Trump shocks with belligerent words at UN
President Donald Trump visited the United Nations last week at a tense time for the nations of the world. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has recently demonstrated his ability to fire long range ballistic missiles as far as Japan, and has successfully tested high-yield nuclear weapons. The rogue state has for decades threatened to destroy the United States in a nuclear firestorm, but until now, has not possessed the means to do so. Trump responded to these provocations in August with threats to deliver “fire and fury” to the people of North Korea, and has stated that military options for dealing with the country are “locked and loaded.”
It was unclear at first what Trump’s angle would be when he arrived at the UN. Would he continue the belligerent threats he had been making in August? This seemed unlikely, as Trump’s team at the White House has mostly purged the figures within it (including Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was known for his combative nationalist views on foreign policy; and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who held rabid anti-Muslim views and a neoconservative opposition to tyranny) who were responsible for Trump’s more controversial speeches, including his speech invoking the defense of “western culture” which he made in Poland this summer.
When he took the stand in the General Assembly on Monday, Sept. 18, however, he made it known quickly that even though the generals were now in charge at the White House, the old “America First” Trump was not quite gone yet. During his speech, he ferociously attacked North Korea, claiming that “Rocket Man” (Kim Jong-un, by way of Elton John) was on a “suicide mission,” further elaborating by saying he would “completely destroy” the East Asian country, while the North Korean delegate sat stoically listening to his words through his UN headphones. More surprisingly, he attacked the Iran Nuclear Deal, decrying it as one of the “worst and most one sided transactions.”
These remarks provoked a curt reply from the North Korean government, which now-famously included a description of Trump as a “dotard” but more importantly contained some of the most strongly worded direct threats of nuclear war the North Korean government has ever given to the United States. Trump’s foreign policy engagements at the UN did not end with his speech there. He also met with several leaders of African countries, and in a tweet about the event, misspelled the country of Namibia as “Nambia,” prompting ridicule from Namibian citizens on Twitter and elsewhere.