Trump at the UN: realistic or reckless?

By Jack Parker 

Donald Trump has delivered his first address to the United Nations General Assembly as US President.

His speech, which lasted over 40 minutes, was broad in scope, opening in relatively diplomatic fashion as Mr Trump praised the UN for being a driving force in the fight for social equality. Turning his attention to Iran, whose government he called “a corrupt dictatorship under the guise of democracy”, Mr Trump condemned his predecessor Barack Obama for negotiating and signing the 2015 nuclear accord, which halted Iran’s nuclear development programme.

He referred to the accord, signed by Iran and six other world powers, as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”. Trump’s address was also notable for being the latest chapter in the ongoing war of words between the United States and North Korea.

Evidently preempting Trump’s aggressive and scolding remarks, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Ja Song-nam, walked out of the venue just moments before the US President took to the stage.

Although few would disagree with Trump’s sentiment that North Korea is a threat to world peace, his dubbing of Kim Jong-un as the ‘rocket man on a suicide mission’ and his boasting of the US’s ability to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea were poorly received in the room. The speech has been widely criticised by world leaders and international diplomats, many of whom accused the President of being provocative in his rhetoric.

His blunt claim that North Korea and several other nations are ‘going to hell’ has done little to win him allies on the world stage. The muted applause that followed Trump’s address was perhaps an accurate reflection of this. The unorthodox approach to diplomacy he demonstrated in his inaugural UN address is proving characteristic of his presidency. Whether meaningful progress or further escalation takes place following Trump’s speech has yet to be seen.

Image: Cheryl Grayum via Flickr 

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