Mon. Jun 1st, 2020

The Informer

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U.N. General Assembly Updates: Trump to Chair Security Council Meeting

4 min read

A day after President Trump appeared before the United Nations and made clear his disdain for a global approach to problem solving, he returns on Wednesday to wield the gavel at a meeting of the world organization’s most powerful body.

Mr. Trump will lead a Security Council meeting on nonproliferation, as the body’s current president, a rotating position.

On Tuesday, in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, he argued for a rejection of multilateralism and attacked Iran, OPEC, Venezuela and the International Criminal Court. Some world leaders rebutted his anti-globalism message, with the heads of state of Turkey, Iran and France denouncing the major themes of Mr. Trump’s speech.

Some in the audience laughed as Mr. Trump praised the accomplishments of his less than two years in office, saying more had been done than in “almost any administration in the history of our country.”

Mr. Trump, in his second address to the General Assembly, boasted on Tuesday of what he called impressive accomplishments in the United States and around the world.

“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” he said, setting off murmurs of laughter by world leaders in the cavernous hall.

“I did not expect that reaction,” he said.

“The United States is stronger, safer and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago,” Mr. Trump said. “We are standing up for America and the American people. We are also standing up for the world.”

He said that under his administration the United States had started building a wall along the border with Mexico, defeated the Islamic State and eased the crisis with North Korea through dialogue with the leader of the nuclear-armed state.

“The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction, nuclear testing has stopped,” said the president, who met in Singapore earlier this year with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. “I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken though much work remains to be done.”

Mr. Trump then turned his attention to Iran, denouncing the country’s leaders and calling the government there a “corrupt dictatorship” responsible for “death and destruction.” He said his reimposition of nuclear sanctions had severely weakened the Iranian government.

In a list of complaints about globalism, which he portrayed as a threat to American sovereignty, Mr. Trump rejected the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court, echoing recent statements by top aides like John R. Bolton, his national security adviser.

“As far as America is concerned,” Mr. Trump said, the court — which prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity — has “no legitimacy and no authority.”

We “reject the ideology of globalism,” he said.

He also spoke of renegotiating “bad and broken trade deals,” and said that “many nations agree that the trade system is in dire need” of change. He said the United States had “racked up $13 billion in trade deficits” in the last two decades.

“But those days are over,” he said. “We will no longer tolerate such abuse.”

Mr. Trump also assailed the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — which includes Saudi Arabia, a strong United States ally — over rising oil prices.

OPEC nations are “ripping off the rest of the world,” he said. “I don’t like it. Nobody should like it.”

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, who has all but ruled out a meeting with Mr. Trump, spoke hours after the American president and offered a diametrically opposite portrait of his country. Iran, he said, is law abiding, respectful and first in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Rouhani denounced the Trump administration not only for repudiating the nuclear agreement but also for threatening through the use of sanctions to punish any country that seeks to do business with Iran.

“The economic war that the United States has initiated under the rubric of new sanctions not only targets the Iranian people but entails harmful repercussions for people of other countries,” Mr. Rouhani said. He also made clear that he thought Mr. Trump’s offer to talk with Iran’s leaders was disingenuous at best.

“It is ironic that the United States government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks,” Mr. Rouhani said.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, during his time at the podium, defended multilateralism. Without it, Mr. Macron warned, global wars would return. He cautioned that “nationalism always leads to defeat.”

“I do not accept the erosion of multilateralism and don’t accept our history unraveling,” Mr. Macron said. “Our children are watching.”

He also took aim at Mr. Trump’s decision to quit the Paris climate agreement — an ambitious effort to halt climate change.

“The Paris agreement has stayed intact, and that is because we have decided to stay unified in spite of the United States’ decision to withdraw,” Mr. Macron said. “This is power, and this is the way that we overcome the challenges.”

Urging radical action to ensure that the goals of the agreement are met, Mr. Macron told fellow signers to consider steps against countries that rejected it.

“Let’s, for example, stop signing trade agreements with those who don’t comply with the Paris agreement,” he said. “Let’s have our trade agreements take on board our environmental obligations.”

The United States and Syria are the only nations that are not part of the agreement.