President Trump gave a fine speech in Poland yesterday, in which he seemed, at times, downright reactionary. He spoke in rousing terms of the great Western heritage, and of the dangers it faces both from within and without. Some exhortatory excerpts:

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.”

…Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. 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 and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies…

We write symphonies. 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…

[W]hat we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail…

We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. 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 civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

Wow. “Brilliance”! “Excellence”! Reverence! Traditions! Heritage! The defense of the West! Protecting our borders! Preserving our civilization! Strong stuff, and as far as the epicene political, academic, and media elites of the modern West are concerned, it might as well be the language of Mordor. Can you imagine Barack Obama saying such things? The words would have burnt his tongue.

Sure, it wasn’t perfect — I would quibble, for example, with the speech’s NATO boosterism, at a time when we are slipping back into a foolish Cold War with Russia — but if the death of the West doesn’t matter, then nothing does. Please sir, let it be more than just words.

Update: Rod Dreher comments on the Left’s reactions to the speech.


  1. Whitewall says

    A fine speech indeed! Almost like Reagan at The Wall. Trump has described the challenge and thus the fault line. Ironic, in a way, it had to be done in Eastern Europe, but then who else has the clearest memory of what freedom lost can look like? Eastern Europe was actually protected from this current form of Western cultural suicide. 45 years of Communism may be the antidote. Odd.

    Posted July 7, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink
  2. c matt says

    Please sir, let it be more than just words.

    That is the key, idn’t it? His campaign promised a less interventionist foreign policy, but that hasn’t quite worked out so far.

    Posted July 7, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  3. Tina says

    YES! Indeed! :-) Almost every paragraph is quoteable. I loved both his speeches, and have been posting excerpts from them on Facebook to be sure my friends see them.

    The “NATO boosterism” was a bit disappointing to me too, but then I noticed that his true emphasis was on the Three Seas Initiative – which could easily develop into a natural replacement for NATO. Somewhere, I saw a nice map that shows how the Three Seas countries create a strong belt of defense. It is startling to realize, looking at that, that the MAP has changed. Obama’s world no longer exists.

    And Our President Trump helped make that happen by moving US oil & gas into the region: from his remarks at the Three Seas Initiative summit:
    “The Three Seas Initiative will not only empower your people to prosper, but it will ensure that your nations remain sovereign, secure, and free from foreign coercion. The Three Seas nations will stand stronger than they have stood before. When your nations are strong, all the free nations of Europe are stronger, and the West becomes stronger as well. Together, our nation and yours can bring greater peace, prosperity, and safety to all of our people. …”

    It is impossible to pick my favorite quotes from his speech to the People of Poland… he is a new Cyrus: ” Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.” In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future. They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.

    “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.” “

    Gave me chills to read it.

    Posted July 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  4. Jason says

    The problem, Mr. Pollack, is that the president seems unable to maintain a dignified mode as he demonstrated in his thoughtful speech. One day he appears Reaganesque in Warsaw; just two days later he has his daughter – not a secretary of state or a diplomat – represent America at an important G20 meeting, Those like myself who really do not like the guy or even cannot stand him, but who recognize that he is the head of state and want to support him where we can – just end up muttering basically “Why do you do this?” That’s what I meant a few weeks ago when I suggested that he is rather stupid – he can’t stop shooting himself in the foot, which prevents him from really accomplishing anything concrete.

    Posted July 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  5. Jason says

    Actually, reading a little more about the Ivanka controversy, it seems that the president wasn’t out for very long, so perhaps it isn’t a big deal. I may very well be making too much out of it (Rod Dreher, who I respect, had reported it and I didn’t take the time to investigate the matter as I should have).

    Posted July 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  6. Whitewall says

    As a side by side with Trump’s speech, this is excellent!

    Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

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