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President Trump addresses the 73rd UN General Assembly on September 25, 2018, in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Trump's speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning depicted a United States under siege, finally pushing back after years of unfair trade pacts and free riding among allies. Clear warnings were issued: He rejected the International Criminal Court — echoing John Bolton’s speech two weeks ago — and the new global migration compact; from now on, foreign aid would go only to those the secretary of state deems friends. 

The big picture: President Trump put his America First doctrine forward as a model not just for the United States, but for other countries. He advised them to embrace nationalism over internationalism. The rest of his address hit familiar talking points: boasting about the American economy; praising sovereignty; denouncing globalism, unfair trade, the UN Human Rights Council, OPEC and the Iran nuclear deal; and vilifying China, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump set out patriotism as incompatible with globalism, neglecting the reality that many of the challenges confronting the United States this century, including terrorism and nuclear proliferation, will require collective action. 

  • Consistent with this oversight, he did not even mention climate change.
  • He also rejected global governance, even though it will be essential to establishing rules for cyberspace conduct, which the United States would benefit from.

The principal exception to the dark tone of the speech concerned North Korea’s Kim Jung-un. The president continued to praise him and extoll what their diplomacy has accomplished despite evidence to the contrary. 

The bottom line: At one point during his speech, Trump boasted that “in less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” a statement that met with laughter. It was more evidence that he has lost his international audience — not just in the UN Assembly Hall today, but around the world.

Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “A World in Disarray.”

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.