Being Right: Trump’s Unconventionial Address to the UN

Svetlin Sabev

Make the UN Responsible Again

For someone who has never served in the military, the ideology behind Donald Trump’s first speech at the United Nations (UN) seems to share many parallels with the lessons taught at military boot camps around the country. From the first 15 minutes of his speech, one might get the impression that Trump’s motto has changed to “Make America Isolationist Again,” but if you were to watch the whole speech, you would understand the real message he was trying to convey is “Make the UN Responsible Again.” Trump shared some resemblance with a boot camp drill instructor as they drill the concept of  “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” into the minds of their cadets. Trump seemed to be doing just that last Tuesday as he addressed diplomats from around the world. He stressed the notion that the strength of the UN rests on the shoulders of each individual nation. Each nation should be responsible for supporting the best interests of its own citizens, as well as being held accountable for respecting the liberties of other countries. His argument was centered around the idea that the prosperity of one nation depends first on the efficient function of its own government while also collaborating with other countries to protect the interests of all people. 

Yes, we have all heard Trump’s saying: “America First.” This speech before the UN, however, showed a side of Trump to which many people were not accustomed. His speech was not about partisanship; it was about Americans. Trump did not seek to divide us, but rather unite us under the historic phrase, “We the People.” This concept is what made his speech so special: the responsibility of leaders across the globe is to serve their own people and, in doing so, they can more effectively support the citizens of other countries. 

In a way, Trump created his own idea of isolationism. He never said America should be the only country we care about; in fact, the majority of his speech was focused on condemning the actions of certain countries whose governments do not protect their own people or respect the sovereignty of other nations. Trump simply stressed that global leaders could benefit from focusing on the home front before snooping around across their borders. As Americans, is this not something we have suffered from in the past?  How many times have our leaders turned their backs on problems here at home, burning through taxpayers’ wallets fighting war after war abroad? Maybe Trump is right. Maybe it is time to make sure “sovereignty” is not just a term political science majors learn in college. Maybe it is time for the United Nations to be shaken up, shifting away from a world of unrealistic fantasy and toward a world where each nation is held responsible for its actions. Over the past several decades, the U.S. has been criticized for being too involved in conflicts on foreign soil. However, is it America’s fault for taking too much action, or the UN’s fault for not doing enough? It should not be America’s responsibility to financially or militarily sustain the UN. It is time for the UN’s members to be accountable and take action to protect the sovereignty of each and every country. Problems ranging from terrorism in Syria to the power hungry “Rocket Man” ruling North Korea should be solved through the joint teamwork of countries that make up the United Nations, not just American initiative. However, Trump’s words are just words. Trump must truly become a drill instructor to ensure that the lessons behind his speech smoothly transition to the tangible and intangible battlefields on which it fights.    

Contact Svetlin Sabev

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