Outside of an oblique reference to a threat to Ukraine's sovereignty, Trump made no mention of Russia
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, September 19, 2017. photo: AP/Richard Drew, photo: AP/Richard Drew
19 of September 2017 12:29:20
UNITED NATIONS – President Donald Trump, in a combative debut speech to the U.N. General Assembly, threatened the "total destruction'" of North Korea if the nation's "Rocket man" leader does not abandon his drive toward nuclear weapons.Trump, who has ramped up his rhetoric throughout the escalating crisis with North Korea, told the murmuring crowd of world leaders on Tuesday that "it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront" Kim Jong Un and said that Kim's "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons" poses a threat to "the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life.""Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," said Trump, using a belittling nickname for the North Korean leader. He said of the U.S.: "If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."
In dark language reminiscent of his "American carnage" inaugural address, Trump touched upon hot spots around the globe, declaring, "The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes." Elected on the nationalist slogan "America First," Trump argued that individual nations should act in their own self-interest, yet rally together when faced with a common threat.He urged nations to join to stop Iran's nuclear program — he declared the deal to restrain it an "embarrassment" for the United States — and defeat "loser terrorists" who have struck violence across the globe. He denounced "radical Islamic terrorism," the inflammatory label he has recently shied away from. He denounced the Syrian government and warned that some violence-plagued portions of the world "are going to hell." He made little mention of Russia.North Korea drew most of Trump's attention and anger.His lashing was a vigorous restatement of what's been said by U.S. leaders before, but was likely to hit home harder for being intensely delivered in diplomatic prime time at the U.N. General Assembly. After a litany of accusations — the starvation of millions, the abduction of a Japanese girl — he questioned the legitimacy of the communist government by referring to it as a "band of criminals."Though he used bellicose rhetoric rare for a U.S. president at the rostrum of the United Nations, the speech was textbook Trump, a stark depiction of good-vs-evil and a broadside against the U.S.'s foes.Trump, who has previously warned of "fire and fury" if Pyongyang does not back down, claimed that "no one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea." And he scolded nations that it was "an outrage" to enable and trade with North Korea, seeming to slight China, though he did not mention it by name.Trump, however, stopped short of calling for regime change, which North Korea regards as the ultimate U.S. intention and treats as a reason for its development of nuclear weapons. That may offer some reassurance to China and Russia, which have urged the U.S. to tone down its rhetoric and restart dialogue with North Korea.Addressing the General Assembly is a milestone moment for any president, but one particularly significant for Trump, a relative newcomer to foreign policy who has at times rattled the international community with his unpredictability. He has pulled the United States out of multinational agreements, considered shrinking the U.S. military footprint in the world and deployed bombastic language on North Korea that has been criticized by other world leaders.
“I think the United Nations has great, great potential,” President Trump says following his first address before the UN General Assembly pic.twitter.com/Q2CJ3jE07x— CNN (@CNN) September 19, 2017
JONATHAN LEMIREDARLENE SUPERVILLE