By Helen Witte
On Sept. 19, President Trump addressed the United Nations (UN) for the first time at the UN General Assembly. The world was waiting for what he would say, since he has stated that he wanted the U.S. to become less involved in the UN’s affairs. His discussion of the situations in North Korea and Iran was also of interest. The public was not disappointed.
Trump’s speech, as published by The New York Times, mentioned that the UN was formed so countries could cooperate to protect themselves and others. However, Trump emphasized, “Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights and to defend their values.” He urged all of the countries to put their needs ahead of the greater good. He later made it clear that while the U.S. will still be involved with the UN, he wanted to make sure that America benefits from those deals.
The other key points in his speech were in response to the threats from Iran and North Korea. According to Politico, Trump stated that the UN should take action against Iran, being a state that is “building dangerous missiles” and “support[s] terrorists”. He also mentioned pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. According to The Telegraph, this deal, signed by President Obama, forced Iran to sacrifice more than half of its ability to make uranium, which is used to make nuclear weapons. Trump’s willingness to pull out of the deal has caused confusion among the public and his administration.
In regards to North Korea, Trump stated, “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.” This statement sparked outrage throughout the world. According to The Boston Globe, North Korea took this statement as a sign of provoking war. When the U.S. Air Force flew over to the demilitarized zone of North Korea on Saturday, Sept. 23, North Korea stated that it was within their right to shoot down the U.S. war plane in response to Trump’s speech.
Simmons freshman, Halle Jeremie, believes that Trump’s UN speech will have a negative impact on the U.S. “It seems as if Trump is doing his best to isolate America from the rest of the world. I say this because taking such a harsh stance in the global political arena will give these unstable states a reason to attack America and also paint America as an aggressor in the eyes of the civilized world,” she said.
Trump’s speech will likely impact the discourse of the UN for the next few months and may provoke unintended actions upon the U.S.