The 72nd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly is taking place now in New York, from 19th to 25 September 2017, where heads of states and/or very senior representatives from 193 countries are going to discuss and debate issues of concern to the world of today. The main theme for this session had been earmarked as, “Focussing on people, striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”. The key words to note on this theme are ‘peace’, ‘decent life for people’ and ‘sustainable planet’.
Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America, had given his speech on the floor of the United Nations on 19th September. The speech would stand out as the most unconventional, obnoxious and full of thuggery that any known head of state had ever given to the UN General Assembly.
On top of his self-aggrandisement for the victory in the presidential election using his “America first” slogan, he exhorted world leaders to go likewise for their individual “countries first” (thereby abrogating multilateralism)! This is the most ill-conceived advice and a recipe for international discord. But this is the mild part of his speech, when one considers what is to come next.
On North Korea, he blustered that US is ready, willing and able to totally destroy that country, but hopefully that will not be necessary. He seemed to have nudged United Nations to support him by saying, “that is what the UN is all about; that is what the UN is for; let’s see how they do”. In other words, he was asking the UN to do his bidding and allow him to do what he is capable of doing in destroying another member of the UN. He also insulted the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, labelling him a “rocket man” who is “on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime”. North Korea’s two allotted seats were empty as they were not interested in hearing what the American president has to say.
That is not all for Donald Trump. He denounced the nuclear deal that Barack Obama along with Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and France signed with Iran and called that deal as the “worst ever” deal. He gave the impression that he may abrogate the deal. He then berated the Iranian government as a “corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy” and urged the Iranian people to overthrow the government.
A day later when the Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani, stood to deliver his speech, he answered quite clearly that Trump’s speech was ‘ignorant, absurd and hateful’. He said that should America walks away from the nuclear deal his country would respond “decisively and resolutely” by reviving the nuclear activities Iran had abandoned under the deal.
Donald Trump also castigated Venezuelan leadership as a “corrupt regime” which turned a prosperous country into an impoverished country. Venezuelan response is yet to come.
Donald Trump’s speech has been roundly condemned by allies of America as well as those states who are not in good terms with America. French president, Emmanuel Macron, said that the nuclear deal with Iran is a fair deal and if it is made to collapse, a nuclear standoff as serious as the Korean peninsula might develop here. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although normally highly diplomatic, defended the Iranian deal and commented on Trump’s bluster on North Korea as “I am against threats of this kind”. Even Theresa May and Boris Johnson, who would bend backwards to support any American statements, said that Donald Trump’s speech was not helpful and Iranian deal should not be thrown away.
However, Trump received support from the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for his stand on abrogating the Iranian deal. Netanyahu had a blazing row with Barack Obama when he signed the nuclear deal, as Israel was vying for a fight and destroy Iran. Then Saudi Arabia joined in to support America (and Israel) against Iran – so much for the Saudi’s self-aggrandised role as the custodian of the two holy mosques in Islam!
Donald Trump a couple of months ago pulled America out of the Paris Climate Agreement on the ground that he considers global warming is nothing but fake. He wants to revive the coal industry and employ hundreds of thousands of Americans as miners and ‘make America great again’! Such massive job opportunities would look marvellous for his re-election! That the environmental damage the CO2 emission would inflict and hurricanes like Katrina, Irma, Maria and many more would be a regular affair do not bother a xenophobic character like Donald Trump.
So much for upholding the principles of the UN General Assembly session by advancing ‘peace, decent life for people and sustainable planet’ by Donald Trump! Even Israeli prime minister admitted that in his 30 years of attending UN General Assembly meetings he had never come across anything like this. America was never a country which other countries would truly regard as friend. But this time Trump is taking America to a different planet and making America a pariah state.