In his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday, President Donald Trump outlined how he envisions his America First policy will translate onto the international stage.
While Trump was critical of the U.N. during his campaign, he now emphasized its cooperative potential. He also underscored the importance of national sovereignty to achieving international cooperation.
“We do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation,” Trump said.
Trump’s idea of independent strengths working together formulated the basis of his policy perspective for the immigration crisis caused by the conflicts in the Middle East, and more specifically the war in Syria.
“For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region,” Trump said.
Notably, Trump didn’t mention the immigration crisis that he made the centerpiece of his campaign, never once referencing his infamous wall, which was also reportedly excluded from the DACA deal.
No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
Trump’s approach to humanitarian assistance is not only different than the policies his administration designs, but also in its underlying tone. Former President Barack Obama took pride in the fact that the U.S. was the “largest single donor of humanitarian aid around the world,” whereas Trump described the country’s contribution as more of an unfair financial strain.
“The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more,” he said.
Trump seems to be encouraging other nations to take a more prominent stand on the international stage to counterbalance what he views as an overlarge burden on the U.S. When the hot-button issue of North Korea came up, he applauded the sanctions applied by the U.N. Security Council – specifically singling out China and Russia for joining in on the imposition – but said that the sanctions alone are not enough.
“It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior,” he said.
The North Korean section of Trump’s remarks was also rife with aggressive language. He referred to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man”, and said that if forced, the U.S. will have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea. He uttered these remarks with the North Korean delegation sitting just feet away from him in the front row of the auditorium.
Iran was another target of Trump’s. Trump denounced the Iran nuclear deal, calling it one-sided, and the Iranian government a “corrupt dictatorship.”
“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it,” Trump said.
All in all, Trump’s message was mixed. He touted the strength of the U.S. and its military while simultaneously expressing a desire to reduce its presence as a geopolitical power on the world stage.
We have made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years.Must be proactive & nasty!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017