In my weekly column for World Politics Review, I preview Trump’s third UN General Assembly and explain why he will be the odd man out in Turtle Bay.
When President Donald Trump takes to the United Nations podium Tuesday morning for his third annual address to the General Assembly, his audience may wonder why he bothered to come. By now, little mystery remains about his “America First” worldview. Foreigners are familiar with his commitment to nationalism, skepticism of treaties, affinity for strongmen, passion for walls, fear of immigrants, antipathy toward refugees, attachment to protectionism and denial of climate change. In sum, he rejects the very purposes and priorities of the United Nations. Those who still believe in multilateral cooperation are likely to endure Trump’s speech much as they would the offensive ramblings of an aging uncle over a holiday dinner. It will be a performance to suffer through, for at least one more year.
Trump’s first U.N. appearance in 2017 actually exceeded expectations—an admittedly low bar. The president’s salute to sovereignty, a term he invoked 21 times, resonated with developing countries sensitive to the principle of nonintervention. They welcomed the Westphalian thrust of Trump’s speech, as well as his observation that all U.N. member states should pursue their national interests. (They were less reassured by his promise to wipe North Korea off the map if it proceeded with its nuclear ambitions).
Read the full World Politics Review article here.