Donald Trump has delivered a shockingly bellicose speech during his first appearance before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The speech began by striking a tone which sounded more like a speech before a domestic US audience than before the nations of the world.
Trump welcomed delegates and leaders to his home town of New York before citing the fact that his leadership has brought the US stock markets to record highs. He also cited a sixteen year low unemployment rate in the US before proudly announcing that the US is now spending record amounts on the military.
The US President then said that the US military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. This would be the central element of a speech that was filled with threats against fellow members of the United Nations.
Early in the speech Trump stated that the US will not be guided by ideology, nor seek to impose its will on the wider world. He further said that “outcomes” based problem solving is preferable to ideological struggle. Trump remarked that he seeks to protect America first and that it is the duty of all nations to protect their own citizens above all else. This earned Trump a considerable amount of applause from the chamber, although this adoration would be short lived. The remaining parts of the speech contradicted this notion in the most extreme manner imaginable.
Much like George W. Bush’s infamously violent ‘Axis of Evil’ speech before the US Congress, Trump used the United Nations as a forum to deliver military threats against several fellow nations.
While Trump spoke of “principled realism”, his speech was anything but. He cited threats to ‘sovereignty’ from “the Ukraine to the South China Sea” in an apparent insult to both Russia and China, one which however, does not accurately reflect the realities of the borderlands and maritime territories of either country.
He then moved on to criticising countries he called a “small group of rogue regimes” which according to Trump, threaten world peace.
The US President stated that North Korea threatens the entire world calling the government in Pyongyang a “depraved regime”.
He threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea with military force if what he sees as a problem is not solved.
He then said,
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime”.
This is a reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un whom Trump previously referred to as “rocket man” in a disparaging Tweet just days ago.
He then accused North Korea of starving its citizens, killing the brother of the current leader (a charge which no one has presented thorough evidence to back up) and also blamed Pyongyang for the death of Otto Warmbier, a US citizen who died on American soil after his early release from a prison in North Korea.
Donald Trump thanked Russia and China for voting in favour of further sanctions against North Korea at the UN Security Council but warned that if the UN cannot solve the issue, the US is prepared to use military force against North Korea, ostensibly in a preemptive attack.
Donald Trump then turned to Iran calling it a “corrupt dictatorship” which threatens Israel. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was in the audience, looked on with smiling approval at that point.
Donald Trump lambasted Iran further, saying that its main export is violence, including terrorism. Calling the Lebanese political party Hezbollah a “terrorist group”, Trump criticised Iran for its support of Hezbollah.
Trump then said that the JCPOA, which Trump called by its colloquial name, the Iran nuclear deal, was an “embarrassment to the United States”.
He indicated that the deal is all but over before once again accusing Iran of sponsoring terrorism, a patently untrue allegation. Iran is helping both Syria and Iraq to fight ISIS.
Trump then praised Saudi Arabia, a country considered to be the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism, and thanked the Saudi regime for helping the US to fight “radical Islamic terrorism”.
The US leader then vowed that the US will crush “loser terrorists” in spite of all else.
Donald Trump called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “dictator” supported by Iran. He further restated the discredited story that Syria used chemical weapons on civilians in Idlib on the 4 of April 2017. The US President then congratulated himself on his decision to illegally strike Syria on the 6th of April in relation to the alleged chemical attack.
VENEZUELA and CUBA
Turning to Latin America, Donald Trump called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “socialist dictator” whose alleged failures are due to the fact that he has “faithfully implemented” socialism in Venezuela. This statement elicited audible laughter from the audience at the General Assembly.
Trump then went on to blast the alleged wickedness of socialism and communism before threatening possible military action against Venezuela.
Trump then defended his stance to reimpose sanctions on Cuba which he also criticised for having a socialist government.
Donald Trump’s speech which began by talking about the US economy and ended by slamming mass migration, two elements clearly designed for domestic consumption, will be remembered by most people in the world for being a tiresome, insane sounding attack on the sovereignty of other nations, even as Trump claimed earlier in his speech that the US does not seek to force its ideology upon others.
His factual untruths about North Korea, Iran, Syria and Venezuela sounded more like a schoolboy delivering a rant against nations he finds distasteful than that of a world leader worthy of the name.
The speech, which was only the second in a long line of speeches by world leaders, will almost certainly be heavily criticised by Donald Trump’s fellow leaders in the hours and days to come.