At UN, Trump at­tacks glob­al­ism, Iran

Pres­i­dent also takes aim at Venezuela, China and so­cial­ism

The Morning Call - - NATION & WORLD - By Jonathan Lemire, Deb Riechmann and Matthew Lee

UNITED NA­TIONS — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stood be­fore the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly on Tues­day and re­jected glob­al­ism and lib­eral im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies while ex­hort­ing the world to act against Iran’s “blood­lust.” His speech be­fore world lead­ers had to com­pete with news from Washington of a grow­ing move­ment by Democrats to im­peach him.

Trump took aim at China, Venezuela and what he called a “grow­ing cot­tage in­dus­try” of rad­i­cal ac­tivists in­tent on push­ing for open bor­ders that harm na­tional se­cu­rity and sovereignt­y. In a later meet­ing with Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son, he fended off fresh ques­tions from re­porters about his at­tempts to press Ukraine’s pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate the fam­ily of po­lit­i­cal ri­val Joe Bi­den.

As he ad­dressed the Gen­eral Assem­bly, Trump lam­basted the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion for giv­ing China pref­er­en­tial treat­ment that he said was un­de­served. He slammed so­cial­ism for bring­ing ruin to Venezuela. But he re­served much of his ire for Iran, which he called “one of the great­est threats” to the planet.

“Not only is Iran the world’s largest state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism, but Iran’s lead­ers are fu­el­ing the tragic wars in both Syria and Ye­men,” Trump told world lead­ers. “All na­tions have a duty to act. No re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment should sub­si­dize Iran’s blood­lust.”

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s hard-line Iran pol­icy got a boost Mon­day from Bri­tain, France and Ger­many, which blamed Iran for an at­tack on Saudi oil fa­cil­i­ties ear­lier this month and said the time had come to ne­go­ti­ate a new deal with Tehran to re­place the land­mark 2015 nu­clear ac­cord from which Trump with­drew last year.

U.S. of­fi­cials said they hope the new Euro­pean stance would gal­va­nize op­po­si­tion to Iran and boost the “max­i­mum pres­sure” cam­paign that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has pur­sued by in­creas­ing sanc­tions on the Is­lamic Repub­lic. There had been spec­u­la­tion, fu­eled by Trump him­self, that he might meet in New York with Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani, but of­fi­cials said that prospect was in­creas­ingly un­likely, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the joint state­ment from Bri­tain, France and Ger­many.

Trump did, how­ever, raise the pos­si­bil­ity of a diplo­matic break­through, say­ing, “The United States has never be­lieved in per­ma­nent en­e­mies. We want part­ners, not ad­ver­saries.”

But mostly the pres­i­dent im­plored the world’s lead­ers to pri­or­i­tize their own na­tions, with strong bor­ders and one-onone trade deals, re­ject­ing transna­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions and al­liances.

“The fu­ture does not be­long to glob­al­ists. The fu­ture be­longs to pa­tri­ots. The fu­ture be­longs to strong, in­de­pen­dent na­tions,” Trump told a mur­mur­ing crowd at the Gen­eral Assem­bly. “Glob­al­ism ex­erted a re­li­gious pull over past lead­ers, caus­ing them to ig­nore their own na­tional in­ter­ests. Those days are over.”

Trump’s speech was greeted with tepid ap­plause from the world lead­ers. A sharp con­trast to his fiery rally speeches, Trump on Tues­day adopted a more somber de­meanor. He grasped the lectern through­out his ad­dress, his voice at times so soft it would have been hard to hear with­out mi­cro­phones. For an ex­tended stretch, Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wil­bur Ross sat in the au­di­ence with his eyes closed, ap­pear­ing asleep.

Though de­nounc­ing Iran’s ag­gres­sion, Trump did not ex­plic­itly blame Tehran for re­cent strikes against oil fa­cil­i­ties in Saudi Ara­bia.

Trump urged Tehran to fol­low the ex­am­ple set by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, even though the au­to­crat con­tin­ues to hold a tight grip on his nu­clear weapons.

Trump, who has met with Kim for a pair of sum­mits and a his­toric step into North Korea, said this week that an­other meet­ing “could hap­pen soon.” He pro­vided few de­tails, and it wasn’t clear what of­fi­cials were do­ing be­hind the scenes to set up a meet­ing to break the diplo­matic im­passe.

“While any­one can make war, only the most coura­geous can choose peace,” said Trump, prais­ing Kim.

He also de­liv­ered a bel­li­cose warn­ing to Venezuela. He de­nounced the gov­ern­ment of Ni­co­las Maduro and de­clared that he awaited the day “when Venezuela will be free and when lib­erty will pre­vail through­out this hemi­sphere.” He called so­cial­ism “the wrecker of na­tions” and “de­stroyer of so­ci­eties.”

As al­ways, the po­lit­i­cal re­al­i­ties at home were never far from Trump’s mind.

He un­der­scored the need for a fair trade deal with China, threat­en­ing more tar­iffs even as the on­go­ing dis­pute has rat­tled mar­kets and en­dan­gered the do­mes­tic eco­nomic suc­cess on which Trump has banked his re­elec­tion hopes. And link­ing sovereignt­y to strong bor­ders, Trump touted a hawk­ish im­mi­gra­tion world­view pop­u­lar with his con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal base while chastis­ing other gov­ern­ments for not do­ing their part.

“One of our most crit­i­cal chal­lenges is il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” Trump said. He de­cried “rad­i­cal ac­tivists” who “en­cour­age il­le­gal mi­gra­tion,” declar­ing that their poli­cies are “not just. Your poli­cies are cruel and evil.”

But Trump made no men­tion of the cen­ter­piece is­sue of this year’s Gen­eral Assem­bly: cli­mate change. On Mon­day, he made only a 15-minute cameo at a global cli­mate change meet­ing and later mocked 16-year-old ac­tivist Greta Thunberg, who had scolded the au­di­ence at the cli­mate sum­mit.

Trump tweeted: “She seems like a very happy young girl look­ing for­ward to a bright and won­der­ful fu­ture. So nice to see!”

DREW ANGERER/GETTY

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ad­dresses world lead­ers Tues­day at the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York City.

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