NEW YORK — In his maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump painted a dark vision of a world where every nation stands alone and cooperation is transactional and motivated by self-interest rather than shared values.
Standing before the representatives of the 193 member states of the United Nations, Trump delivered a perfect distillation of his hyper-nationalist America First worldview adapted for the world stage.
“As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first,” Trump said to a round of muted applause.
The centerpiece of Trump’s speech was the idea that every nation is best served by embracing its own independence. “Strong sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny,” he said. He defended the US’s right to push back against the norms of international trade, lamented the costs of immigration on countries, and said that the US has no interest in dictating how other countries should conduct their own affairs.
Trump declared that the key question for the nations of the world today is: “Are we still patriots? Do we love our nations enough to protect their sovereignty and to take ownership of their futures?”
The UN General Assembly is a place where countries come together to try to come up with collective solutions to global problems. Trump’s message was that for the most part, every country is on its own when trying to manage them.
Trump is unconcerned with global cooperation — unless it’s for US security objectives
This isn’t the kind of rhetoric you typically hear from the US in recent years. Last year, for example, President Barack Obama used his UN speech to press for global solutions to the refugee crisis and climate change. “Together, now, we have to open our hearts and do more to help refugees who are desperate for a home,” he said in a typical passage.
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