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Trump: 'The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive'

  • President Trump praises individual freedom and sovereignty.
  • In a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Trump criticizes government bureaucracy.
  • The president also condemns what he sees as the other major "threat" to individual freedom — terrorism.
President Donald Trump
Omar Marques | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump praised individual freedom and sovereignty on Thursday in comments apparently directed at the Europe Union.

In a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Trump condemned government bureaucracy as an infringement of personal freedom.

"On both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger — one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles. The steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and the wealth of people," he said, speaking next the monument to the 1944 Warsaw uprising at Krasinski Square.

"The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies."

The president also condemned what he sees as the other major "threat" to individual freedom — terrorism — and called on international allies to work together to combat extremism and increased provocations from North Korea. This comes after the totalitarian state test launched an intercontinental ballistics missile on the Fourth of July that experts said was capable of hitting Alaska.

The statements should help to reassure observers in Poland and across the NATO alliance, who have questioned the new U.S. administration's commitment to collective defense amid disputes over contribution levels.

"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive," Trump said, urging action ahead of this weekend's G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Trump also announced new measures to work with Poland, specifically to address Russia's "destabilizing behavior." In the past, Poland has been under the control of Tsarist Russia and the U.S.S.R. and has faced an uphill battle to get U.S. and NATO troops to enter and protect Polish soil from nearby Russian forces.

Heralding Poland's "unbreakable spirit," Trump described the country as one committed to defending its core values.

"The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never forgotten who they are," he said.

"The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war."

Poland's right-wing ruling Law and Justice party is closely aligned with Trump's hard-line views on immigration and distrust of establishment politics, and his visit comes as a coup for the government. The BBC reported Thursday that the state had bused in supporters from the countryside to ensure a warm welcome for the U.S. president. This could not be independently verified by CNBC.

President Andrzej Duda of Poland said at a press conference early Thursday that he and Trump "mutually assess each other as loyal partners."

"We've reiterated our enduring bond," Trump also told the delegation of journalists. "(The U.S.) has never been closer to Poland, I think, than we are right now."