Just one day after United States President Donald Trump criticized the United Nations while promoting his Trump Tower building across the street where his White House advisor and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has been a tenant, he returned to the General Assembly and issued a strong warning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The mention of total destruction must have alarmed the members of the North Korean delegation, as Trump stood at the podium like a fire and brimstone preacher delivering incendiary rhetoric from the bully pulpit. He went as far as to suggest that the troubles of the world are caused by a few rogue regimes, a phrase that he used after mentioning Iran and North Korea.
On the previous day and during the opening session of the General Assembly, Trump’s speech was closely followed by officials and journalists from around the world. It is worth remembering that Trump had derided the UN and the North American Treaty Organization during his surreal political campaign; this was part of his “America First” propagandistic vision of putting domestic affairs ahead of matters abroad. With important issues such as the ISIS terrorism threat, the North Korean ballistic missile program, the conflict in Syria, and friction against Iran, it would be impossible for Trump to separate the US from UN commitments; still, this did not stop him from doling out advice about how he thinks the UN could be improved.
As in his previous rhetoric against NATO, Trump suggested that the US is a disproportionate contributor to UN operations; while it is true that many UN agencies such as the UNICEF are heavily reliant on US funding, it is important to note that a few major UN peacekeeping missions in the 21st century have been carried out with minimal American involvement. Such is the case of MINUSTAH in Haiti, which has been predominantly managed by Brazilian security forces for over a decade.
Trump has certainly been fishing for allies in case threatening actions erupt in the Korean Peninsula. To this effect, he will be meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan on Wednesday; in fact, Trump and President Xi Jinping of China had a teleconference on Monday about UN sanctions imposed against North Korea. It should be noted that China has already warned that it would defend North Korea if the US were to take the first offensive action, but that it would stay out of the conflict if Kim Jong Un, who was called “Rocket Man” by Trump during the UN address, decided to start hostilities.
Trump then took shots at the American and Iranian tentative peace agreement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deeply derided. This is one of many achievements from the Obama administration that Trump would like to undo; however, should the US pull out unilaterally from that agreement, Iran would then be free to pursue nuclear weapons research, thereby destabilizing the Middle East even more.
To cap things off, Trump deliberately used the term “radical Islamic terrorism” when describing groups such as ISIS. Within the confines of the UN, no religion is mentioned or associated with terrorism because holy texts such as the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, and many others do not profess any dogma or philosophy conducive to terrorism, no matter what the terrorists may claim. Trump broke away from this long-held tacit understanding on Tuesday morning.