Critic's Notebook: Trump Show Gets Surreal in Bellicose United Nations Speech

Frederick Owens
September 20, 2017

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Trump will urge other countries to do their part in confronting threats such as North Korea.

Trump dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" and said his "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons ... threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life".

Trump said that North Korea's "depraved" regime‚ threatened the whole world and told the General Assembly that the USA would‚ "if forced to defend ourselves or our allies‚ totally destroy North Korea".

Despite the criticism, Trump has seen some of his top foreign policy victories emerge from the UN's Security Council, which has passed rounds of sanctions on North Korea for its ballistic missile program.

"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime", he said.

Trump named names - including nicknames - in his call for the world to isolate North Korea.

North Korea's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's remarks.

"It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a nation but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world", he said.

"The longest suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people", Trump said. "The US is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary", Trump warned. And because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before.

Aides said Mr Trump will not rule out accords between sovereign states - such as those that underpin security in Europe and Asia - but will argue against overbearing global governance.

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Mr Trump did not explicitly mention Russian Federation or China, but the comment was clearly aimed at Moscow and Beijing.

Earnest said, "Having sat in the hall of the United Nations where the president of the United States delivers an address for gathered world leaders - that's something I did for the last three years-what you know world leaders are looking for in that room is a coherent strategy for taking on the biggest challenges around the globe".

Trump told world leaders that he would not insist their countries adopt U.S. values.

Trump also told world leaders that the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was "an embarassment" to the United States.

The United States and North Korea have had escalating tensions in recent months.

Mr. Trump also framed his campaign's "America First" ideology as American sovereignty in this speech.

The administration must decide in mid-October whether it will certify that Iran is still in compliance with the agreement. "But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it's in everyone's interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure".

Watch Trump's full speech above.

He finished with the statement: "God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United states of America".

The speech will have raised eyebrows among the US's traditional, globalist allies in Europe, Canada, and the rest of the English-speaking world. He said that he hopes the disputes would be resolved through the United Nations - "that's what the United Nations is all about" - but he was critical of the institution, saying that it had too often concerned itself with "bureaucracy and process".

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