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Petr David Josek / AP

In Warsaw this morning, President Trump delivered what the White House sees as one of the most important speeches of his presidency. He didn't identify himself with the nationalist populist ruling party in Poland, but has something grander in mind.

  • The president presented himself as the leader of the West during an address to thousands of Poles in a public square. Trump's team, led by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, saw an opportunity to use the story of the Polish resistance as the setting for a new rallying cry to Western civilization.
  • But, but, but ... "America first" stings in places that aren't America, and Trump's neglect or contempt of traditional alliances has risked the office's traditional mantle as leader of the free world.
  • From Trump's text: "The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. ... Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls."

Between the lines from sources familiar with the drafting: The speech implicitly rejected the premise that Trump has retreated from the world and given up on American leadership, whether it be his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, his checkered history with NATO, or his exit from the Paris climate accord.

In Trump's address to Congress, he called for a "renewal of the American spirit." Today, Trump, in effect, called for a renewal of the spirit of the West to fight new enemies. What the President wanted the world to hear: America is again standing up for traditional values — "family, freedom, country, God" — and rallying Europeans who support those values.

Trump spoke in front of the memorial to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when more than 150,000 Poles died in the effort to drive the Nazis out of Warsaw and re-establish their independence before Stalin's Soviet forces could capture the city.

New enemies: Trump pointed to a set of new threats to the West: Islamic terrorists, state sponsors of terror (mainly Iran), "new forms of threats from traditional competitor nations," and "bureaucratic excesses."

More from the speech:

"Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. 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.
"I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. ... While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism."
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Go deeper

Updated 1 min ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," says ambassadors will return to posts

Putin at the summit with Biden. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference immediately following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 30 mins ago - World

Live updates: Putin holds press conference after Biden summit concludes

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: The summit concluded at about 11:15 a.m. ET, according to the White House. At a press conference, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts. Biden is expected to deliver his own press conference at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.