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Eugene Robinson: In his puzzling speech in Poland, Trump addressed an alternative world

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President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON -- “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” wrote the poet Alexander Pope. Three centuries later, Pope’s aphorism perfectly -- and dangerously -- describes President Trump’s understanding of history as a zero-sum clash of civilizations in which “the West” can triumph by imposing its will.

The speech Trump delivered Thursday in Warsaw’s Krasinski Square might have been appropriate when Britannia ruled the waves and Europe’s great powers held dominion over “lesser” peoples around the globe. It had nothing useful to say about today’s interconnected world in which goods, people and ideas have contempt for borders.

Eugene Robinson’s email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.