How an isolated Trump insulted allies and dismissed the world China: election meddling claim ‘totally far-fetched’
For a meeting of diplomats, there was little diplomacy to be seen on either side at the United Nations, write
President Donald Trump arrived at the United Nations this week looking to rally global support against Iran and show that his policies on North Korea were lowering the risk of nuclear war.
By Thursday, he made clear he didn’t care whether he persuaded anyone.
“It doesn’t matter what world leaders think on Iran,” he said after absorbing criticism from America’s allies up close, insisting that “Iran’s going to come back to me and make a deal”.
The comment was emblematic of Trump’s entire approach at a meeting many world leaders use to help narrow divides, not widen them. After doubling down on his “America First” approach, with its insistence on national sovereignty and rejection of globalism, he’ll leave New York this week with allies and adversaries as frustrated as ever with the US over issues from trade to climate change to Iran’s nuclear program.
For a meeting of diplomats, there was little diplomacy to be seen on either side.
The pushback on Trump and his approach to foreign policy started during his speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, when a murmur of laughter greeted the president’s claim that his administration had accomplished more than almost any in US history. A day later at a Security Council meeting he hosted, Bolivian President Evo China is flatly denying President Donald Trump’s accusation that it is interfering in November’s midterm elections, implying that it is the United States that has a track record of meddling in other countries’ business.
With an acrimonious trade dispute and an increasingly fractious security environment, the latest tit-for-tat could worsen the relationship between the world’s largest economies.
“I believe the international community knows very well who is most used to meddling in the internal affairs of others,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told Morales, who has longstanding anti-American sentiments, insulted the US to Trump’s face, saying America had no interest in upholding democracy.
More surprising was the chiding from allies.
In a reference to Trump’s rebuke of alliances and multilateral institutions, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that delivering for citizens at home “does not have to be at the expense of global cooperation”. French President Emmanuel Macron disputed Trump’s claim that ties with France were “99 per cent good”, saying “the disagreements are known and they are more than 1 per cent”, citing a divergence over issues including climate change and Iran.
“It’s never been like this before,” said Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Egypt and Israel under President George W Bush who’s now a professor at Princeton. “US policy always has engendered opposition from allies — Germany and France during reporters. He did not name the United States but was responding to a question about Trump’s claim Beijing was trying to influence the midterms.
“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president to ever challenge China on trade,” Trump said at a UN Security Council meeting, “and we are winning on trade — we are winning on every level”.
But the President and his top aides offered no evidence to support the contention that China was meddling.
Trump’s ire appeared sparked by a four-page supplement that the an Englishlanguage the 2003 invasion of Iraq — but what’s new is the derision.”
No one was in a bridge-building mood. With US-China trade tensions only getting worse, Trump suggested his much-touted friendship with President Xi Jinping was coming to an end, and accused Beijing of interfering in the upcoming US midterm elections.
Chinese officials angrily rejected the accusations yesterday, saying the US was “smearing” their country.
Almost as glaring was the mini-drama that unfurled at a luncheon for leaders on Wednesday, when cameras caught the president ignoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempt to say hello. Trump then curtly shook his hand but would not get up from his seat as he did for other leaders.
Trump later said at a freewheeling press conference on Thursday that he rejected Trudeau’s request for a one-onone meeting, saying “Canada has The world loathes what Trump says, but they pay deep attention to the new credible threats of economic and military coercion. publication owned by the Chinese government, bought in the
Asked about the newspaper ads, Geng said the idea that they amounted to election interference was “totally farfetched and fictional”.
“We advise the US side to stop its unwarranted accusations and slander against China and refrain from wrong words and deeds that might hurt our bilateral relations and fundamental interests.”
Iowa was the perfect target for China for a number of reasons. For one, its status as the first state to vote during presidential primary season gives it outsize influence over the electoral process. Second, it has a special status in the bilateral relationship. Long before he became China’s president, Xi travelled to Iowa, to learn about agriculture. Third, Iowa, a major grower of soy beans and producer of pork, stands to suffer greatly from an extended trade war.
The Iowa governor’s race is close. The latest polls suggest that Fred Hubbell, the Democratic candidate has an edge over incumbent Republican, Kim Reynolds. treated us very badly”. Trudeau’s office later said he had never sought a meeting. “Lashing out at the Canadians in highly personal terms was diplomatic carnage,” said Richard Gowan, a senior fellow at the United Nations University’s Center for Policy Research. Gowan called Trump’s more than hour-long press conference “a steaming hot mess”. Trump and his team believe they can afford to be dismissive. Iran’s economy has been pinched by US sanctions that he vows will only get tougher. Trump said his outreach to North Korea helped stave off a nuclear war that looked imminent when he came to office. If Canada doesn’t back down on dairy tariffs, Trump argued, he’ll just tax cars imported from the north.
“The world loathes what Trump says, but they pay deep attention to the new credible threats of economic and military coercion,” said Charles Lipson, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago. “Trump sees the old international order as fundamentally unsustainable.”
As the week went on, domestic politics proved to be increasingly distracting, with stories about his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh crowding Trump’s foreign policy agenda out of the headlines.
That led to some awkward moments. Most glaring was during the opening of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when he accused Democrats of “bringing people out of the woods” to smear Kavanaugh.
“They can do that to anybody, they can to it to anybody,” Trump said as he sat next to Abe.
“Other than perhaps Prime Minister Abe because he’s so pure.”
As his UN trip wound down, Trump declined to acknowledge the distress he appeared to have left in his wake. Asked about the laughter that greeted the opening of his General Assembly speech, the US president said the audience was laughing with him, not at him.
“We had fun,” Trump said. “People had a good time with me.”
Bloomberg’s Robert Hutton and Gregory Viscusi contributed.