President Donald Trump is headed back to Europe hoping to receive a friendly welcome in Poland despite lingering skepticism across the continent over his commitment to NATO, his past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his decision to pull the US out of a major climate agreement.
Trump arrives in Warsaw, Poland, on Wednesday for a brief visit that will include a speech in Krasinski Square, near the site of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis. He’ll also meet with the leaders of Poland and Croatia and hold a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Before moving on to an international summit in Germany, the president will also hold meetings with the leaders of a dozen countries located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas at a summit of the Three Seas Initiative, which aims to expand and modernise energy and trade.
One of the initiative’s goals is to make the region less dependent on Russian energy. “Even if he doesn’t mention Putin or Russia outright, just stepping foot in Poland sends a powerful statement,” said Jim Carafano, a foreign policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
“Europe is working for energy independence looking for free market solutions and Poland is in the middle of that energy corridor, so it makes so much sense that the president would go there and talk about energy policy.” At the same time, Trump will have to balance his visit to Europe with escalating tensions with North Korea, after the US concluded yesterday that North Korea had test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
The US, South Korea and Japan responded to the provocation by requesting an emergency session of the UN Security Council, scheduled Wednesday afternoon. Trump returns to Europe after a shaky first trip to the continent in May and signs of unhappiness around the globe with the start of his presidency. A recent Pew Research Center survey of attitudes toward Trump in more than three dozen countries found fewer than 3 in 10 respondents expressing confidence in his ability to do the right thing on international affairs.