[pjw] NEWS: Trump threatens Korea, Iran, others in UN speech (Politico 9/19)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Sep 19 15:39:27 EDT 2017

IAG supporters

The timing of our protest this Friday (5 PM at SW Yamhill and Broadway) 
could not be more important. President Trump has used the world's 
deliberative body that was nominally set up to resolve global conflicts 
after WW II to threaten war on North Korea, Iran, and other countries. Our 
description of Friday's rally, though titled "Stop the US War on Syria," 
also notes that "PJW also opposes future wars, including, in the context 
of the 64th anniversary of the armistice in Korea on July 27, ongoing US 
tensions with North Korea."

He threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea.

To me one of the biggest hypocrisies (among the many) is Trump's 
description of Iran:

    "The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false
    guise of a democracy," Trump said. He accused the Islamist government
    in Tehran of turning a wealthy nation with a rich history into "an
    economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence,
    bloodshed and chaos."

Hmm, who does that sound like... maybe the USA???

Politico's story (below) does include this useful insight:
    [Trump] may rail against human rights abuses in Iran, for instance,
    but he says nothing about similar abuses in U.S.-allied countries
    such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia -- a position past presidents have
    also taken.

They also note he didn't talk about the US pulling out of the Paris 
climate accord.

Trump warns that major portions of the world "are going to hell"
    The president also threatens to 'totally destroy' North Korea during
    his first United Nations address.
    09/19/2017 10:18 AM EDT
    Updated 09/19/2017 02:13 PM EDT

    UNITED NATIONS -- President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to "totally
    destroy" North Korea and its "Rocket Man" leader, warned the
    "murderous" Iranian government that it cannot endure, and declared that
    much of the world is "going to hell."

    In his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump also urged
    nations to band together to fight "evil" -- even as he extolled the
    virtue of respecting national sovereignty and insisted that America
    isn't looking to impose its "way of life" on others.

    The at-times contradictory remarks were filled with soaring rhetoric
    that touched on everything from "God" to "chaos," and the dark tones
    were reminiscent of Trump's inaugural address, in which he promised to
    bring an end to "American carnage." The singling out of a handful of
    "rogue" nations also seemed to borrow from former President George W.
    Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech.

    "The scourge of our planet today is small regimes that violate every
    principle [on which] the United Nations is based," Trump said. "They
    respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their
    countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then
    evil will triumph."

    The speech seemed crafted to please Trump's nationalist-leaning
    domestic base without alienating global leaders. Stephen Miller, a
    Trump aide with nationalist and anti-immigration views, is reported to
    have helped draft it, and Trump, known for talking off the cuff, seemed
    to stay largely on script.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a major supporter of Trump
    who is eager to see him crack down on Iran, was among the world leaders
    openly thrilled with the address. Israel is often the target of
    criticism by U.N. entities and harbors deep suspicion toward the world

    "In over 30 years in my experience with the U.N., I never heard a
    bolder or more courageous speech," Netanyahu said, according to his
    Twitter feed.

    Other foreign diplomats were relieved by Trump's 40-minute speech,
    although many approached the address with low expectations. Some were
    reassured that, even though he urged it to reform itself, Trump at
    least did not completely turn his back on the United Nations.

    "It was as Trumpian as expected, and we are getting used to it," one
    European diplomat said.

    Trump's main target of criticism was North Korea, whose nuclear
    ambitions have deeply alarmed the White House.

    The U.S. president went beyond his past warning that North Korea would
    face "fire and fury," and belittled North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by
    again calling him "Rocket Man," but this time in a formal setting.
    Trump also mentioned Otto Warmbier, a young American held for months by
    the regime in Pyongyang who was handed back to the U.S. in a coma and
    died shortly thereafter.

    "No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the
    well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North
    Korea," Trump said. "No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this
    band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The
    United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to
    defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally
    destroy North Korea.

    "Rocket Man," Trump said, "is on a suicide mission for himself and for
    his regime."

    Trump insisted that the United States is "ready, willing and able" to
    attack North Korea, but added that "hopefully this will not be
    necessary." Instead, Trump said, the United Nations should do more in a
    concerted way to force North Korea off the nuclear path.

    "That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United
    Nations is for," he said.

    Trump aides later tried to calm the hype over his threats against North
    Korea. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted that
    former President Barack Obama had used similar language in 2016: "We
    could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals."

    Trump also singled out Iran as another common enemy of "righteous"
    nations, slamming its military activity throughout the Middle East, its
    human rights abuses and its ballistic missile tests.

    "The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false
    guise of a democracy," Trump said. He accused the Islamist government
    in Tehran of turning a wealthy nation with a rich history into "an
    economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence,
    bloodshed and chaos." But he also spoke of solidarity with the Iranian
    people, whom he cast as "the longest suffering victims" of their

    Trump further used the occasion to send a strong public signal that he
    may abandon the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by the Obama
    administration and several other countries. The agreement, which lifted
    many sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, is
    "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions" in the history of
    America, Trump said, calling it "an embarrassment to the United

   "I don't think you've heard the last of it. Believe me," he added.

    Trump also went after Venezuela in unusually lengthy and harsh terms,
    alleging that its increasingly autocratic government has taken "a
    once-thriving nation to the brink of total collapse." He noted that the
    U.S. has imposed sanctions on Venezuela, where people are struggling to
    obtain basic food and goods amid an economic freefall, and called on
    fellow U.N. members to add even more pressure.

    "We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela
    persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan
    people," Trump said, without offering specifics. "The situation is
    completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch."

    "The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly
    implemented," Trump added, "but that socialism has been faithfully

    As he touched on a range of other issues, from the ongoing fight
    against "radical Islamic terrorism" to the massive migration crisis
    spurred by civil wars and other conflict, Trump painted an overall
    pessimistic view of the world.

    "Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are
    going to hell," the U.S. president said.

    But the solutions Trump offered at times seemed to contradict each
    other, or at least seem difficult to implement given the complexities
    of foreign relations.

    For instance, Trump nodded to the importance of multilateralism, saying
    at one point that "the powerful people in this room, under the guidance
    and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and
    complex problems."

    But much of his speech was focused on respecting national sovereignty
    and the right of a country to protect its interests. In fact, he said,
    the United Nations itself was initially "based on the vision that
    diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve
    their security, and promote their prosperity."

    "The true question for the United Nations today, for people all over
    the world who hope for better lives for themselves and their children,
    is a basic one -- are we still patriots?" Trump said. "Do we love our
    nations enough to protect their sovereignty and to take ownership of
    their futures? Do we revere them enough to defend their interests,
    preserve their cultures, and ensure a peaceful world for their

    The emphasis on patriotism, culture and sovereignty echoed in part
    Trump's speech in Poland earlier this year, when he said, "The
    fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to
    survive." Conservatives praised that speech as a stirring defense of
    liberal democracy against threats like Islamist extremism, but critics
    said it was religiously and racially divisive.

    Analysts noted that Trump's actions in office so far seem to both
    support and undercut the various points he made Tuesday. He may rail
    against human rights abuses in Iran, for instance, but he says nothing
    about similar abuses in U.S.-allied countries such as Egypt or Saudi
    Arabia -- a position past presidents have also taken.

    And when it comes to facing shared, even existential challenges, most
    of the rest of the world has banded together to tackle the dangers of
    climate change. But Trump has pulled out of the Paris climate deal and
    did not mention the issue during his speech Tuesday.

    The speech was "full of obvious contradictions on the idea of
    sovereignty as a core principle of American engagement in the world,"
    said Kelly Magsamen, a former U.S. Defense Department official in the
    Obama administration. "On the one hand, it was 'every country for
    itself,' except that we want and need countries to address threats like
    North Korea collectively."

    Stewart Patrick, an U.N. expert with the Council on Foreign Relations,
    added that there is broad international support for sticking to the
    Iran nuclear deal, but in the interests of "national sovereignty,"
    Trump seems likely to walk away -- undercutting goodwill from other

    Still, Patrick added, Trump has a point when he stresses that being
    part of the United Nations does not mean giving up a country's
    sovereignty. "The reception will be largely good internationally -- he's
    not willing to blow up the United Nations," Patrick said.

    Trump's decision not to mention Russia by name in the speech also
    intrigued diplomats and others parsing his words.

    Trump has long said he wants the U.S. to have a better relationship
    with Russia, although he has dismissed U.S. intelligence assessments
    that Russian interference helped him win the presidency. On Tuesday, he
    actually took a veiled shot at Moscow when he spoke of threats to the
    sovereignty of Ukraine.

    Trump also was kept his references to China oblique: He briefly alluded
    to threats to sovereignty in the South China Sea, blasted countries
    that trade with North Korea, and said the U.S. would no longer put up
    with trade practices that treat Americans unfairly.

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