Monday, September 18, 2017 at 8:21 AM

Trump at UN General Assembly like Obama at KKK Rally

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

I have been ridiculing this Annual Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly for years.

A case in point is the following excerpt from “World Leaders Blow Hot Air at UN Confab…,” September 26, 2007.

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Today, President George W. Bush of the United States and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran joined the queue of world leaders delivering canned speeches. … None of them said anything of any consequence (Do they ever?).

But the dirty UN secret is that most world leaders treat this annual event as little more than an invitation to wine and dine their wives – who spend their days shopping along Fifth Avenue – all at their taxpayers’ expense. Nonetheless, I’d be remiss not to comment.

I am mindful, however, that it would be a Sisyphean endeavor to try to separate the wheat from the chaff amongst the speeches emanating from this veritable Tower of Babel, which masquerades as a forum for international dispute resolution.

Therefore, I shall suffice to reprise my commentary from last year. Because the 2006 annual meeting was suffused with such political drama, saber rattling, and outright buffoonery, the hackneyed speeches hardly mattered. And most of the histrionics was courtesy of Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuelan – who didn’t even bother to attend this year.

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Remarkably, this annual meeting will surpass 2006’s with respect to political drama, saber rattling, and outright buffoonery. And most of the histrionics will be courtesy of Donald J. Trump, president of the United States.

He is scheduled to deliver his first UN address tomorrow. That is reason enough to comment. This, after all, is the “America-First” president who is on record ranting and raving about defunding the UN; that is, when he wasn’t ranting and raving about it being even more useless than NATO.

The utter weakness and incompetence … the United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom. … It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as we all know, it has its home.

(The Hill, March 21, 2016)

Such baseless criticism, coupled with his notorious record of lies, flip-flops, and misrepresentations, is why nobody has any reason to believe or rely on anything he says. Actually, the only newsworthy thing about his address will be the extent to which the lack of fawning applause flusters him. Frankly, given the utter contempt he has shown for the UN and all who work there, Trump will be lucky if he’s not booed from the podium.

Apropos of which, political junkies like me will tune in just to see how many delegates follow the time-honored protocol of walking out on odious speakers. After all, his audience on this occasion will be wary world leaders and seasoned diplomats (mostly filled with loathing), not gullible supporters (all filled with adoration), which he’s accustomed to.

Trump’s address will also have the dubious distinction of emitting more hot air than those Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, or Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi famously emitted.

For he is bound to spend most of it venting petty grievances, making hollow threats, and hurling trademark insults; that is, when he’s not hedging or eating his words about withdrawing the United States from international agreements – like the Paris Climate Change Accord, Iran Nuclear Deal, NAFTA, and TPP – all in a vain attempt to get the applause he always covets.

Say what you will about Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s “Rocket Man,” at least he has the decency to toot his flatulent rhetoric from his hermit throne, instead of letting it rip from the world stage at the UN General Assembly.

But, trust me, 99 percent of the delegates will see Trump as a bullying, delusional, dissembling, hypocritical, ignorant, incompetent, juvenile, narcissistic, (etc.) buffoon. And the way he has been dealing with North Korea is just one of the many reasons they’ll be justified in doing so.

Thanks to leaks from Trump’s White House, the entire world now knows Obama warned him that North Korea’s nuclear program poses a clear and present danger, which the United States must deal with as a matter of life and death. Yet the first thing Trump did as president was to make a public show of begging, brown-nosing, and then badgering China to protect the United States from North Korea.

(Republicans spent eight years trying to tag baseless criticism on Obama for “leading from behind.” The irony cannot be lost even on them that Trump is finally giving their criticism true meaning.)

But Trump finally realized what was always plain for all to see, namely that Chinese President Xi Jinping was playing him for a fool with empty promises to keep Jong-un in check. Which, of course, was easy to do because this US president is as susceptible to idle flattery as an ugly teenage girl. Xi was the first foreign leader to exploit that insecurity. Others have been queuing up ever since to do the same.

None has been more shameless in this respect than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has been trying for decades to get a gullible US president to engage in a military confrontation with Israel’s regional nemesis, Iran. But Netanyahu can be forgiven for thinking that, at long last, he has found in Trump the bomb-throwing Sugar Daddy of his dreams.

In any event, thusly played by Xi, Trump began boasting that the United States will “handle” North Korea alone. Except that his superpower resolve amounted to nothing more than exchanging loony threats with Jong-un about nuking each other’s country. Indeed, nothing damns his handling of the existential menace North Korea poses quite like everything he says about it being every bit as reckless and preposterous as everything Jong-un says.

Now Trump is asking the UN to do what he began his presidency asking China to do, namely to protect the rich and powerful United States from a poor and hapless North Korea. This, despite also slamming the UN as a sponger organization (like NATO) that has never settled anything – as reported in the April 2, 2016, edition of the New York Times.

His Art of the Deal seems to involve battering people with insults then demanding concessions from them. Which is why members of his own political party have been loath to work with him. World leaders will be forgiven for being even more so.

Meanwhile, Trump is showing up at the UN with his tail between his legs, thanks to this hollow threat:

North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen … he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.

(CNN, August 9, 2017)

Unsurprisingly, Lil Kim called this wannabe strongman’s bluff, repeatedly, including just days ago:

North Korea threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Japan and turn the US into ‘ashes and darkness’ for passing fresh United Nations sanctions earlier this week — fiery rhetoric that is likely to exacerbate tensions in North Asia. …

‘Now is the time to annihilate the US imperialist aggressors.’

(National Post of Canada, September 14, 2017)

Even worse, North Korea test-launched three ballistic missiles just to show that its nukes can reach US territory. In doing so, Jong-un not only showed menacing contempt for Trump’s “red line,” but humiliated him like no foreign leader has ever humiliated any president in US history.

Yet, instead of the “fire and fury” he threatened, Trump retaliated with nothing but pouts and insults. Weak!

Incidentally, Trump thought it made sense to mock Jong-un as “Rocket Man” in a tweet yesterday (as his rockets are menacing the world). But this makes about as much sense as FDR mocking Hitler as Panzer Man in the late 1930s (as his panzers were bulldozing through Europe). Idiot!

His blowhard and feckless handling of North Korea would be laughable if it were not so dangerous. But, again, it is just one of many reasons why delegates to this General Assembly will greet Trump like an emperor wearing no clothes.

For the record, I am convinced that the resolution I proffered in “North Korea to The World: Nuke Off!” December 13, 2012, remains the best way to deal with the menace it poses. All else is folly.

Enjoy the spectacle! It gets underway in NYC today …

Related commentaries:
UN confab
North Korea
NK to world

UPDATE

September 20

If you watched his flurry of Trumpian tweets masquerading as a presidential address, you will understand my impulse to say I told you so. All the same, I’d be remiss not to share a little of what others are saying.

President Donald Trump delivered Tuesday a doomsday warning to North Korea [warning the US ‘will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea’] and mocked its young leader [calling him ‘Rocket Man’], a pugnacious escalation in rhetoric in a wide-ranging debut address to the United Nations, the world’s foremost diplomatic body. …

Throughout his address—the most closely watched foreign policy remarks of his presidency—Trump brought frank assessments to a range of sticky global flashpoints. …

Among the hundreds of diplomats assembled to watch his speech, reaction was largely muted [with] only bemused murmurs for his bellicose threats toward North Korea.

(CNN, September 19, 2017)

Republicans are all over TV cheering Trump’s speech as a historic triumph. But all you need to know is that they are the same nutters who cheered as he insulted and blustered his way to the presidency of the United States. Unfortunately, they (and he) seem to think he can rule the world the way he ran his presidential campaign.

Apropos of this, the media are making much ado about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goading, Iago-like praise. Notably, he hailed Trump’s address as the boldest, most courageous, and most forthright he has heard at this assembly in his 30-year career.

Never mind that one would’ve been able to say the same if North Korean President Kim Jong-un also had the undiplomatic gall to spew at fellow world leaders the same red meat he spews at rabid political supporters. For the record, though, here is what has always guided Netanyahu’s antic courting of US presidents, especially Republican ones:

Netanyahu seems to think Israel can get by with a little help from its friends — even if those friends compose just the small faction of Christian fundamentalists and neo-cons on the lunatic fringe of US Republican Party.

(“Netanyahu’s Call for Jewish Exodus more Sharpton than Moses,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 23, 2015)

It is also noteworthy that Iranian President Rouhani punctuated his address with all kinds of references to and praises of democratic values, so much so that he sounded more like the leader of a democratic country than either Trump or Netanyahu.

I titled a January 6 commentary “Trump Is Trump, Intelligence Is Intelligence, and Never the Twain Shall Meet.” That pretty much sums up my take on his address. But perhaps Lawrence O’Donnell summed it up best when he described it as meandering “from the vulgar to a muddy puddle of incoherence.” He did it, appropriately enough, on The Last Word, his nightly talk show on MSNBC.

That said, I will end with this for those who tuned in to see who walks out:

Some representatives even refused to listen to the speech; North Korea’s UN ambassador walked out before Mr. Trump arrived, leaving a more junior diplomat to represent the country.

(London Independent, September 19, 2017)

Stephen King’s It, which features an evil clown named Pennywise, just became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. Evidently, like audiences watching it, delegates were too transfixed to take their eyes off Trump, let alone walk out on him.

Related commentaries:
UN confab
Netanyahu
Trump at UN

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