In his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump extolled the importance of state sovereignty and denounced the perceived enemies of global democracy on the world stage. Following the path of isolationism and nationalism that he described in his inauguration speech, Trump promised that the United States “does not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch”. Moving away from precedent, he described the U.S. as an “example for everyone to watch” rather than a major source of aid or authority.
Trump also took the opportunity to levy some insults at the “loser terrorists” of ISIS, and “rocket man”, a name he has now twice used to refer to Kim Jong-un. Echoing the sentiments of Bush’s 2002 “axis of evil” speech, Trump decried North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela as “rogue regimes” that neglected the rights of their people and threatened the sovereignty of other states. WIth North Korean delegates in the front row, Trump continued to increase the fervor of his rhetoric, insisting that Kim was on a “suicide mission”. He suggested the premature death of the Iran nuclear deal was soon to come, due to the regime’s support of Hezbollah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as their continued testing of ballistic missiles. He promised that the U.S. is prepared to take further action against Venezuela, in response to their backsliding democracy, and asked our allies to join him if necessary.
As the most headline-grabbing remark of the day, Trump’s “rocket man” line proved yet again the level of which he has found himself over his head as a world leader. Now that he is being tested with the most looming threat to our security in years, he has reverted to the strategy that won him his first victory as a politician in the Republican primaries: schoolyard insults. However, what worked for him within the environment of cable news squabbling is unlikely to produce any endearment now that lives are at stake, and voters are recognizing Trump’s fear-inducing inadequacy as commander in chief.Trump’s promotion of sovereignty as a unilateral solution to
Trump’s promotion of sovereignty as a unilateral solution to worldwide conflict is a simplistic attempt to cling to the ideas that worked during his campaign, as if the strategy that appealed to out of work blue-collar Americans could somehow enforce civil rights around the globe. He betrays this approach in the same speech in his insistence that world leaders take up action against Maduro, as well as his cavalier attitude towards leading us into nuclear war. It seems his idea of sovereignty is only relevant when turning down refugees, but not when he wants to interfere with the affairs of another country. His failure to mention a grave threat to national sovereignty, the Russian annexation of Crimea, as well as the most serious recent human rights crisis, the genocide of Muslims in Myanmar, show that these ideals of humanitarianism and sovereignty are simply ideas he entertains when it serves him, rather than fundamental values underpinning his ideology.
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This brief was compiled by Colin Shanley. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.