What will be the impact of Trump's UN speech?

In his first speech to the UN General Assembly, Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea and championed a global order based on "strong sovereign nations". The reactions of journalists in and outside Europe to this unusual speech before a body whose objective is to promote peaceful cooperation range from anger to delight.

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Fox News (US) / 19 September 2017

US president was convincing

The speech won't fail to have the desired effect on domestic and foreign policy, Fox News' editor-in-chief John Moody writes on the channel's blog:

“This was a president of the people ... speaking for the people. His speech will be criticized by some as hawkish. So what? Trump has shown that while he's open to deal-making, he can also resort to force, as he did in Syria. His speech is likely to restore the faith and enthusiasm of his base supporters, and give other world leaders a better indication of who this strange, unconventional president - with the world's greatest armed forces behind him - really is.”

China Daily (CN) / 20 September 2017

Threats make situation even more volatile

Trump's speech was anything but constructive diplomacy, China Daily admonishes:

“Trump called 'rogue nations' the 'scourge of our planet' and called on the UN to further isolate the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But today's dangerous deadlock has been the result of Pyongyang's and Washington's persistent pursuit of their own interests in disregard of other countries' efforts to persuade the two antagonists to talk. His threat to 'totally destroy' the DPRK if need be will, therefore, likely worsen the already volatile situation. ... In this time of 'immense promise and great peril', Trump would have been better reflecting on how the US can more constructively engage with other countries, not just those that are willing to follow its lead.”

Vzglyad (RU) / 21 September 2017

A thriving world of sovereign states?

For the online portal Vzglyad Trump's speech was a rejection of globalisation:

“Trump has a clear concept of a new world order. ... It is a world order that has nothing to do with globalisation, and here Trump remains true to himself. He opposes globalisation and wants to give America back the national sovereignty it has lost. And he's offering the same thing to other states: become strong, let's build a secure and thriving world of sovereign states. Trump wants to reconstruct American leadership on the foundation of new principles: America should no longer be the vanguard of globalisation, leading the world to a golden future with the help of its military, Hollywood and the dollar. Instead, as the strongest world power it should protect the interests of other sovereign states against their regional foes. That is, against Iran, China, and Russia.”

De Volkskrant (NL) / 21 September 2017

International nationalism à la Trump

The nationalism of the Trump slogan America first is extremely dangerous when applied at the level of international politics, De Volkskrant warns:

“The keyword Trump kept on repeating was 'sovereignty'. He interprets this term as meaning that you shouldn't impose your own values on other countries. For undemocratic countries this was no doubt music to their ears. Even if Trump's appeal is hardly compatible with his threat to take action against the Venezuelan government because it is oppressing its people. ... Trump's international nationalism is a recipe for the disintegration of the international legal framework. It is a blueprint for a world in which everyone does as they please.”

Gândul (RO) / 19 September 2017

US president a threat to mankind

Gândul is shocked by Trump's speech to the UN General Assembly:

“Threatening to 'totally destroy' a country - even if that country is North Korea - is frightening. All the more so when the threat comes from the president of one of the world's most powerful military - and nuclear - powers, and when this threat is made at the UN of all places, an organisation whose task is to seek political and diplomatic solutions. The fact that the leader of the White House has now taken his Twitter-diplomacy to the level of the UN is profoundly dismaying. It is becoming increasingly clear that this man urgently needs help. Donald J. Trump, who brandishes the threat of nuclear destruction, is not only a threat for the country he wants to wipe off the face of the earth, but for all of mankind.”

Libération (FR) / 19 September 2017

A break with all tradition

Libération also sees a paradigm shift in US foreign policy:

“The US's nuclear weapons doctrine may provide for a deadly response in the event of an attack against the vital interests of the US or its allies. Nevertheless it is the wise tradition in conflicts between nuclear nations, these 'games on the cliff edge', to choose one's words carefully and avoid inopportune escalation. It was thanks to his skilled choice of words, for example, that John F. Kennedy managed to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. With a single thundering sentence Trump has tossed overboard the entire tradition of strategic - and verbal - restraint.”

Politiken (DK) / 20 September 2017

Destructive outbursts instead of global leadership

Politiken also has nothing but criticism for the US president's first address to the UN General Assembly:

“All those who still hoped that Donald Trump could be better than his reputation were in for a rude awakening during his 41-minute maiden speech at the UN General Assembly. What we saw was a president who preferred threats and insults to reconciliation and vision. With his words Trump underscored the changes that have taken place in American foreign and security policy in just one year: from vision to destruction. ... And the climate? As one hurricane after the next wreaks havoc on the US's doorstep, Trump paid no more than lip service to global climate change. ... By the looks of it, after decades of global leadership the US will now lurch from one destructive mistake to the next.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) / 20 September 2017

As aggressive as in his campaign

The US president's speech made his way of thinking crystal clear once more, Tages-Anzeiger concludes:

“Trump is not an ideologist, he made no mention of human rights or American values as presidents before him did. It's every man for himself, Trump believes; everyone should do what they want within their own borders. But those who don't stick to that pay a price. Donald Trump's speech was a speech to his Republican base: undiplomatic, loud, aggressive. That's how he won the elections in the US, and that's how he'll continue to govern. Whether he will be able to convince the international community with these words, however, is questionable. The representatives of the 193 UN countries kept raising their eyebrows. They'll have to get used to Trump's tone.”

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