Donald Trump said the survival of the west was at risk, as he lashed out at hostile forces ranging from Islamic terrorism to Russia, statism and secularism, during a speech in Poland.
At the start of a four-day trip to Europe, the US president gave a highly nationalist address in Warsaw suggesting that a lack of collective resolve could doom an alliance that had endured through the cold war.
“As the Polish experience reminds us, the defence of the west ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,” Trump said at the site of the 1944 uprising against the Nazis. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive.”
Trump, who delivered the speech on Thursday before flying to Hamburg for the G20 summit and bilateral meetings with the leaders of China, Russia and Germany, painted a picture of the west facing existential challenges in the effort to “defend our civilisation” from terrorism, bureaucracy and the erosion of traditions.
Trump pointed to Poland, which in the last century endured Nazi and Soviet occupations, as an example of resolve. “The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never forgotten who they are,” he said.
In a nod to the conservative values he shares with Poland’s controversial ruling Law and Justice party, Trump also called on the west to defend its traditions.
“Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty,” he said. “We must work together to counter forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the south or the east, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.”