President Trump recently addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the second time. The beginning of his speech — in which he bragged about his administration’s accomplishments being among the best ever — brought laughter, rather than the praise he appeared to expect.
But the audience’s mood quickly shifted when his talking points moved to the more serious matter of conflict and war in the Middle East.
Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project, joined The Real News to assess Trump’s comments regarding Iran, Yemen, and Palestine.
It was “rather extraordinary to hear the General Assembly diplomats burst out laughing” during Trump’s opening remarks, said Bennis. More noteworthy, though, was his apparent “dissociation from reality” and his defense of nationalism — both being common threads of his speech.
Trump’s focus on “sovereignty of homeland,” “raw nationalism,” and “independence over global governance” is quite different from what the U.S. has typically emphasized in UN meetings, said Bennis.
Also troubling was Trump’s vocal appreciation for the likes of “India, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Poland — all of which are governed by far right-wing governments,” added Bennis.
Trump has some particularly head-scratching statements about the Saudi role in Yemen. He claimed that the Saudis — along with the UAE and Qatar — “have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen.” Bennis called that an outright lie, and countered that “all [Saudi Arabia and the UAE] are pledging to Yemen is more war.”
“If you just listen to his speech,” said Bennis, “you would believe that there was somehow a terrible civil war going on within Yemen, and the good neighbors of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are somehow working very hard to end it… it’s a complete reversal of what’s actually underway in the Yemen war.”
The casualties in that war, Bennis pointed out, are overwhelmingly “caused by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with direct participation of U.S. pilots” who are aiding Saudi and UAE bombers.
Bennis questioned Trump’s omission of the United States’ part in the conflict, which includes not only the refueling of Saudi and UAE bombers, but also “providing intelligence information, providing target information, and… selling now hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons that are being used directly to kill civilians in the war.”