President Trump’s Remarkable Warsaw Speech
Washington Free Beacon
July 6, 2017
President Trump delivered one of the most important speeches of his young presidency on Thursday. Billed as “Remarks to the people of Poland,” the address was as clear a statement we’ve heard of Trump’s nation-state populism.
Trump cited Bishop Michael Kozal, who died in Dachau: “More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit.” A nation can endure economic recession, and even military occupation. What it cannot recover from is loss of pride. “As the Polish experience reminds us,” Trump said, “the defense of the West ultimately rests not only means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have.”
This lesson raises “the fundamental question of our time”:
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 civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?
What Trump is saying is that the future of the liberal democratic West depends on the non-liberal-democratic institutions from which we derive our values: family and faith. “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.” Nor will we survive if we neglect the non-liberal-democratic institutions that enforce liberal-democratic values: the military and police.
Trump doesn’t just want victory over ISIS. What he is calling for is nothing less than a reinvigoration of national spirit, of confidence, of pride in America and her allies. “Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield—it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls.”
These are more than remarks to the Poles. They describe a world of sovereign nation-states, governed by peoples proud of their histories and confident in their futures, united in common cause against the enemies of civilization, of freedom and human dignity. And Trump presents a challenge in the form of a question: Are we still made of that stuff that populated a continent, became an industrial powerhouse, went to the moon, and defeated the Kaiser and the Führer and the Emperor and the Politburo? I hope the answer is yes.