Life&Culture

Trump's Warsaw Speech A Coup For Poles, Disaster For Eurocrats

Trump's Warsaw Speech A Coup For Poles, Disaster For Eurocrats

Donald Trump has only been in office for six months, but he already has a streak of awkward handshakes-or in this case, snubs-with world leaders. On the occasion of his arrival we prepared a special screening at the Palace of Culture This is how we protest against the anti-climate policy of the president of the United States and the announcement of the USA withdrawal from The Paris Accords.

But, in his second trip to Europe as president, Trump did not give any guarantees as to how long Warsaw could count on a continuing United States military presence in Poland. "Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President?"

"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive", he said, one of almost a dozen times that he invoked the idea of "will" during the course of the approximately 40-minute speech.

This isn't the first time that Trump's political handshakes haven't gone over well - or even the fifth.

In his Warsaw address, Trump will paint a picture of liberal democracies facing existential internal and external challenges, of nations battling to defend "our civilization" from terrorism, bureaucracy and the erosion of traditions, according to the extracts.

Trump's comments were made one day before he is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The Polish government has not done enough to protect human rights, has restricted the freedom of the press, taken a hard line against admitting refugees and rejected global efforts to deal with climate change. Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

European and other G20 partners have a view of Western values that does not align with Trump's. It is hard to forget, too, the president's refusing to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand in March, despite her actually asking him to do so for a photo op.

The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest Jewish ghetto in all of Nazi-occupied Europe. At several points he was interrupted with chants of "Don-ald Trump!"

So if not liberal democracy, the rule of law, or scientific inquiry, what exactly does this president-who feels more at home with Middle Eastern dictators than European presidents-mean when he talks about "the West" that must be defended at all costs? Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize victor, is a major adversary of the ruling party's leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland's most powerful politician.