‘US is biggest rogue state but accuses others of what it does 100 times over’
The US begrudges North Korea for having a few nuclear weapons while having more nuclear weapons than any country on Earth, Prof. Dan Kovalik, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, told RT, commenting on Donald Trump’s UN address. Other analysts joined the discussion.
Donald Trump delivered his first address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday. The US president lashed out at North Korea, Syria and Iran in his speech.
Dan Kovalik says he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to speak about defending the interests of one particular nation, America, at the UN.
Dan Kovalik: It shows a tone-deafness in Donald Trump – that he can’t even read his audience, which is the nations of the world. It is a body that is designed to encourage cooperation between countries and primarily to avoid war and the threat of war, which Trump engaged in while he was on stage – that is a threat of war against [North] Korea.
'It is time to bring US-Russian relations to a better level' - Lavrov https://t.co/wuIzTjwSmz— RT (@RT_com) September 20, 2017
RT: Trump called on world leaders to put the interests of their countries first, but then attacked North Korea and Iran for doing just that. Is that a coherent position?
DK: … Not only are we [the US] accusing them of things that we do – we’re accusing them of doing things that we do a hundred times over. We begrudge North Korea for having a few nuclear weapons when we have more nuclear weapons than any country on Earth and are engaged in a $1 trillion modernization of these weapons.
I don’t know what we are accusing Iran of. To be honest, it’s lost upon me. They do engage on their borders. They do have regional interests that they protect, but I don’t see them as a threat to anyone. They are abiding by the nuclear deal. Everyone agrees with that. Trump mentioned the problem with rogue states in the world. In my view, the US is the biggest rogue state on Earth.
Threats to obliterate the whole country, North Korea, will alarm other governments and people around the world, Mark Almond, director of Crisis Research Institute, told RT.
Mark Almond: Every nation has its national interest. I think the problem for Trump is that he sort of mixes the messages of his election campaign, about putting America first and in a sense concentrating on domestic problems, and not for instance, engaging in regime change – with the rhetoric of George Bush about the “axis of evil” and Barack Obama about intervening in order to bring about democracy and flourishing better societies.
In a sense, we now have this combination of Obama’s “red lines,” which may be North Korea has already crossed again. And the same time almost a North Korean level of rhetoric of threatening to totally destroy a country. That is very dangerous for the standing of the US in the world. Most people in the world are not sympathetic to the North Korean regime and to its nuclear program. But if you associate the whole population of North Korea with what the government does there, and you threaten to obliterate the whole country – then I think it is going to alarm all sorts of people around the world, and other governments around the world.
So the problem with Trump’s rhetoric is that it’s very much America first, American exceptionalism – America is always right. There is a risk that he is now going to trample upon the interest not in the countries he defines as rogue regimes, but also alarm other countries who fear they could fall into that category whatever they do.
RT: Yesterday, Trump spoke about UN reform. Today, he delivered a speech that sounds more like a lesson for world leaders, or an order. Does reforming the UN for Trump mean making it toe America's line?
MA: I think there is that underlying assumption that what America wants must necessarily be for the best. Also even if the Americans have some particularly sensible points about the mis-administration of the UN, about the waste of money in some of its programs – there is a tendency not to want to listen to anybody else’s point of view. When the Americans call upon other countries to show leadership – it is a kind of language, which is almost Orwellian, cause it is really means to do what Washington wants and to show the initiative to take it up first.
Again, when we hear Trump saying he wants to put America first – he also wants the rest of the world to put America first. Unfortunately, even many friends of the US are going to say: “We’re friendly. We’re allies of the US, but of course, we have to put our countries first”. There is a danger – whether it is about how do you run the US and what its role is, or just how to deal with a specific crisis in the world – that Trump could trample on the toes of his friends. As well as perhaps put up the backs of other countries, who might not necessarily want to find themselves in confrontation with the US but who will be alarmed that his unilateralism and his bombast threatens not only a specific country like North Korea, Iran, or Venezuela – a growing list of countries but that your own country might be somewhere down that list – even if it hasn’t yet made it to the president’s tweet, tweeting of a threat.
Message to Tehran
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari has reacted by branding Trump's remarks "shameless," and "ignorant." Despite Iran's compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation deal signed in 2015, Washington has been escalating tensions with the country. The Trump administration views the deal as unfair and, in July, announced new sanctions against Tehran.
Washington's ally, President Macron of France, has nonetheless defended the deal, from the same podium where Trump criticized Iran.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington needs its European allies to make the case to Iran that the deal has to be “revisited.”
Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, Iranian journalist and political analyst, shared with RT his opinion on Trump’s statement about Iran.
Seyyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm: [Trump] was making some untrue statements with regard to Iran’s nuclear deal. He was trying to send this sign to Teheran that he is ready to go after George W. Bush approach to regime change. But everybody knows in Washington and Teheran that he actually intends to go after the same kind of engagement policy that was started by Obama, and he wants to go on with the second phase of the same engagement policy.
He only means to show that he is not very much inclined toward the deal and he wants to go after regime change. The reality is that he intends to intensify the components of engagement policy that is – the sanction regime – he means to intensify the sanctions against Iran. He also aims to increase hostilities in order to give this message to Teheran that he is ready for starting military engagement, and he wants to increase his credibility for military threats to Iran.
These two components are needed for the engagement policy that eventually aims to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, like what they did with regards to Iran’s nuclear issue at the time of Obama…