Trump’s UN promises: War, racism, and an anti-communist crusade
President Donald Trump takes a seat after delivering a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 19, in New York. | Evan Vucci / AP

Donald Trump delivered perhaps the most warlike, chauvinistic, and insulting speech ever by a U.S. President to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.

What Trump rants at one of his hate-filled rallies and what he said at the U.N. are practically indistinguishable. Except this time, no one was cheering.

Of course, there were the things Trump ignored—most notably the climate crisis and its connection to the hurricanes, monsoons, droughts, and massive forest fires wreaking havoc as he spoke. “Mother Nature is now speaking more persuasively than all of us,” says Al Gore.

In a word Trump’s performance was—chilling.

“Alt-right” world view

Trump’s speech expressed his worldview and that of the so-called “alt-right” and white supremacist, Christian nationalist, trans-global alliance. He framed the speech with “America First” nationalism, backed by the world’s most powerful military and the threat to use nuclear weapons.

He attacked the United Nations’ role to promote global cooperation by asserting the sovereign right of nations. Trump’s brand of sovereignty is good only when it comes to the U.S. and with an added twist: it’s the United States that is the aggrieved nation and the real victim, despite having the most powerful military and economy on the planet.

“But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return,” he said about the Iran nuclear deal, which he vowed to change.

And in the most alarming remarks, Trump singled out a new Axis of Evil: North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela. Trump’s racism and chauvinistic bullying is grossly blatant – all are non-European, developing nations, and smaller than the U.S.

“The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based,” Trump said. “They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.” Despite all the cosmetic talk of respect for sovereignty as a basic pillar of international relations, Trump is committed to “regime change” in each of these countries.

Islamophobia

Playing on fears of terrorism, Trump singled out Iran and Syria as states that support “Radical Islamic terrorism” and “threaten other countries and their own people with the most destructive weapons.”

Such talk ignores the complex political dynamics between class, religious, and social forces in both countries and the broader Middle East region.

It ignores the impact of capitalist colonialism, globalization, and the role U.S. imperialism has played historically in destabilization through economic domination, resource theft, military intervention, and occupation.

It reinforces the idea there is a global “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam, inferring that Islam is an inherently warlike religion.

“Total destruction” of North Korea

A member of the North Korean delegation leaves the General Assembly Hall before the arrival of Donald Trump. | Mary Altaffer / AP

Instead of pursuing multi-national diplomacy, Trump is on the path of military confrontation and is actively undermining the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with respect to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) and Iran.

This will only fuel a new global nuclear arms race, one already in motion with the $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program planned by the U.S.

Casual talk of “totally destroying” the DPRK if they don’t stop developing their nuclear weapons program normalizes the unthinkable. It’s the first time I can think of that the president of one country has made such threats at the U.N.

Trump was neither fazed by his own hypocrisy in the face of the U.S. nuclear modernization nor concerned for the catastrophic consequences of his threats—including the certain mass annihilation and death which would result in the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Japan, Guam, and other nations in the region and global destabilization.

He followed up his speech by imposing more sanctions against the DPRK that will only heighten tensions. He drew a new line in the sand when he said, “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

This was an insulting statement, and probably in anticipation, the DPRK envoy Ja Song Nam walked out prior to Trump’s speech.

From the perspective of the DPRK, they are a small country facing a giant hostile power that once before inflicted total destruction on them during the U.S.-Korean War of 1950-53. Officially, there has been no declared end to that conflict, and the DPRK believes the U.S. has never given up its goal of regime change. Trump’s words this week only confirmed that belief.

The DPRK also looks at U.S. regime change in Libya, Iraq, and countless other countries, as well as the Trump’s administration’s more aggressive and militaristic foreign policy. From their perspective, building a nuclear arsenal is a rational defense.

In reality though, the DPRK’s missile testing and threats to use nuclear weapons on Guam, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. only escalates the crisis. It makes the DPRK appear irrational and dangerous in the eyes of the world and plays directly into Trump’s hands.

When DPRK leader Kim Jong Un responded to Trump’s U.N. speech on Thursday, saying, “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” he was taking Trump’s bait. This is exactly the kind of response Trump must have been hoping for.

Paired with the threat by the DPRK’s foreign minister that the country may next detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, such rhetoric adds to the isolation of the DPRK and reinforces the notion that only war will stop the nuclear threat.

There is no military solution to this crisis. The only solution is a peaceful diplomatic one involving all countries in the region aimed at de-escalation.

Consequently, it is not only about the DPRK halting its missile tests and dismantling its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. must join together with the DPRK and other nations in the region, including South Korea, and end the hostility, sanctions, and threats.

The U.S. must finally declare an end to the Korean War and work jointly to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and all of Asia, including eliminating U.S. weapons stocks and closing military bases. It’s going to take many to tango in this case.

Anti-communism

Trump also viciously attacked Cuba and Venezuela, infusing his remarks with anti-communism and anti-socialism. “Socialism,” said Trump, has brought “poverty and misery” wherever it has been tried.

Trump accused Cuba of being a corrupt and destabilizing force in Latin America. Is Cuba destabilizing the region by sending medical teams throughout the Caribbean in the aftermath of recent devastating hurricanes?

Instead of extending a humanitarian hand, Trump reiterated his administration would not lift sanctions against Cuba until “fundamental reforms” were made to his liking, presumably abandoning the goal of building socialism.

Despite a 50-year U.S. blockade, Cuba defiantly continues on its chosen path. It is the U.S. that has become globally isolated for its policy toward Cuba, which is why President Obama initiated a normalization of relations.

The Cuban government’s bold introduction of reforms for a mixed economy, decentralization of economic and political power, and creation of worker-run cooperatives is a testament to Cuba’s confidence in the power of its people and of socialism.

Trump also said sanctions had been imposed on Nicholás Maduro’s “socialist dictatorship” in Venezuela and threatened further actions. He has already raised the possibility of military intervention there.

“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented,” he said, no doubt thinking himself witty. “From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.”

Trump could care less about democracy. He hypocritically extols oppressive monarchies like Saudi Arabia, praises authoritarian rulers such as the Philippines’ Duterte, embraces white supremacists and fascists, and creates a constitutional crisis and erodes democracy here at home. What Trump is doing is demonizing Venezuelan government in order to justify the drive to overthrow it.

First, the U.S. has never acknowledged the sovereign right of the Venezuelan people to pursue their own path of development inspired by the Bolivarian Revolution, including one that aims to transfer power and wealth to the people.

What has angered U.S. officials and corporations the most, including Secretary of State and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, is Venezuela’s refusal to privatize the oil industry, end the use of oil revenues for social needs, and halt steps toward broader wealth redistribution.

The U.S. is determined to overthrow the elected Bolivarian government through disruption of the economy, military attacks on its border, and paramilitary violence in the streets.

The attack on both Cuba and Venezuela is an effort to eliminate them as models of alternative economic and social development and roll back their influence and that of elected left parties and governments throughout Central and South America.

Socialism, not capitalism, is still the future

Considered more broadly, the full and complete construction of socialism has historically yet to be achieved anywhere. There have only been many experiments, models, and processes initiated toward that goal. So Trump’s raving about the “failure” of socialism is not rooted in fact.

Twentieth-century socialism, in the places where it was attempted, certainly faced many difficulties, mistakes, and shortcomings—including on the part of the governing parties and coalitions. But despite the setbacks and collapse of socialist-oriented governments in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, people around the world still aspire to achieve a modern, 21st century socialism.

Many of the problems of socialist construction are related to overcoming conditions of war, scarcity, and underdevelopment; difficulty in accessing badly needed capital and resources; and building up the institutions of civil society.

Even with these shortcomings and in the face of tremendous odds, socialist-oriented countries have elevated millions out of poverty, wiped out illiteracy, and provided affordable housing, free healthcare, and free education.

The efforts undertaken by the U.S. and other imperialist states to thwart, undermine, and overthrow socialist-oriented governments and revolutionary movements also cannot be ignored.

On the other hand, massive global wealth and social inequality, poverty, disease, climate crisis, violence, and the threat of nuclear war are all a result of, to paraphrase Trump’s words, “capitalism being faithfully implemented.”

Trump revealed at the United Nations that he is incapable of understanding anything about our infinitely complex world, the existential crises we face, and the level of global cooperation needed to solve them.

 


CONTRIBUTOR

John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is national chair of the Communist Party USA. Previously he was Illinois organizer for the party, and is active in labor, peace and justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio and currently lives in Chicago.      

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