To all you besuited, bespectacled, and soon-to-be bewildered diplomats slogging around the United Nations General Assembly this week, try to understand this: Donald Trump means every word of what he’s going to tell you. Which is: the United States is done with being blamed for everything that goes wrong in the world, and then paying to fix it.
For decades since the UN’s founding in 1945, ambassadors and their ever-sprawling staffs have lived, eaten and parked at taxpayer expense, enjoying a life far beyond the means most of them could ever hope to afford in their homelands.
The UN has become a symbol of globalist elitism, of willful ignorance about real world conditions. It has passed resolutions condemning Israel for its policies toward Palestinians, while failing to note that Palestinian terror is still an everyday threat to Israelis. It has given lip-service to condemning North Korea’s escalating nuclear ambitions, but been unable even to agree on a way to freeze the millions in assets of its unhinged boy-king, Kim Jong Un.
It has chided the United States — a democracy whether far-left Democrats think so or not — for voting irregularities in some of its elections, but failed to inquire how Vladimir Putin got twice as many votes as his nearest rival in a country whose economy is tanking or how Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro just neutered his country’s national legislature.
The assembled multitude at the UN this week will get to hear first-hand what Trump means where he talks about making America Great Again and America First. The only things threatened by those twin dogmas are the status quo that has long ignored or scorned U.S. leadership and values.
For those same decades, American presidents have taken the podium of the General Assembly in September and temporized, telling their audiences what fine chaps and ladies they are, how the United Nations is doing important work, and how proud they are to be standing in its hallowed headquarters on the East River of Manhattan.
President Trump will deliver no such encomiums. He has already demonstrated a signature willingness to insult his hosts, lecturing fellow NATO leaders on their failure to pay their fair share for defense, in pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord despite some chilly Gallic stares directed at him, or in demanding that the NAFTA free trade agreement be renegotiated in a way more advantageous to the U.S.
Speaking of paying a fair share, Trump is also likely to remind his listeners that the United States coughs up an outsize 22 percent of the UN’s overall budget and 28 percent of its peacekeeping funds. He may also allude to the fact that some of those so-called peacekeepers are guilty of rape, another topic too sensitive for the refined world body to act upon.
Trump won’t even feel out of place. After all, New York is as much his town as it is the UN’s home, although there are probably as many New Yorkers who wish he’d get out as would like to say farewell to the hundreds of diplomats lucky — or corrupt — enough to live there.
Trump will meet with leaders of so-called allies like Britain and Germany, even though both Prime Minister Teresa May and Chancellor Angela Merkel have recently, and publicly, rebuked him for his policies and statements.
Perhaps most important, the assembled multitude this week will get to hear first-hand what Trump means where he talks about making America Great Again and America First. The only things threatened by those twin dogmas are the status quo that has long ignored or scorned U.S. leadership and values, and the hope that no one would notice that a so-called global economy works in favor of some nations like China and India, but not the United States.
Donald Trump won election last year promising to change that. His opponents — and he has many — should pay close attention to what he says this week. He means it.