WHATEVER gains the United States made during the Obama years in the field of international diplomacy were flushed down the drain when US President Donald Trump delivered for the first time a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19. The bombastic 40-minute monologue contradicted the core values of the world body and turned off not just the targeted leaders but even those of US-allied nations.
The hallowed stage of the UN General Assembly became the site of schoolyard bullying by the President of the United States. Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea,” took a jab at Iran’s leadership by describing it as “a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy” and accused Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro of destroying “a prosperous nation by ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried.”
He even chided his predecessor, Barack Obama, for entering into a deal with Iran, saying it was “the worst and most one-sided transaction the United States has ever entered into.”
The targets of Trump’s attacks may have deserved the tongue-lashing but the occasion simply was not right. If he delivered his lines in the White House, it would have sounded normal. But the United Nations is not the United States, therefore decency should have prevailed.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier set the tone for this year’s UN General Assembly’s annual debate when he said that “Our world is in trouble…People are hurting and angry. They see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing.” He warned that “fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.”
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe hit Trump perfectly on the head: “Mr. Trump, please blow your trumpet -- blow your trumpet in a musical way towards the values of unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness, dialogue, which we have always stood for and which are well-writ in our very sacred document, the Charter of the United Nations.”
The President of the United States only revived the notion that Uncle Sam is that ugly American who acts like the policeman of the world protecting it from those who oppose democracy and deny peoples’ freedoms yet in truth merely protects its vested interest and promotes war.
It must be hard for Donald Trump to accept that the world no longer looks up to the United States as the most powerful nation in the world. Russia, China and Germany have their spheres of influence while the United States has become protectionist, conflicted and rudderless.
The follies of Donald Trump in the United Nations’ floor have pictured the United States not only as the laughing stock of the world but more so a dangerous nation led by a warmonger. Our world is in trouble, in deep trouble indeed.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 23, 2017.
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