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At UN General Assembly, "America First" likely to cause more clashes

President Donald Trump speaks to world leaders at the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017 in New York City.
President Trump speaks to world leaders at the 72nd UN General Assembly on September 19, 2017, in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images

When President Trump addresses the UN General Assembly (UNGA) — the ultimate multilateral pageant — on September 25, he will be engaging a global community that has experienced his foreign policy for what it is: American unilateralism. Since the last UNGA, when he declared his doctrine of “America First,” Trump's unorthodox diplomacy has disrupted several multilateral meetings, from NATO to the G7.

The big picture: Trump is attempting to extricate the U.S. from the multilateral vision and institutions that have defined the post–World War II system. U.S. allies appreciate the fruits of that system — which include economic growth, a significant reduction in armed conflict and poverty alleviation — and fear losing the U.S. as a constructive partner.

In photos: NATO leaders come together in Brussels

NATO summit
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The leaders of the 29 NATO countries kicked off their annual summit in Brussels today.

The big picture: President Trump continued to posture himself against some of the United States' biggest allies, calling on them to significantly increase their contributions to the alliance and singling out Germany with controversial criticisms.

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