By Katie Dangerfield
U.S. President Donald Trump asserted American sovereignty and the need for countries to pay for their own defense in his speech on Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly.
The president also blasted the “ideology of globalism” in his speech, saying the U.S. will no longer “be taken advantage of.”
During the first few minutes of his speech, Trump touted his administration, saying it’s accomplished more than any other in U.S. history, prompting laughter from the General Assembly Hall.
“So true,” Trump said. “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”
In case you missed the speech, here are five key takeaways.
Iran’s ‘corrupt dictatorship’
During his speech, Trump asked the world’s nations to join the U.S. in isolating Iran over behaviour he deems aggressive, calling the country a “corrupt dictatorship.”
“Iran‘s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction,” Trump said. “They do not respect their neighbours or borders or the sovereign rights of nations.”
Trump added that a regime that chants, “Death to America,” and threatens Israel with destruction must not be allowed to have the means to deliver a nuclear warhead.
Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers in May and reinstated economic sanctions on Iran.
He said additional sanctions will resume in the coming months and said: “We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons.”
Trump compared U.S. relations with Iran to what he called improved ties with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, praising him for halting nuclear and missile tests and returning some U.S. remains from the 1950s Korean War. Trump had called Kim a “Rocket Man,” bent on nuclear destruction in his UN speech last year.
Trump said he has asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to take a “hard look” at U.S. foreign assistance, adding that America is the world’s largest donor of foreign aid “but few give anything to us.”
He said that’s why he has asked Pompeo to review the billions of dollars in foreign aid the U.S. hands out each year.
The review will examine whether countries that receive U.S. aid “have our interests at heart,” he said.
Trump said going forward, “We are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us, and frankly, are our friends.”
Venezuela and socialism
Trump attacked Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro by calling for an end to socialism.
He said his administration is imposing new sanctions on the president’s inner circle and close advisers, including his wife and the nation’s vice-president, on allegations of corruption.
“All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone,” Trump said, using Venezuela as an example of what can go wrong with socialism.
UN Human Rights Council, ICC and OPEC
Trump condemned the UN Human Rights Council, which the U.S. pulled out of in June, for “shielding human rights abusers” while criticizing the U.S.
He said the council has become “a grave embarrassment to this institution,” and the U.S. would not return to it without real reform. The president added that he would not support nor recognition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for similar reasons.
“As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority,” he said
Trump delivered a harsh message to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members, calling on them to stop raising oil prices and to pay for their military protection.
Trade war with China
Amid the U.S.-China trade war, Trump targeted the nation during his speech, saying America will no longer be taken advantage of.
He cited unfair trade arrangements that allow countries to dump their products in America, subsidize their goods, target U.S. industries and manipulate currency to gain unfair advantages.
Trump said he had a great respect for the leader of China but the U.S. trade imbalance with Beijing “cannot be tolerated.”
On Monday, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated by imposing penalties on $60 billion of U.S. products.