Donald Trump begins his second foreign foray as US President today with a stop-off in Poland before heading to the G20 summit in Germany on Friday. Trump’s trip comes at a time of troubles for him, internationally, with publics in many countries already having less confidence in him than George W Bush at the height of his own travails as president.
Given Trump’s unpopularity is particularly marked in Western Europe, it is no coincidence that he has decided to make a Polish stop-off where Washington recently deployed hundreds of troops. The country’s government, run by the conservative, Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party, has been much more welcoming of Trump than many other EU counterparts, and the country is one of only four NATO members other than the United States that spends the 2 per cent target of GDP on defence.
Examples of the Polish administration’s affinity with Trump include its opposition to immigration, support for burning coal, and scepticism of multilateral institutions. Right now, for instance, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo finds herself in heated battles with the EU over her administration’s refusal to resettle refugees and migrants, and opposition to judicial changes that Brussels says will weaken the rule of law.