President Donald Trump delivered what essentially was a truncated version of his typical campaign stump speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Rife with themes of white supremacy, Trump’s words signaled to the world that the motivations of America’s foreign policy are the same as its domestic policy: white male hegemony.
Throughout his speech, Trump made clear that he is anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-anything that doesn’t appease white men and women who are scared that a more diverse America will devalue their whiteness and the privilege that comes with it. For world leaders who want a homogenized society and fear Muslims and any of “those people,” Trump’s speech was exactly for them.
But it was also racist as hell and full of faux tales of American liberty that’s supposed to be enjoyed by all Americans but really isn’t.
While I do not have time to break down all of the bullshit in Trump’s speech, I’ve highlighted the most egregious lines and broken down why they are bullshit.
1. “Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control of their destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of life intended by God. In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but, rather, to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”
Analysis: Well, we know that is a pack of lies because the only way America has become the single superpower in the world today is precisely by imposing its way of life on others. As I will note in my list, America has used its intelligence agencies to force its white supremacist will on world leaders, and it certainly has done the same to its own people.
COINTELPRO is the first domestic example that comes to mind. When black Americans were fighting for their humanity, the federal government wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and infiltrated the civil rights movement, which it continues to do to this very day through its Department of Homeland Security, with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The more black people fight for their humanity, the more white supremacy fights back against it. Keep in mind that we also live in an America that severely restricts the rights of LGBTQ people. Trump has appointed some of the most homophobic people in the policy world to determine policy that harms the LGBTQ community and restricts their right to live full lives as U.S. citizens. And The Root just published a list of reasons that Trump is a white supremacist.
Yeah, Trump is full of shit when he says America doesn’t impose its views on anyone.
2. “It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one [the United Nations] to defend the sovereignty, security and prosperity for all.”
Analysis: Tell that to Chile’s former President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown by a CIA operation in 1973 and ended up dead soon after, per the Los Angeles Times. The CIA also tried to undermine the election of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in the mid-1980s, according to the New York Times. In fact, check out Foreign Policy’s list of countries the CIA overthrew post-World War II.
This notion that America is not an expansionist nation is bullshit.
3. “The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.”
Analysis: Oh, really? So Trump wants to discuss respect? Let’s start with the fact that he insists on treating immigrants like shit. The United Nations has worked tirelessly to address refugee-crisis issues in Europe, essentially trying to get Europe to agree on a comprehensive refugee policy that will serve the needs of refugees coming from Syria, the Middle East and Africa.
Trump, in return, signed an executive order that was essentially a Muslim ban that restricted movement of residents from mostly Muslim nations to the United States. He also rescinded Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy. All of this plays into his “Make America white again” rhetoric, which appeals to his mostly white base here at home. In true Trump fashion, he made it into a U.N. speech.
4. “No one has shown more contempt for other nations and the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea.”
Analysis: OK. North Korea is pretty fucked up, and it does horrible things to its own people, but keep in mind that Trump presides over a country that did not formally apologize for slavery until 2009. Trump also plays footsie with some of the most abusive leaders in the world. Let’s start with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has literally ordered killing crews to shoot alleged drug dealers and users dead without due process in his country, according to Human Rights Watch. More than 7,000 people have been killed in Duterte’s war against drugs. If you read HRW’s recent report, you will see that government-hired gangs ride around on motorbikes fatally shooting alleged drug users.
Trump has invited him to the White House.
We could go into more detail on Trump’s affection for dictators, but this list of dictators he loves is a good starting point.
5. “We seek the de-escalation of the Syrian conflict and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shocked the conscience of every decent person. No society can be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread.”
Analysis A: Indeed, Assad is not a good person to his people, and no one would argue against his ouster in place of a more humane leader. But who are we kidding here? While Assad did use chemical weapons against his own people, the U.S. government allows local police departments to use military-grade weapons against its protesters.
In 2015, President Barack Obama limited local law enforcement’s access to military-grade surplus equipment, including grenade launchers, armored vehicles and bayonets, according to the New York Times. Trump reversed this limit, so cops can pretty much intimidate protesters with equipment used in Iraq. Keep in mind that some of these items were used against protesters armed with mere placards and gas masks.
So spare me the “use of chemical weapons against his own people” when Trump authorizes weapons of war against American citizens.
Analysis B: “Criminal regime”? That is pretty much how most respected journalists frame Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. The 2015 PBS documentary Putin’s Way argued that the Russian leader made his way to power by working with the Russian criminal underworld to steal billions of dollars from Russia’s coffers, and that he may have ordered the bombing of an apartment complex, blamed it on Chechens (who are considered “black” in Russia) and won the presidency, in part, by running on an anti-terrorism (read: “I will kill those dark people to protect the Russian people”) message.
Interestingly enough, Trump doesn’t frame Putin as a thug, a man whom most respected critics view as, well, a thug. That’s probably a white-man thing.
Anyway, as you can see, Trump is a white supremacist who uses white supremacist jargon, no matter the stage. If you are so inclined, check out his full speech here.