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With Combative Style and Epithets, Trump Takes America First to the UN

September 20,2017 01:09

UNITED NATIONS — President Trump brought the same confrontational style of leadership he has used at home to the world's most prominent stage on Tuesday as he vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States and denounced the ...

President Trump dropped an apocalyptic warning on North Korea in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, telling diplomats from 193 nations that the U.S. is ready to “totally destroy” Kim Jong Un’s nation if necessary.
“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,” he said.
Trump then invoked the new nickname he introduced for Kim on Twitter days ago.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said about Kim.
Trump tells UN that US is ready to 'totally destroy' North Korea
“The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary.”
Trump called on all other nations to diplomatically and economically isolate North Korea until Kim contains his hostility.

President Trump addressing the UN General Assembly.
(SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS)
This was Trump’s most ominous warning yet to North Korea, which has traded threats of mass destruction with the U.S. since Trump took office. After Kim ramped up his country’s nuclear and long-range missile tests, Trump warned of “fire and fury” awaiting North Korea if it provoked America. But never before has Trump threatened total destruction of the country.
Trump was expected to single out North Korea in his speech, and North Korea’s UN Ambassador, Ja Song Nam, walked out of the room before Trump took the podium.
North Korea launches missile, threatens to send Japan 'into sea'
In his 40-minute speech, Trump lobbed threats and taunts at America’s adversaries while championing his “America First” campaign on the global stage.
He chastised other nations for leaving the U.S. with an “unfair cost burden” toward the UN, which he said was holding the organization back from accomplishing its diplomatic goals.
“The investment would easily be well worth it,” Trump admonished.

Donald Trump in the White House

“Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell.”
North Korea's internet usage might surprise you
Trump also had stern words for Iran, which he called “an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.”
He hinted at likely U.S. opposition to the 2015 Iran deal, an Obama-era policy that candidate Trump vowed to cancel if elected.
Trump said the deal, which lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for a taming of its nuclear weapons program, is “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
“They are building dangerous missiles and we cannot abide by the agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of the nuclear program,” Trump said, drawing applause from the assembly. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States. And I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

North Korea's Ambassador to the UN, Ja Song Nam, leaves his seat prior to Trump's address. 
(EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS)
But Trump did not, as expected, definitively declare his decision on the deal’s future. Under its terms, Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline for deciding whether the U.S. will continue to honor the agreement.
Trump also condemned the creeping autocratic rule of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has been cracking down on opposition while failing to turn the country around from an unprecedented financial collapse.
Trump said he was ready to “take further action” against Maduro if Venezuela’s democracy continues to crumble, though he did not outline a plan. Trump has previously suggested a “military option” to control Maduro’s strongman rule.
Trump’s tone stood in stark contrast to his non-interventionist rhetoric on the campaign trail, where he played down any intention to meddle in the troubles of foreign governments.
Even with his tough talk about American action, Trump still encouraged other countries to follow the nationalist agenda he advocates.
“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, again earning applause.
Trump’s UN speech sparked wildly divided reactions from political leaders.
“In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a Trump ally, said on Twitter.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called the address “racist and supremacist” and a “return to the Cold War.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told NBC if Trump backed out of the nuclear agreement, “no one will trust America again.”
Former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wasn’t impressed.
“I thought it was very dark, dangerous, not the kind of message that the leader of the greatest nation in the world should be delivering,” she told Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show.”  
With Denis Slattery
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