Trump’s Continues Familiar Rhetoric in Address to the United Nations

Donald Trump addressing the UN General Assembly on September 19, 2017. (UN photo by Mark Garten.)

President Trump continued to make controversial waves in international politics in September through his address to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General assembly in New York,

His notoriously confrontational approach and pompous mannerisms, which distinguished him as a non-political candidate during the election, were hardly appreciated by the assembly as his statements were met with few applauses and much silence.

As a strong critic of the bureaucracy at the United Nations, he has often emphasized the lack of action and waste of resources the UN uses, but has always recognized the potential of the international organization.

Throughout his speech, he continued to refer back to the origins of the United Nations and what its founders wished for it. He emphasized the vision of an institution in which sovereignty, security, and prosperity were the pillars and keys.

He stressed that for the UN to have successful global cooperation and effective action, each nation in the coalition must have independent strength in order to provide and aid other nations.

Compared to decades past, Trump contradicted the norm of the U.S. position in foreign policy which included much more involvement and support for the causes of the UN.

However, Trump was very direct in terms of the change in U.S. foreign policy, stating that he “will always put America first.” He continued to promote and defend his strong nationalistic policy as promised in his election campaign.

Furthermore, he stated that although “the United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies” that as long as he was in office he would not let America be “taken advantage of or enter one-sided deals in which the U.S. does not benefit.”

Nevertheless, he encouraged all state leaders present to always put their countries first. He referred back to the responsibility they as leaders have to their own citizens first as he promoted the importance of state influence in increasing living standards and human rights.

Despite his sovereignty approach to foreign policy and aid, Trump’s aggressive and forthright response to the threat of North Korea caused either outrage or applauds from both allies and opposition forces. He referred to North Korea as a band of criminals and called Kim Jong-Un “rocket man.”

Furthermore, he promised that if the U.S. or its allies were threatened that he would not hesitate to respond by “totally destroying North Korea.”

Early in his speech, Trump declared that an increasing military strength will reach a historical highpoint. The proclamation was made to reassure allies like Japan and South Korea, but also served as a warning to nations such as North Korea who continue to pose as a threat.

Trump went on to criticize the Iran agreement which was negotiated by President Obama and five other nations on the UN council. The agreement decreased international sanctions on Iran if it restrains its nuclear program. Trump called the agreement an “embarrassment to the United States” and foreshadowed more controversy on the subject in the future, such as pulling out of the agreement.

Many international leaders were appalled by what Iran’s Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to as “ignorant hate speech.” Neither Iran’s president and foreign minister attended the general assembly, while North Korea’s ambassador left the hall before Trump’s speech.

Although many countries agree that North Korea’s nuclear hostility is unpredictable and dangerous, many believe Trump’s response was uncalled for in terms of destroying an entire nation. Many in the European Union are still in favor of decreasing violent escalation through diplomatic means.

China, who was indirectly called out by President Trump for continuing economic ties with North Korea, stated in their government run news that “Trump threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if need be will, likely worsen the already volatile situation.”

Despite the contention, many Americans and Republicans were pleased to hear a strong foreign policy with an America first approach.

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