On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). While tensions have been high in the global arena with the uncertainty in the trade market with the trade war between the United States and China, the attacks on the Saudi Oil facilities in the Middle-East, all focus was set on President Trump’s address to the United Nations General Assembly.
President Donald Trump in his address had been vocal about the changing nature of politics in the global political mainframe. But understanding his personality, his speech echoed his visions about how America would now try to function in a multi-polar world. Let us understand what the speech meant.
In his speech, US President Donald Trump had set the stage by calling out the globalists. The president has been a protectionist and has the signs in his policies to show it. The attack on globalists is somewhat similar to his ideology of how the multi-lateral system has failed to meet its objectives. Further defending the idea of an inward-looking policy, the president reiterated the idea to the world for looking at nationalists as the future.
While many would not agree to the claims made concerning the domestic policies of the US, it can be said that somehow there is a rapid decrease in unemployment in the American society throughout all the spheres of the society. Yet the policies of the Trump Administration have offered stop-gap solutions and not long term solutions. The issues regarding the Healthcare policy still exists, the disregard to climate change measures can increase its oil production output but will have long term impact on the health of the US economy.
The rapid investment in the military equiptment within the country has had an impact on increasing the strength of the economy yet the ripple effects of the Trade War persist. Farmers in the United States have been waiting for the export of their produce despite China and the US having talks regarding a trade deal.
His policies of ‘citizen first’ to ensure the stability of the United States has had an impact globally with the aura of uncertainty abound in the actions of the US. His personality has a clear impact on the domestic and global arena. A jacksonian populist by nature has driven the policies on realms of principled realism. When the president had asked the world to shift the narrative of freedom equating it to ‘taking pride in your country’, Democracy to’ Protecting your sovereignty’ and Peace to ‘love your nation’ sits as a clear example of the ‘America First’ approach.
The world has already seen a shift after 2016 when the United Kingdom had decided to part ways from the European Union making the foundation of a different world than before. Since then, the United States has pulled out of many multilateral institutions including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as well as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), it has also asked members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to share the burden of responsibility.
The slow and methodical shift from the multilateral institutions is pretty much evident and again in his speech at the UNGA, mentions how the globalists need to be replaced by Unilateralist advocates can be seen.
His idea of ‘national renewal’ is a narrative in a new name, the use of the phrases of protecting the “cultural and historical and national heritage” as well as “the citizens first” are the foundations of his ‘America First’ policy. The president is seeking re-election for a second term in 2020; this would be a reaffirmation to his domestic voter-base about keeping its policies focused on protecting the interests of the United States.
With regards to China, the president has called out the inability of the World Trade Organization to liberalize the Chinese market and how it has been allowed to influence the institution to look the other way. Accusing the Chinese government of thefts of intellectual property and product dumping, This was a move to justify the tariffs imposed on China.
China has been trying to match the US economy and its growing trade relationships with other countries have been a cause of concern. The option of choosing Chinese products over the US product harms the US economy, one of the factors behind the growing concern regarding Huawei and its 5G technology.
The President also mentioned that the United States was monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, asking the country to honour its commitment as per the Handover Agreement. The President has been using the protests in Hong Kong as an issue in exerting international pressure on China to agree.
China has often blamed the United States for the recent turmoil in the city of Hong Kong; the US has the right to rescind the preferential trading partner status from Hong Kong, which can have a major impact on the US-China Trade War.
The Middle-East has been a hotbed since the escalations in tensions after the attack on Saudi Oil Facilities, allegations mounting against Iran had to be addressed by the President.
Calling the Islamic Republic of Iran responsible for the violence in Syria and Yemen, blaming the regime for funding non-state actors, the president also said that it is committed to stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
The President had pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015 and re-imposed tariffs on Iran. The relationship between the US and Iran has been a complex one since the revolution in 1971 had ousted the Shah of Iran. Donald Trump before becoming the President had been critical of the deal and feared that it might upset the alliance that the US has in the Middle-East.
The United States has been a close strategic ally for Saudi Arabia. With the Iran Nuclear Deal, the relationship between the two had been cold. The Trump administration has been vocal about protecting its interest in the Middle-East. The recent attacks on the Saudi oil facilities were blamed on Iran.
The Iranian Nuclear Program also poses a threat to Israel which has been a vital ally to the United States to balance out the threats posed by the Iranian regime. Iran has had hostile relationships with Israel since the Iranian Revolution.
The Middle-East stability has been a concern following the civil war in Syria had led to the sudden surge of extremism in the region and the rise of the Islamic State.
With regards to his immigration policy, Donald Trump had shared his concern about the growing migration crisis in Central America. The president reaffirmed the impact the countries face with the huge inflow of migrants. Carefully calling the people who have been running away from plundered cities which are plagued with violence as ‘Illegal Migrants’, the president said that such increase in illegal migration becomes a national security concern due to failure in documenting the people.
Being under the scanner for his immigration policies, the president said the that people who are trying to pay off organization to illegally transport them to the United States would not be allowed to enter the United States.
The current scenario where many undocumented people in the US have been detained and children being separated from their families are kept in detention centres, while the people are being deported.
Ensuring that the borders that it shares with Mexico, through which these people are trying to enter the US. These people have come from countries which are riddled with corruption and plagued with violence. Yet, the president has been making an effort to sign an immigration deal with countries in the Central Americas to curb the flow of immigrants to the United States. Countries like El Salvador, Honduras etc have a high concentration of gang activity as well as drug-related violence.
The US has been trying hard to ensure that it plays its role as a superpower in the global political mainframe. The migrant crisis has riddled most of the countries in the world; it also creates a major humanitarian crisis for the rest of the countries.
The rising number of crimes in the US and the changing demographics has been a concern. When President Trump said he wants to protect the cultural, historical and national heritage is a sign of how the illegal undocumented migrant has had an impact in the US society. The issues that these undocumented workers become cheap labour and offer their services ensuring that American labour phases out from the job market. To decrease the unemployment rate and increase the income of an average American household, these undocumented workers pose a threat.
When in reality, immigrants can often boost the industrial sector in the US as they will not only cost less but would be able to increase the productivity of the industries. When most of the United States today faces a crunch when it comes to the workforce, immigrants often have provided the situation.
Under the garb of illegal immigration has led to a justification in the decrease of visas to people from other countries. The Administration has also overlooked the strategic advantage which these immigrants provide to the US. They can be used to fulfil their foreign policy objectives.
Much to the lines of his speech in 2018, President Trump has managed to stick to his rhetoric and maintained his justification of the US Policy. Given that in the domestic front President Trump faces a long battle given the recent decision of the House Democrats initiating an impeachment inquiry against him following the recent controversy regarding the call with Ukrainian President this speech will reaffirm certain sections of the American society if not all.