Why Trump’s U.N. Speech Was a Triumph

Why Trump’s U.N. Speech Was a Triumph, by Roger Kimball.

Donald Trump on Tuesday confirmed yet again why he is the most robust president since Ronald Reagan. Following up on his brilliant speeches before a joint session of Congress in February, his speech about combating Islamic terrorism before Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, and his splendid defense of Western civilizational values in Warsaw a few months ago, Trump addressed the United Nations and articulated for the 150 delegates at that ostentatiously corrupt institution the signal lesson of successful international relations: that freedom within nations, and comity among them, is best served not by the effacement or attenuation of national sovereignty but its frank and manly embrace.

“Sovereignty,” indeed, was the master word of Trump’s address. The word and its cognates occur 21 times in the 4,300-word talk, centrally in conjunction with the core Trumpian ideal of “principled realism.” …

The United Nations has in recent decades become a poster child for bureaucratic despond: corrupt, wasteful, and inefficient. It has also evolved into a megaphone for anti-American, left-wing sentiment, often hiding behind utopian world-government rhetoric.

This development, Trump reminded his listeners, is a blunt betrayal of the noble aspirations that formed the United Nations in the aftermath of World War II. Trump quoted Harry Truman, who stressed that the success of the United Nations depended on the “independent strength of its members.” The United Nations was not created to subvert national sovereignty but to help guarantee it. …

“The United States of America,” Trump said, “has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.” This is the simple truth, but I do not recall hearing such sentiments from the White House in recent years. …

There were several good lines in this spectacular address. I think my absolute favorite — even better than the “Rocket Man” comment — came in Trump’s discussion of the failed socialist state of Venezuela. A few years ago Leftists from Jeremy Corbyn to Barack Obama were salivating over Hugo Chavez and his socialist policies. What we’ve seen, as could have been predicted—as was predicted by some of us—is that country’s rapid descent into poverty and chaos. “The problem in Venezuela,” Trump said, “is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”

Full text of speech.