This is not presidential, or statesmanlike, behaviour:
Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on “righteous” countries to confront them.
The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.
Trump said: “The scourge of our planet today are a small group of rogue regimes.
“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” the president said.
He first singled out North Korea, recounting its history of kidnapping, oppression, and missile and nuclear tests.
“The US has great strength and patience,” Trump said. But he added: “If it is forced to defend ourselves or our allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
As alarmed murmurs spread around the hall, Trump had another barb. Using his newly adopted epithet for Kim Jong-un, Trump said: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
Here’s a video of his words:
BREAKING: President Trump just threatened to ‘totally destroy North Korea’ in front of the United Nations pic.twitter.com/J6ckLHaXne
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 19, 2017
This was at the United Nations, folks! The organisation was set up to maintain worldwide peace and security; to develop relations among nations; to foster co-operation between nations in order to solve economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian international problems.
And Donald Trump went there to threaten the destruction of another UN member state.
His words were inappropriate – especially his use of the derogatory ‘Rocket Man’ nickname for Kim Jong Un. Don’t just take my word for it:
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 19, 2017
And he has provoked the afore-mentioned ‘Rocket Man’ with those words. The standoff with North Korea can only become more tense now.
Threats vs N Korea, ridiculing its leader more likely to persuade NK to increase its nuclear weapons & missiles than limit them/give them up
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) September 19, 2017
Simply the stupidest speech ever delivered by USA at UN. https://t.co/SlR04GHbDy
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) September 19, 2017
Beyond stupid, he's setting up America for war and strife. It was an evil harangue from an egoist, oligarch detach from humanity https://t.co/IJWXiX0eJG
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) September 19, 2017
Worst of all: He didn’t have to do it.
Mr Trump had just agreed a deal with China’s leader Xi Jinping to “maximise pressure” on Pyongyang via UN-approved sanctions.
That is the way forward. Sanctions, diplomacy, co-operation with China – which is North Korea’s strongest ally. If China turns against Kim Jong Un, as appears to have happened, then he is in an untenable position.
Will he back down?
It is entirely possible that he might have…
And then Mr Trump made that stupid speech.
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