Global gathering focuses allied alarm at Trump's world view

On the day the US and Canada finally reached a trade agreement -- after rancorous months that saw President ...

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 11:22 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 11:22 AM

On the day the US and Canada finally reached a trade agreement -- after rancorous months that saw President Donald Trump insult the country's leader and foreign minister -- Canada's ambassador to the United Nations addressed the General Assembly.

He didn't say a word about trade.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Canada

Climate change

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Energy and environment

Energy and utilities

Environment and natural resources

Environmental regulation and policy

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Government organizations - Intl

International relations

International relations and national security

International trade

Iran

Iran nuclear development

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

North America

Paris Climate Agreement

Political Figures - US

State departments and diplomatic services

The Americas

Trade and development

United Nations

United States

US federal government

White House

Instead, Marc-André Blanchard touched on climate change, diversity and inclusion, the plight of refugees, peacekeeping and multilateral cooperation on Monday, using his time on the world stage to emphasize Canada's embrace of issues that Trump has rejected or downplayed.

UN Week started with laughter in response Trump's campaign style rhetoric about the US economy and, as the days went on, built into a sustained international rebuttal of his foreign policies as well as his vision of "global governance."

Country after country challenged the President's world view and Trump administration directives during the UN's "Super Bowl of diplomacy." As leaders declared their commitment to international institutions that Washington has criticized, some analysts said the chorus raised questions about US leadership of the post-World War II global order.

Russia and China pushed back on the US call for more sanctions on North Korea. The European Union and other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal announced their intent to create a mechanism to help Iran avoid US attempts to squeeze its economy. Israel's leader refused to back Trump's endorsement of a two-state solution to the Middle East peace process.

The French Prime Minister gave a fiery speech repudiating Trumpism in many of its forms, including current policies on climate, Mideast peace, Iran and trade. And country after country reaffirmed its commitment to free trade, international organizations and multilateralism in a pointed rebuttal to Trump, who had called them "a threat to sovereignty."

Some analysts said the pushback from world leaders and officials addressing the General Assembly was an overreaction based more on the President's style than his positions.

'The lens of US interests'

"There's a great deal of overreaction to some of these issues," said Brett Schaefer, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "The President did not reject multilateralism, he did not reject cooperation with other countries. What he said, quite simply, is that the United States is going to approach multilateralism through the lens of US interests, which is of course what other countries do and what the US has done historically."

But others said the frustration on display was about substance and the US pursuit of policies, like its rejections of the Paris agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, that affect other countries' security.

"If you sensed a theme, it wasn't organized," said one senior official from a close US ally. "But maybe it emerged because there's broad, broad frustration. It's not that all the policies are bad, but many are seen as short-sighted and tearing at the fabric of international cooperation."

Heather Conley, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the consistent refrain from other leaders in support of the UN and international collaboration made for a clear message.

"What you heard was the international community in some ways yearning for that American leadership that constructed the international system and saying, 'we will go on even if you don't support it anymore,' " Conley said. "It's not going to be the same ... without the United States, but everyone, from our closest friends to our adversaries, was saying 'no! we're going to maintain what we can.'

Conley sees "an erosion in US leadership" that "was based on values and principles that we didn't always live up to, but we aspired to." She added, "this does create a vacuum."

In his Sept. 25 remarks to the UN, Trump equated global governance with coercion and domination. His administration has harshly criticized the world body, withdrawn from some UN groups and curtailed or stopped funding in others.

He has started trade wars, rejected major international agreements and questioned old alliances. At the UN, he declared that his administration rejects "the ideology of globalism" in favor of "the doctrine of patriotism."

The rebuttals began even before Trump spoke, though the US was rarely mentioned.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said as the UN session started that trust in institutions, among states and in the rules-based global order is at "a breaking point."

"Trust in global governance is also fragile," Guterres said. "Multilateralism is under fire precisely when we need it most."

Over the week, member countries echoed his concerns.

"We live in times clouded by isolationist forces," Brazilian President Michel Temer said.

"Isolation may even give one a false sense of security at first," Temer said. "Protectionism may even sound seductive, but it is through openness and integration that we can achieve harmony."

Temer sounded a theme that speakers repeated over the next few days. "Collective problems require collectively coordinated responses," he said, citing terrorism and transnational crime, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Canada's Blanchard cited the challenges of climate change, economic equality, migration and humanitarian emergencies.

'Exclusion and discord'

"None can be solved by countries acting in isolation or bilaterally, all of them require the world to work together," the Canadian ambassador said Monday.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto criticized "those who choose exclusion and discord" and turned Trump's formula on its head. "Multilateralism is the best way of defending sovereignty ... and at the same time, contributing to the security and well being of the community of nations," he said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held up his country as an example of multilateralism's success. "Europe has proved to the world that multilateralism and sovereignty are not a contradiction in terms," Maas said. "On the contrary, in a world faced with immense global problems, we can only safeguard sovereignty if we work together."

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said that "we simply cannot afford to be self-centered ... The only path that gives us a better hope for a future is cooperation." Ecuador's Constitutional President Lenin Moreno Garcés, said that, "the United Nations is our organization; if there are flaws let's correct them, let's not take it apart and dismember it."

Many, perhaps stirred by Trump's criticism, called for UN reforms. Others warned of danger ahead. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, said Sept. 29 that "forces of protectionism, populism and isolationism are gaining currency."

"Post-World War idealism is giving way, slowly but surely, to a hardened, militaristic approach," Qureshi said, adding that it is "not only regressive" but "downright dangerous."

Some of Washington's traditional opponents crowed, others complained.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani , referring to US opposition to the Iran deal, which others support, said the US violated international law. "The Americans are alone and isolated," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov railed against those who "declare the priority of self-serving unilateral approaches" and their "belligerent revisionism," listing Middle East peace talks, the Iran nuclear deal, the World Trade Organization and the Paris Agreement on climate -- all areas where the US has taken unilateral action, withdrawn or threatened to.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned "international rules and multilateral mechanisms are under attack, and the international landscape is filled with uncertainties and destabilizing factors."

As China fights a trade war with Trump who used the UN to accuse Beijing of election interference, Wang pushed for multilateralism saying that nations have to pursue "win-win cooperation" and that "we need to ... to replace confrontation with cooperation and coercion with consultation."

'Unapologetic'


Schaefer, of the Heritage Foundation, said that it's not new for the US to chart its own path and rile others in the process, pointing to the Iraq War, or US opposition to a 1975 UN resolution declaring that Zionism is a form of racism. "What is different is that this administration is unapologetic about it and this is where a lot of the resentment arises from," he said.

Conley sees the historical echoes, but agrees with the leaders who warned of unpredictable times ahead. Countries like China and Russia likely see opportunities in using the US as a foil. And as the distance between the US and traditional allies seems to be widening, she points to the wild card of Trump's complicated domestic challenges.

Next month's midterm elections could present the President with an even more challenging domestic legislative environment, if Democrats take control of the House or Senate.

If that happens, "will the President increasingly turn to foreign and security policy to enhance legitimacy?" Conley asked. "Will that mean even more bold and unexpected actions and policies at a time when the world is increasingly unstable and fragile, both in terms of our allies and our adversaries?"

"I think we're rolling into some very uncertain territory," she said.

Terre Haute
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 95°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Rockville
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 89°
Casey
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Brazil
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Marshall
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 96°
Hot and Humid 4th of July
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 145750

Reported Deaths: 7005
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook917744618
Lake9864421
DuPage9192474
Kane7796274
Will6839320
Winnebago306796
McHenry208897
St. Clair1965137
Kankakee130265
Rock Island99629
Madison99169
Kendall98121
Champaign93012
Boone60221
DeKalb56719
Peoria54628
Sangamon44032
Jackson33519
Randolph2877
Stephenson2755
Ogle2684
McLean26713
Clinton24017
Macon23222
LaSalle22417
Union19319
Whiteside19215
Coles17317
Grundy1695
Iroquois1605
Tazewell1468
Warren1430
Knox1360
Cass1346
Morgan1303
Monroe12913
Williamson1224
Adams1061
Jefferson10617
McDonough10215
Lee982
Henry931
Vermilion772
Pulaski760
Marion680
Perry561
Douglas540
Macoupin543
Livingston502
Jasper477
Jo Daviess461
Montgomery461
Unassigned460
Christian454
Ford371
Jersey351
Woodford342
Bureau292
Franklin270
Menard240
Fayette233
Alexander220
Carroll222
Mason220
Wabash220
Mercer210
Piatt210
Washington210
Johnson200
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan160
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Bond131
Effingham131
Schuyler130
Cumberland120
Brown100
Edgar100
De Witt90
Greene90
Marshall90
Saline90
Henderson80
Lawrence70
White60
Hamilton50
Richland40
Stark40
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 46915

Reported Deaths: 2681
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11499683
Lake5053242
Elkhart316443
Allen2717128
St. Joseph186366
Cass16369
Hamilton1518100
Hendricks1386100
Johnson1254118
Porter71237
Tippecanoe6778
Madison64864
Clark63844
Bartholomew58244
Howard56057
LaPorte55326
Kosciusko5124
Vanderburgh4806
Jackson4653
LaGrange4657
Noble45728
Hancock43735
Boone43443
Delaware42949
Marshall4273
Shelby42025
Floyd37144
Morgan32531
Montgomery29320
Grant29026
Clinton2852
Monroe26628
Dubois2646
White26010
Decatur24832
Henry24315
Lawrence23624
Vigo2288
Dearborn22723
Harrison21022
Warrick21029
Greene18432
Miami1812
Jennings17111
Putnam1688
Scott1607
DeKalb1594
Daviess14116
Orange13523
Wayne1346
Perry1279
Steuben1262
Franklin1248
Jasper1142
Ripley1147
Carroll1102
Wabash1102
Fayette987
Newton9710
Whitley884
Starke853
Randolph784
Huntington712
Wells711
Jefferson701
Fulton681
Jay680
Washington661
Knox630
Pulaski621
Clay604
Gibson592
Rush563
Adams481
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey360
Spencer351
Fountain302
Tipton301
Crawford290
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike90
Unassigned0193