Henry Ridgwell - VOA News
U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that America and Europe have suffered "one terror attack after another," but that "we're going to get it to stop."
During a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Trump warned there are "dire threats to our security and way of life," and said the borders of the United States will always be closed to terrorism and extremism.
"We cannot accept those who reject our values and use hatred to justify violence against the innocent," he said.
The U.S. president said earlier Thursday during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda that the United States is working with Poland to address Russia's "actions and destabilizing behavior," while saying the U.S. is committed to ensuring peace and security in eastern and central Europe.
Trump also praised the NATO alliance as "critical to deterring conflict," and affirmed the U.S. commitment to the pact's mutual defense clause.
"The United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5," Trump said. "Words are easy but actions are what matters, and for its own protection ... Europe must do more."
He has criticized some NATO members for not spending enough on their military and on Thursday singled out Poland as one NATO ally that he says is meeting its obligations.
Trump also addressed a regional summit, telling leaders there the U.S. wants to see fewer barriers to energy trade and for nations to diversify their energy sources.
Over 3,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Poland as part of a NATO deployment aimed at countering Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The U.S. leader faces lingering concerns across the continent over some of his early policy pronouncements, including his commitment to NATO and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, and his past praise of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Trump Speaks at Symbolic Site
Trump delivered his speech in Krasinski Square below an imposing bronze monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, honoring hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers and civilians who died during an ultimately unsuccessful two-month insurgency against the city’s Nazi occupiers.
“We are very happy that the president of America would like to visit us here in Poland. And especially in this place because this is the historical place, very important for the Polish people and for the citizens of Warsaw,” resident Adam Kędziorek told VOA.
Many Poles welcome strengthened bonds with the United States, says Marcin Zaborowski of Visegrad Insight, a Warsaw-based journal of politics and culture focused on central Europe.
“In Warsaw, which was the place which was completely eradicated during the Second World War, the sense of insecurity is very strong. And we are next door to belligerent Russia," Zaborowski said. "So there is an expectation that this Article 5 will be mentioned. And also the threat from Russia will be explicitly mentioned.”
Poles Seek Economic Security
Economic security is high on the agenda. Before his speech, Trump will attend the Three Seas Initiative Summit, designed to boost energy independence in Eastern Europe. Poland hopes to become a hub for imports of American liquefied natural gas.
“We now get a lot of gas from Russia, from Gazprom. And they use it to blackmail us, to blackmail Ukraine,” Lewicki said. “Our contract with Gazprom runs out in two years. And I think this will be the time not to renew it. And simply depend on gas from Norway, as well as the United States.”
Supporters say Trump’s views on many global issues, such as climate change and migration, are shared with many leading figures in Poland’s current government. However, some fear the U.S. president’s visit could deepen the growing rift between Eastern and Western Europe.
“If President Trump will use the occasion to divide the Europeans and say that some Europeans, like the Poles, are better than the other Europeans, like the French and the Germans that he doesn’t get along very well with, that would not help anyone,” Zaborowski said.
Opposition groups are set to demonstrate against Trump. Marcelina Zawisla of the Razem (Together) Party, which has staged several large anti-government protests recently, told reporters outside the U.S. embassy Tuesday: “We do not agree with [Trump’s] chauvinistic behavior or with his decision to leave the Paris climate agreement that exists to protect our planet.”
Any demonstrators are likely to be kept far away from Krasinski Square, as the Polish government seeks to offer President Trump a warm welcome.