President Trump gave his inaugural address to the UN just moments ago. It had some of that James Bond martini quality, I don’t know if they were stirred or not but some were definitely shaken.
It was pretty much not what any US president has ever said to the UN. (I’m relying on the NYT because of my inability to find an actual transcript.)
If the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” President Trump told the gathering.
In his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump denounced North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un, saying the nation “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life” as a result of its nuclear weapons program.
“If the righteous many don’t confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” he said.
Mr. Trump emphasized that it was against the interest of the entire world for North Korea — which he called a “band of criminals” — to obtain missiles and nuclear weapons.
“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself,” he said of Mr. Kim.
“Rocket Man,” of course, is Kim Jong Un and refers to this tweet
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
Keep in mind that North Korea’s UN delegation was seated in the front row.
Unilateralism is back.
But the president also said America would act alone if needed. He emphasized an “America first” agenda, and said that while the United States would “forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies,” his primary responsibility was to Americans.
“All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens,” Mr. Trump said. “Our government’s first duty is to its people.”
“In foreign affairs we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty,” he said. “As president, I will always put America first, just like you as the leaders of your countries will always — and should always — put your countries first.”
Clearly, this is aimed at North Korea but it seems to be a backhanded shot at the EU which is trying to muscle Poland and Hungary into taking more Arab refugees and they are balking.
After condemning North Korea, Mr. Trump pivoted to the next “rogue nation” — Iran.
He slammed the Iran nuclear deal, calling it “an embarrassment” and one of the worst that the United States has ever entered into.
Mr. Trump has long portrayed Iran as a sponsor of terrorism and has suggested that the United States may abandon the 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five other major powers that limited Iran’s nuclear activities. So far Mr. Trump has grudgingly accepted the nuclear agreement despite having described it as a disgrace.
“It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Mr. Trump told the United Nations on Tuesday.
Over the past couple of weeks, it has become nearly crystal clear that the decision to not certify the Iran nuclear deal to Congress in October has been made. Tillerson, one of the biggest supporters of the deal, characterized Iran as being in violation of the non-nuclear components. McMaster, another backer of the deal, characterized it as a terrible deal over the weekend. Key members of Congress have been saying the same thing.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 19, 2017
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 19, 2017
Most fascinating part of Trump #UNGA speech: after lambasting socialism, he paused, perhaps waiting for applause.
None came. Stony silence.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) September 19, 2017
I’m not sure what the impact of this will be but it is certainly a speech they will talk about for a while.