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Donald Trump obviously didn’t write his own speeches. And he was pretty bad at delivering them. But they are also clearly his – no one else would have dared to say the things he did. Because the speeches came, if not from his pen, from his heart, they were received as not mere words but an indication of what he, as President, would actually do, would have the US do, and would have his allies do.
So when Donald Trump stood in front of the monument to the Warsaw Uprising in Krasiński Square and said:
Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests. To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields.
We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.
We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values [ed: see below…] and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.
we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy
you know he was taken seriously in Moscow. Particularly as these remarks followed a moving recounting of the history of the Polish nation.
For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. 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.
And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.”
And it was at this point the Western establishment in general, and the US establishment in particular, spat the dummy. The values of the US, Europe, and the West that Trump was lauding were not diversity, inclusion, and equity, not George H. W. Bush’s open borders, open markets and open minds, but something more serious:
As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out “We want God.”
You can’t say that!
But just as our adversaries and enemies of the past learned here in Poland, we know that these forces, too, are doomed to fail if we want them to fail. And we do, indeed, want them to fail. They are doomed not only because our alliance is strong, our countries are resilient, and our power is unmatched. … Our adversaries … are doomed because we will never forget who we are. … We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.
We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.
We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.
And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.
Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values. We did not and we will not. We will never back down.
A strong leader. A sense of purpose. An eye to the long term. And a vigorous policy of actions to back that up:
Americans know that a strong alliance of free, sovereign and independent nations is the best defense for our freedoms and for our interests. That is why my administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation.
Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection … Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future.
Materiel, and morale:
We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive.
The memories of those who perished in the Warsaw Uprising cry out across the decades… Those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense and that every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life.
Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls. Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense, than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once … rested. Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory.
And today as ever, Poland is in our heart, and its people are in that fight. Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph.
So, together, let us all fight like the Poles — for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.
To Moscow, the message must have been clear: a leader not out to pick a fight, but not afraid to warn of the consequences, a believer in national self-determination and absolutely convinced that the West will win in the long term. Someone who would and could strong-arm putative allies into being actual allies, and who understood the strategic necessity of reducing dependence on Russian oil and gas. Someone who praised centuries of resistance to foreign invaders. The calculus was: don’t invade Ukraine and don’t court regime change; invade Ukraine, and anything is possible – and not just for the next news cycle.
The US establishment saw something different: The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech, screeched The Atlantic:
The most shocking sentence in Trump’s speech—perhaps the most shocking sentence in any presidential speech delivered on foreign soil in my [Peter Beinart’s] lifetime—was his claim that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” On its face, that’s absurd. Jihadist terrorists can kill people in the West, but unlike Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, they cannot topple even the weakest European government. Jihadists control no great armies. Their ideologies have limited appeal even among the Muslims they target with their propaganda. ISIS has all but lost Mosul and could lose Raqqa later this year.
Trump’s sentence only makes sense as a statement of racial and religious paranoia. The “south” and “east” only threaten the West’s “survival” if you see non-white, non-Christian immigrants as invaders. They only threaten the West’s “survival” if by “West” you mean white, Christian hegemony.
Or, of course, Trump might have been referring to the Russian military now actually coming from the east and actually invading a sovereign nation actually to their west. No white, Christian hegemony involved.
As the forces of the establishment submerged Trump and his message of hope, the view from Moscow changed significantly. No longer faced with a serious leader with serious thoughts and a serious commitment to serious things, the light was green.Published in