Trump Hammers UN Apathy and Amorality
What a shame that the NFL controversy over the national anthem drowned out what should have been President Donald Trump’s shining moment on the world stage — as he delivered one of the most powerful speeches on foreign policy that the famously amoral body has ever heard.
Last week, the world’s leaders gathered for the 72nd United Nations General Assembly session. What they and millions of onlookers around the globe were waiting to see was what the famously outspoken president of the United States would say in his first address at the United Nations. What they got was a brilliant and decisively moral speech emphasizing how the United States would no longer tolerate the belligerency of rogue nations.
In the run-up to the speech, multiple diplomatic crises had converged in a frightening fit of concurrent escalation. North Korea was upping the stakes in a nuclear game of chicken with the United States, conducting its 15th illegal missile test this year — this time, firing a rocket right over Japan. Twelve days prior Pyongyang tested what appeared to be a hydrogen bomb, invoking a new wave of UN sanctions. And all this was before Kim Jong-un referred to Trump as “a mentally deranged US dotard,” causing people all over the internet to look up the meaning of dotard.
Meanwhile, the world’s other nuclear menace, Iran, seemed to be charting its own crash course with the United States — one that, though subtler, is just as dangerous. Less than two years into the disastrous nuclear deal signed by former President Barack Obama, Iran already seems to be violating its barely-extant side of the agreement. Israeli intelligence officials have reportedly learned that international IAEA inspectors were into a critical Iranian military installation and didn’t bother trying to enter a number of other sites of suspected nuclear research and development. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump that Iran had “violated so many different elements” of the deal that the US would no longer “stand for what [the Iranians are] doing.”
With a deadline for Iranian sanctions relief coming up this October, many had come to believe that Trump might just scrap what he called “the worst deal ever.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani just a few days ago with the not so veiled threat that Iran would “react swiftly” to an American cancellation of the deal. Apparently trying to intimidate the United States, Rouhani added that “if the US wants to increase the tensions, it will see the reaction from Iran.”
Trump offered a speech of crystal-clear moral clarity, one composed of words that were unequivocal in their denunciation of the world’s most evil regimes — though he promised not to violate the sovereignty of other states.
In some of the strongest terms available to a head of state, Trump went after what he called “the scourge of our planet” — the regimes in North Korea and Iran. These regimes, he appropriately pointed out, “violate every principle on which the United Nations is based,” respecting “neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.”
North Korea is a country that has brutalized its citizens, starving them for years, while diverting resources to the country’s military and nuclear program — a nuclear program that as Trump pointed out, “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life.” Trump said that if forced to defend itself or its allies, America would “be left with no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
“Rocket man” and his “band of criminals,” he said, were embarking not on a quest for nuclear power, but rather a “suicide mission.”
Trump would later be criticized for engaging in a war of words with Kim. But it was a relief to finally hear a head of state speak with candor about the evil that the North Korean government represents, and the extreme dangers of allowing rogue regimes to acquire nuclear weapons.
Iran, too, was finally called out by the American president as an “economically depleted rogue-state” whose financial woes were best explained by the fact that their “chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.” He was referring of course to the blind-to-blood murderers that the Iranians fund in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and — to the most horrific effect — Syria. He did not, however, criticize Russia for its efforts in Syria. Beyond being the greatest destabilizing force in the Middle East, of course, Iran is also hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear weapon.
In addition, Iran not only suppresses its citizens’ freedoms, but actually kills them in the streets, as the world witnessed in the 2009 Green Revolution. Our president made it clear that the American people would not be fooled by the “murderous” regime’s “false guise of democracy.” Trump, instead, said that their regime was a “corrupt dictatorship.”
Trump then turned to the Iran nuclear deal. Again, he chose to unmask it for the farce that it is, calling it “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” and, more succinctly, an “embarrassment to the United States.” He threatened that with a recertification deadline less than a month away, “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.”
The denunciations of rogue states is rare to nonexistent in the halls of the UN. The United Nations has embarrassed itself as it has repeatedly morally equivocated when it comes to brutal governments and terrorists regimes. Trump upended the UN’s pathetic apathy. He made it clear that overall support from the United States to the UN would be dependent on the UN chartering a new course, hopefully one where terror-funding “rogue nations” like Iran, and not democracies like Israel, become the target of the UN’s wrath.
In Trump’s own words, “If the righteous many don’t confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.”
I watched as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel praised Trump’s speech as the boldest that he had ever heard at the UN. As a Jew, I felt gratitude. As an American, I felt pride.
The need for leaders to identify and confront evil was epitomized by Winston Churchill, when he stood atop his own historical podium in the bleakest moments of World War II. There, he stared down the evil of Nazism as he delivered his famous “Fight Them on the Beaches” speech, following the Dunkirk evacuation. He spoke without ambiguity of the existence of true wickedness, calling his German foes “a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.” He told the free world, which was gradually rallying behind him, that even in the face of such a powerful enemy, they dare not abdicate their “duty to defend the world cause to which we have vowed ourselves.”
With leaders from around the globe in New York for a new session of the United Nations, we can only hope that President Trump’s colleagues will follow his bold words and stop criminal regimes before they claim countless more innocent victims.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the founder of the World Values Network and the international best-selling author of 31 books, including, “The Israel Warrior.” Follow him on Twitter .