Trump blasts globalism, Iran at U.N.
President Trump launched a fierce attack on the “ideology of globalism” in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week, declaring that he would not allow America’s sovereignty to be impinged upon by any multinational institution. In a 35-minute address to more than 100 world leaders, Trump slammed the World Trade Organization, the U.N. Human Rights Council, OPEC, and the International Criminal Court for seeking to constrain the U.S. “America will always choose independence and cooperation,” he said, “over global governance, control, and domination.” He singled out Iran as an international bad actor, blaming the country’s “corrupt dictatorship” for fueling the Syrian Civil War and spreading “chaos, death, and destruction” across the Middle East. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shot back in his own General Assembly address, saying Trump had “xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition.”
Trump had kinder words for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un—whom he branded “Little Rocket Man” at last year’s General Assembly—hailing the tyrant’s “courage” for holding direct peace talks with him. Trump told world leaders that rapprochement with North Korea was just one of his many achievements, and that his administration had “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” The boast was met with laughter from the audience. “It’s the first time I’m aware of,” said Thomas Wright, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, “that people actually laughed at a president.” In a later U.N. session, Trump accused Beijing of “attempting to interfere” against Republicans in the November midterms because of his tough stance on trade.
What the editorials said
This was a “sustained attack on globalism,” said USA Today. Trump depicts “a brutalist world” where the U.S. is played for a sucker. But problems like “climate disruption, terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, trade disputes, and flows of refugees” can only be solved by international cooperation. Trump’s version of “America First” isolationism plays well with his base, “but whether it is producing a safer and better world is highly doubtful.” Trump isn’t an isolationist, said The Washington Examiner, he simply believes that the U.S. should make “decisions based on American rights and interests, full stop.” When we have mutual interests, of course we will work with other nations. But the U.S. shouldn’t have to be the world’s policeman, nor should we be subject to “spurious prosecutions” by the International Criminal Court. His detractors will never admit it, but his U.N. speech proves that “Trump has a coherent view of the world.”
What the columnists said
For years, Trump claimed that the world was laughing at the U.S., said David Graham in TheAtlantic.com. He insists the snickering stopped the moment he took office and got tough on immigration and trade, but now he has literally been laughed at on the world stage—his personal nightmare. “Perhaps there is a silver lining, though.” Our allies might say they can no longer rely on Washington, and our soft power is at its lowest ebb since World War II, but “America can still unite the global community, if only in giggles.”
The globalists can laugh all they want, but Trump is winning, said Benny Avni in the New York Post. Since taking office he’s pulled the U.S. out of numerous flawed international pacts, most notably the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that let Tehran export oil and use the profits to fuel its Middle East adventurism. Trump aims to bend Iran with powerful sanctions, an “American-first approach” that’s more promising than the “oh-so-united Iran-coddling” of former President Barack Obama and European leaders.
Trump sees America’s role in the world “as a bully, not a beacon,” said Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post. He threatened not to defend OPEC member countries “if they do not lower their oil prices,” and argued foreign aid should be based on “what is offered in return.” This is an “extremely self-interested form of nationalism,” inspired by “a dark vision of an America that is under siege by the rest of the world.” But there’s a danger in rejecting globalization, because “others will not.” As the U.S. “withdraws from the international order,” China “stands ready to move into the vacuum.” ■