September 19, 2017
“Sovereign Nations” Is Main Theme Of Trump’s UN Speech
Today the President of the United States Donald Trump spoke (rush transcript) to the United Nations General Assembly.
The speech’s main theme was sovereignty. The word occurs 18(!) times. It emphasized Westphalian principles.
[W]e do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.
All leaders of countries should always put their countries first, he said, and “the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.”
The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 – bigger
Sovereignty was the core message of his speech. It rhymed well with his somewhat isolationist emphasis of “America first” during his campaign.
The second part of the speech the first by threatened the sovereignty of several countries the U.S. ruling class traditionally dislikes.
This year’s “axis of evil” included North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Syria and Cuba:
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 is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”
Many people will criticize that as an outrageous and irresponsible use of words. It is.
President Barack Obama delivered a stern warning to North Korea on Tuesday, reminding its “erratic” and “irresponsible” leader that America’s nuclear arsenal could “destroy” his country.
The South Korean military sounds equally belligerent:
A military source told the Yonhap news agency every part of Pyongyang “will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosives shells”. … The city, the source said, “will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map”.
Trump labeled the Syrian government “the criminal regime of Bashar al Assad.” The “problem in Venezuela”, he said, is “that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” He called Iran “an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violent, bloodshed and chaos.” He forgot to mention pistachios.
The aim of such language and threats is usually to goad the other party into some overt act that can than be used as justification for “retaliation”. But none of the countries Trump mentioned is prone to such behavior. They will react calmly – if at all.
There was essentially nothing in Trump’s threats than the claptrap the last two U.S. presidents also delivered. Trump may be crazy, but the speech today is not a sign of that.
The stressing of sovereignty and the nation state in part one was the point where Trump indeed differed from his interventionist predecessors.
But its still difficult to judge if that it is something he genuinely believes in.