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  • U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., Sept. 25, 2018.

    U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., Sept. 25, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 September 2018
Opinion

Trump used his speech to promote more intervention and to praise governments doing so, while rejecting the ideals and mission of the United Nations.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised right-wing and authoritarian governments around the world including Saudi Arabia, Israel, the right-wing Modi government of India, while promoting his economic war of sanctions against Venezuela and Iran, and bragging about his administration's push for more military spending, furthering neo-liberal policies, trade war with China, crackdown on immigration, as well as rejecting the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court.

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“We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We have started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security. We have secured record funding for the military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before,” Trump said.

His comments on more military spending, at the very organization that was founded to promote peace in the world after World War Two, came before he bragged about cutting funds to countries and organizations that do not align with his government's policies. In recent months, Washington cut funds to several U.N. organizations including those helping Palestinian refugees and proposing human and women's rights. 

Trump also attacked the International Criminal Court, in which a lawsuit is being processed against U.S. crimes in Afghanistan and said that the court did not have "legitimacy, jurisdiction or authority" over the world, and that "we will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy."

Trump also used his speech to attack the leaders of the Iranian government, just days after a terrorist attack took place in the capital. "Iran's leaders sow chaos, death and destruction," Trump told the annual gathering. "They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations," while praising Saudi Arabia and Israel despite their proven pro-war policies in Syria and Yemen, and Palestine. 

Trump called for international trade reforms and insisted that his main objective as president is to protect American sovereignty. He called on OPEC to stop raising oil prices and criticized China's trade practices.

Trump also prompted murmurs from the crowd of world leaders and diplomats when he declared that he had accomplished more as president than almost any other administration in history. "I didn’t expect that reaction, but that's okay," he said.

Trump praised North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday for his courage in taking some steps to disarm, but said much work needed to be done and sanctions must remain in place on North Korea until it denuclearizes.

"The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction, nuclear testing has stopped, some military facilities are already being dismantled," Trump said in his speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly.

"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 said. "The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs."

Trump's remarks on North Korea were dramatically different to those in his speech last year at the U.N. assembly, when he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea and mocked the North Korean leader as a "Rocket Man" on a "suicide mission."

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