms with Poland against Russian aggression, Islamism, and 'steady creep' of bureaucracy

President Donald Trump told Poland that its people and country are the heart and soul of Europe, in an address rich with history that celebrated the heritage of western civilization.

“Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of  Europe,” said Trump, speaking to thousands of Poles in Warsaw on Thursday. “Your nation is great because your spirit is great, and your spirit is strong.”

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In his speech, Trump emphasized U.S.-Polish bonds. He took the opportunity to warn Russia against aggression in Eastern Europe.

Trump noted that Poland withstood massive attacks over the centuries, during times in which rivals dissolved its borders. World War II started because of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.

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“For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks,” said Trump. “But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land, but you never lost your pride … Poland prevails.”

Trump noted Polish soldiers and engineers helped Americans during the Revolutionary War in the 1770s.

Trump talked up Poland’s involvement in the Three Seas Initiative, an agreement to improve energy trade and infrastructure among the 12 nations among the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas.

It was a time for Trump to talk up Polish independence and warn of aggression from Russia and Germany. Trump noted the Polish stopped the Soviet Russians in 1920, and then endured the Nazi assault in 1939.

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One in five Poles died during the war, Trump said, recalling the massacre of Jews in the eastern European nation at the hands of the Nazis. Veterans of the Warsaw Uprising in the 1940s were present in the audience, Trump noted.

The speech took place near a monument to the 150,000 Poles who died during World War II. In a jibe at Russians, Trump noted the Soviets waited for a time across a river while the Poles and Nazis fought. The Soviets would later drive the Germans out, but they installed a puppet communist government that endured through the 1980s.

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere. And its support for hostile regimes in Syria and Iran.”

But Trump noted that the 1978 installation of a Polish pope, John Paul II, helped stir Polish freedom.

One million Poles came out to see John Paul II and cried out “We want God,” Trump said, defying the atheist communist government and its Soviet Russian masters.

“The Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God,” said Trump. “You came to understand what to do and how to live … You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police … And you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail.”

Trump sought to gain Polish help on terrorism, and said Poland and Europe face a new threat in radical Islamic terrorism. Trump said U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East must work together to strip such organizations of support, safety and funding.

Poland is one of the key European Union nations that have has defied EU policy on refugees and immigration, seeking to fully control its border and immigration policy. In Trump, they found a kindred spirit in the battle against Islamic terrorism and loose immigration laws. The Poles often cheered as Trump spoke about issues such as the “dire threats” that Europe and the United States face.

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But in Trump, they also found an ally against Russian aggression. Trump made clear he welcomed Russia as an ally on Syria and other global hotspots, but he warned Russia about aggression in Eastern Europe.

Trump noted Poland is one of the leading nations of NATO, an alliance once unthinkable to Russia, which is wary of NATO.

Trump made unusually strong remarks against “new forms of aggression” that included financial crimes, propaganda, and cybercrimes. Presumably, he was talking about Russia but also likely China. He said the West is tested by those who seek to test the will of democracies.

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere,” Trump said, “and its support for hostile regimes in Syria and Iran. And to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.” (go to page 2 to continue reading)[lz_pagination]

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Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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