In his debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, President Donald Trump left world leaders with a nationalistic message that he will put “America First.” He said members of the U.N. should put their countries first, too.
But the president also called on the International community to establish a *unified front against nuclear weapons threats from countries like North Korea and Iran.” Trump called North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un a “rocket man on a suicide mission,” saying if the U.S. is “forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Trump also said the Iran nuclear deal was “an embarrassment to the U.S.,” saying the country’s government was an “economically depleted, rogue state.”
Joshua Shifrinson, assistant professor at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service specializes in International relations and security studies. He says Trump aimed his remarks at multiple targets.
“This was three speeches in one,” Shifrinseon says. “It started off as an ode to the United Nations…and then transitioned rapidly to a combination of nationalistic fervor that could have been a Trump campaign speech, followed by a little chest-beating as to how amazing the president has been in office in his own estimation.”
Shifrinseon says Trump’s stance on the threat posed by North Korea is unlikely to receive a favorable response from the U.N. audience.
“He’s now made North Korea’s denuclearization the crux of American policy,” Shifrinseon says. “Frankly, I don’t think the international community will respond well to this. The U.S. Has upped its demands and coupled them with threats.”
Shifrinseon says the U.S. has long sought an end to North Korean nuclear testing, but that the president’s threats are what’s new.
“It raises the question in other countries’ minds. Will the U.S. actually go to war to stop nuclear proliferation? And if that happens, what does this mean for my nation,” he says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.