To compare Donald Trump at the United Nations to a bull in china shop would minimize the self-restraint of the bull.
The president’s visit to this austere group last year gave us such memorable zingers as dubbing the North Korean dictator and fashionista Kim Jung Un “Little Rocket Man,” deriding the Iranian government as a “murderous regime” and calling out world leaders for failing to do their fair share to provide global peace and stability.
It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago that President Trump outlined his “America First” policy agenda to this international audience. The shock of the world leaders was matched only by Trump’s blunt talk. He stated with absolute clarity that he would always act in a way that would put America first, just as he expected other world leaders to do the same for their countries.
Since his last visit to the United Nations, Trump has lived up to that pledge to the delight of some and the horror of others. Promised tariffs have led to trade wars that are increasing prices for U.S. consumers, raising construction and housing costs across the country, and hurting farmers to such a degree that the administration has stepped in with billions of dollars of bailouts.
And what a difference a year makes in Trump’s relationship with Little Rocket Man. After spending a few short hours together, Mr. Kim has gone from terrible to terrific, as Trump now regards the tyrant as a “very honorable” leader. The ensuing photo op and pronouncement that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat could not have been more ridiculous had Dennis Rodman joined them on stage in a wedding dress.
On the upside, Trump’s tough diplomatic and military action against the mass murderer Bashar al-Assad put a stop to the use of chemical weapons against his own people in the ongoing Syrian civil war. That may be a small victory in this horrific genocide, but it was more than Obama was willing to do after he drew his “red line” using invisible ink thereby undermining and diminishing the influence of the U.S. in that part of the world.
And the economy continues its strong growth, both at home and abroad. His critics are loath to credit Trump for any of the economic success, but the truth is his policies of reasonable regulation and low taxes are benefiting Americans as job growth rises and unemployment continues to fall. Current global economic growth is projected at over 3 percent, something many economists said was unrealistic just a short time ago.
So, what can we expect from Trump this week at the United Nations? World leaders will certainly be more prepared for his brash, unconventional style. They will know to take whatever Trump says with a large grain of salt. There will undoubtedly be more talk of America First and how other countries are falling short in their global responsibilities. With a year of work under his belt, there will also be a healthy dose of Trump touting his huge international successes.
In addition to the bravado, there will also be important substance as Trump chairs a Security Council meeting that will focus on Iran specifically and global security generally. As with all things involving Donald Trump, his performance at the United Nations this week is guaranteed to be daytime television at its melodramatic best.