By Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer
The United Nations laughed at President Donald Trump during his speech to other world leaders… They understand how laughable his international vision is.
World leaders see Trump’s delusion as just that — delusion. In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25, he claimed to have done more than previous presidential administrations.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” Trump said. “America’s — so true. (Laughter.) Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay.”
Trump claimed that the United States is a stronger, safer and richer country than it was when he assumed office, and that he’s standing up for the American people. The following language he used was about American’s sovereignty, not cooperation, which dominated former President Barack Obama’s same address, but in terms of it being mutually exclusive with cooperation.
“America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return,” Trump said.
Nationalism is sweeping the world, and that ideological swing is fine. Yes, we can focus our attention and resources more to our own nation, but to think we can return to a world in which we don’t participate in diplomacy is laughable.
As the United States, we can limit our participation in global institutions, our response to worldwide crises and our openness to free trade, but we can’t go back to a world where we don’t have relations with other nations — that’s a child’s solution.
If an international institution is a monopoly, you can choose to not do anything when it’s your turn. You are free to hold onto your money or to make deals — that’s your choice, and the game is made to facilitate choices. But if you leave your seat at the table and mess up the game, you can’t come back and try to be a player like everyone else later. Trump is not threatening to leave, but he did withdraw from the Human Rights Council in January and has been using language that implies he thinks the UN threatens sovereignty. Sovereignty is a perception of a state’s power over itself. No, no one can take away our sovereignty, Trump — unless you keep talking like this.
We as Americans are used to hearing Trump’s claims that are usually un-quantifiable or factually incorrect, but attendees of the UN General Assembly have not built up that immunity. They expect him to behave with dignity and credibility as the leader of the free world. Other world leaders have the perspective of decisions made within the framework of diplomacy and international institutions all the time. You can make decisions within that framework that the institution doesn’t want you to, but you are still in conversation with the other members.
To think that the UN does what it says it does is silly. At least, that’s what Trump appears to think. The UN is an international institution, but no one expects it to enforce its own rules. The United States has disregarded them many a time. It functions as a facilitator. Does he think that the UN can tell him what to do, and that’s why he doesn’t want to participate? Does he not realize he has the power in NATO to force the other members to step up financially and diplomatically?
Confirmation bias is the reason the country is so divided. It seems obviously right to half of the United States that Trump has done nothing of value since he has been in office, and that what he claims he’s done is quantifiably incorrect. It seems obviously right to others, however, that he has made huge strides and deserves the title of superlative president in all categories.
Many politicians believe that they are being persecuted by the media — not just held accountable — because of confirmation bias. Maybe it is too much to hope that Trump’s confirmation bias was shattered by his peers, the people he wants to impress, laughing at him. But I don’t think it’s too much to hope that we can each shatter our own.