Wed, 17 Jul 2019

Trump touts patriotism during guffaw-inducing UN speech

By Sheetal Sukhija, China News
26 Sep 2018, 06:30 GMT+10

NEW YORK, U.S. - In his second ever address before the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. President Donald Trump managed to kick off his highly anticipated speech eliciting unexpected laughter from world leaders.

Last year, making a fiery debut at the UN General Assembly, Trump vowed to annihilate North Korea and directly threatened the "little rocket man" - Kim Jong Un with "fire and fury."

A year later, as he stepped into the global spotlight on Tuesday, to deliver his second address to world leaders gathered in New York, Trump encountered what was possibly one of the most humiliating moments for an American President. 

In a speech resonating the tone that he has used while campaigning at rallies, Trump began his address to the international body by boasting of his accomplishments. 

However, moments later, he admitted that he wasn't expecting the reaction he received from world leaders. 

Trump opened his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday by declaring, "In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country."

The audience, listening solemnly, almost immediately burst into derisive laughter, in a moment that is set to go down in history as one of the most embarrassing ones that any American leader has had to face on the global stage.   

Stumped but laughing along with the crowd, Trump tried to move past it by saying,"I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK."

'Embrace patriotism'

Through his bombastic speech at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Trump touted patriotism, rejected globalism and lashed out at American foes, slamming Iran and China. 

The U.S. President said, "The United States is a stronger, safer and richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people, and we are also standing up for the world."

Reiterating his commitment to policies that have affected the world in the year since he last addressed the UN, Trump urged other nations to embrace patriotism and reject globalism.

He said defiantly, "We will never surrender America's sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism. The United States would protect its sovereignty and national interests."

He encouraged other countries of the world to do the same.

In his 35-minute long address, Trump reiterated his commitment to his controversial "America First" policy, even though several world leaders have been stumped and angered by the approach.

Actions inspired by his go-it-alone policy have not only disrupted world order, but have strained U.S. relationships with traditional allies worldwide over the last year. 

Over the last year, Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal and has even threatened to punish NATO nations for not paying enough for their common defense. 

Trump commented on his country's decision to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council, pointing to its impact on migration. 

He said, "Migration should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens."

'America is being cheated'

In his speech, Trump defended his hardline position on Iran and his trade war with China.

He accused foreign countries of "cheating the U.S. in trade deals" and "taking advantage of American protection" to keep down their own defense budgets. 

Trump clarified that the U.S. would provide financial assistance only to those nations that already are acting in America's interests.

He explained, "The United States is the world's largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid, but few give anything to us. We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart. Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us, and frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense."

'America's diplomatic engagement'

Then, touting his many diplomatic engagements, Trump said that under his administration, the U.S. had started building a wall along the border with Mexico.

He claimed that his administration had managed to defeat the Islamic State and that he had managed to ease the crisis with North Korea through dialogue.

While he slammed the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his speech last year, this year, he showered him with praise. 

Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for working with the U.S. to return American hostages and the remains of soldiers killed in the Korean conflict. 

Commenting on his breakthrough Singapore summit, during which he met with the North Korean leader, Trump said, "We have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace. The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction, nuclear testing has stopped."

He then thanked the man whom he blamed for mass murder last year and said, "I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken though much work remains to be done."

Trump declared that U.S. sanctions on North Korea "will stay in place until denuclearization occurs."

Turning his focus to Syria, Trump reiterated the warning his administration has issued several times this month and said, "The United States will respond if chemical weapons are used in Syria."

Trump said, "Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran." 

Then, the U.S. President - who has withdrawn from the nuclear deal and has reinstated crippling sanctions against Iran as part of his agenda to isolate the country from the rest of the world - used his address to attack Iran's "corrupt dictatorship." 

Denouncing Iran's leaders, Trump said they were responsible for "death and destruction" and said his reimposition of nuclear sanctions had severely weakened the Iranian government.

Trump declared, "Iran's leaders sow chaos, death and destruction. They do not respect their neighbours or borders or the sovereign rights of nations."

He accused Iranian leaders of embezzling "billions of dollars" and lining their own pockets.

Trump said, "We ask all nations to isolate Iran's regime as long as its aggression continues. And we ask all nations to support Iran's people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny."

Neither Rouhani, not any other Iranian diplomat or official was presented in the chamber during Trump's speech. 

The U.S. President also criticized China for its trade practices, and announced new sanctions against Venezuela.

Calling for the "restoration of democracy in Venezuela," Trump said that he was adding economic sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro's "inner circle" and close advisers.

Trump also targetted the oil producers' organization, OPEC and said that it was "ripping off the rest of the world." 

He said, "I don't like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good."

Trump again returned to his theme of patriotism and said, "Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination."

Trump insisted that his focus on American "sovereignty" has finally paid off and has helped foster both peace and prosperity.

He declared, "The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return."

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