A pope and a president in Poland

Near the top he deftly evoked John Paul’s 1979 visit and the sermon that brought on the chants. “A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: ‘We want God!’ ” He called the Polish people “the soul of Europe.”

It was a grown-up speech that said serious things. Article 5, the NATO mutual defense commitment, is still operative. Missile defense is necessary. He called out Russia for its “destabilizing activities.” He spoke as American presidents once did, in the traditional language of American leadership, with respect for alliances.

But he did it with a twist: The West is not just a political but a cultural entity worth fighting for. It is a real thing, has real and radical enemies, and must be preserved.