Trump Addresses U.N. General Assembly: We Choose ‘Independence’ Over ‘Global Governance’

• September 25, 2018 12:30 pm


President Donald Trump spoke about globalism and national sovereignty in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, telling the body that "America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination."

"I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live, work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return," Trump said.

The president added that Americans "reject the ideology of globalism and accept the ideology of patriotism."

Trump called out Iran for its destabilizing activities in the Middle East, and its lack of respect for national sovereignty.

"Iran's leaders sow chaos, death and disruption. They do not respect their neighbors, borders or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, they plunder the nation's resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond," he said.

Trump also defended his decision to bring the United States out of "the horrible 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-impose nuclear sanctions."

"The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran's leaders," he said. "In the year since the deal has been reached, the military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen."

The president continued by calling for support to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

"We ask all nations to isolate Iran's regime as long as its aggression continues and we ask all nations to support Iran's people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny," he said.

Trump's speech also brought into sharp relief the difference between now and a year ago in terms of the U.S posture toward North Korea. Last year before the U.N., he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the U.S. had to defend itself, and he dubbed its dictator Kim Jong Un "Little Rocket Man" for his belligerent rhetoric and illicit nuclear program.

Since then, Trump and Kim have met in Singapore, where they pledged to seek denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Trump has said he expects to have another summit with Kim soon, although international watchdogs have stated North Korea hasn't backed off development of its nuclear program.

Trump touted the administration's steps toward peace with North Korea and thanked member states for their assistance; part of getting North Korea to the table was an aggressive, global sanctions regime.

"Since that meeting, we have already seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined, only a short time ago," he said. "The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped. Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released, and as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home."

Trump also said the U.S. would not return to the Human Rights Council without significant reforms and called on the nations of the world to resist socialism and the "misery" it brings, citing the Venezuela crisis and hardline, left-wing government of Nicolas Maduro.