Millennium Post

Trump thunders 'total destruction'

In his inaugural address to the United Nations, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his 'America First' foreign policy with harsh words and threatened to 'totally destroy' North Korea, if necessary. Not only that, he also rebuked the international nuclear deal with Iran as an embarrassment and strongly indicated to back out of it soon. Calling on the world leaders to join hands in the fight to defeat murderous regimes and 'loser terrorists', he sarcastically referred his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man." Reflecting on the United Nations charter of promoting world peace, Trump affirmed to the room full of diplomats: "Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell. To put it simply, we meet at a time of both of immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair."

The US President further said that the United States has 'great strength and patience', but he emphasised that if forced to defend America or its allies, "No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea as it is responsible for the starvation and deaths of millions of North Koreans and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with the unthinkable loss of human life," he said, adding, "No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea as Kim is on a 'suicide mission for himself and for his regime'." Trump also called repeatedly for all nations to embrace sovereignty and self-reliance at a body founded after World War II on the idea that all countries are stronger when they work together. Returning to a campaign theme and the 'America first' phrase, which has been criticised as isolationist and nationalistic, Trump smartly played his old tune again and said, "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." He also poured disdain on the deal inked by his predecessor, Barack Obama, with other world powers to freeze Iran's nuclear weapons programme in exchange for easing international sanctions. On Iran, Trump called the UN-backed nuclear deal "one of the worst and most one-sided" agreements ever.

Alleging Tehran of violating the spirit of the landmark 2015 accord, through its involvement in support for terrorism and other activities, Trump thundered: "We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilising activities while building dangerous missiles and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The nuclear deal was an 'embarrassment' to the United States and the world has not heard the last of it." And, Trump's words were more than enough to please Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said: "In more than 30 years of my acquaintance with the UN, I have not heard a more courageous and sharp speech." Despite his past criticism of the United Nations — including a 2012 tweet mocking the "cheap" green marble backdrop in the General Assembly hall — Trump extended a hand to fellow leaders and praised those who offered help in the wake of the hurricanes that destroyed areas of Texas, Florida and the US Virgin Islands. Surprisingly, the United States' closest allies in Asia, Japan and South Korea, were silent on Trump's threat to bring a war to their neighbourhood, while China and Russia both warned that Trump risked fueling tensions. While one of the Chinese newspapers ran a cartoon captioned "Bully pulpit" showing Trump holding a megaphone, shouting "America First," the other one wrote in an editorial: "Today's dangerous deadlock has been the result of Pyongyang's and Washington's persistent pursuit of their own interests in disregard of other countries' efforts to persuade the two antagonists to talk." However, South Korean President Moon Jae-in's spokesman pointedly avoided reacting to Trump's "total destruction" line, saying the speech underscored the urgency of dealing with North Korea and that Seoul believed Trump remained committed to peace. In Russia, which has largely defended North Korea's interests although it supported the tightened sanctions, Trump's remarks were seen as a dangerous harbinger of instability. Nonetheless, with his string of bellicose, Trump has delivered a message to both his foes and allies: He is a businessman by training. He wants to raise the bar higher to get a good return. And, he never expects a partner to pay the full cost!

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