In the shadow of a monument to the wartime Warsaw uprising, US President Donald Trump praised Poland’s fighting spirit on Thursday and warned that the West is under threat today.
Given a rapturous reception in the city’s Krasinski Sqaure, he said that radical Islamic terrorism was a menace to humanity.
“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilisation in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it? “
The enthusiastic crowd cheered “USA, USA” and “Donald Trump”.
Some 15,000 people were present according to police estimates, many arriving on busses organised by ruling party members of parliament from around Poland. Media reports suggest that this was to guarantee the VIP visitor was given a sufficiently warm welcome.
In his second trip to Europe as president, Trump stressed his administration’s commitment to NATO but repeated that all members must meet their defence spending obligations.
Poland’s conservative government, which agrees with Trump on issues such as migration, climate change and coal mining, meets the agreed NATO target.
“Everybody has to know this,” Trump said.
“Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure their future”.
As a presidential candidate, Trump called NATO obsolete, but he has since changed his position on the alliance’s relevance.
In stressing US commitment to NATO, Trump appeared to want to soothe allies after unnerving them in May by failing to endorse the principle of collective defence enshrined in Article Five of the NATO treaty.
Article Five of the alliance’s 1949 founding charter states that an attack on any member is an attack on all, and allies must render assistance, military if need be.
In his speech, Trump repeated comments he made earlier on Thursday, accusing Russia of “destabilising activities”.
“We urge Russia to cease its destabilising 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 the defence of civilisation itself,” said the US President who will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time face-to-face on Friday in Hamburg, the site of the G20 summit.
The Kremlin said Russia was not guilty of any destablising activity.
Earlier In Warsaw, Trump met leaders gathered for a so-called Three Seas summit of countries on the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas.
“America loves Poland,” Trump told the crowd at the beginning of his speech. Poland seemed to love him.
Hamburg and the G20 summit may be more of a rocky ride.
Watch the full speech here