We need a President who isn't a laughing stock to the entire World. We need a truly great leader, a genius at strategy and winning. Respect!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2014
Asked on Monday, President Trump’s 500th day in office, what he considers his top foreign policy achievement, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly replied: "The strengthening of relationships with a number of foreign leaders." The State Department said the same with a tweet: “After 500 days in office, U.S. leadership is back on the world stage as the result of @POTUS's policies.”It’s no surprise that top administration officials have alighted on that claim. The president has been making it at every opportunity — during a rally last week in Nashville, at the U.S. Naval Academy commencement ceremony and in off-the-cuff remarks to White House reporters Friday, just to name the latest audiences.“We are respected again, I can tell you that. We are respected again,” Trump told the naval cadets. “A lot of things have happened. We’re respected again.”
At the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump got a comeuppance on the world’s biggest stage. Delivering a speech that aimed to establish U.S. “sovereignty” over the whims and needs of other nations, the president’s triumphant moment was marred in the first minute when he was met by laughter — at his expense.The embarrassing exchange came when Trump boasted that his administration had accomplished more over two years than “almost any administration” in American history, eliciting audible guffaws in the cavernous chamber hall.The president appeared startled. “Didn’t expect that reaction,” he said, “but that’s okay.”Members of the audience chuckled again — perhaps this time in sympathy.Trump continued his address, which lasted an additional 34 minutes, but the moment marked a pointed rejoinder from the international community to a president who has delighted in poking traditional U.S. allies and partners in the eye on trade, security alliances and general diplomatic bonhomie.
The EU’s three biggest member states have agreed a deal with Russia and China to set up a special payments system to facilitate trade with Iran as global powers step up measures to protect a nuclear deal with Tehran after the US reimposed sanctions.In a joint statement on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of China, Russia, Germany, the UK and France agreed to “assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran” including its oil exports....Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top diplomat, said the financial tool — known as a “special purpose vehicle” — would allow for legitimate financial transfers between European and Iranian companies.She added technical teams from EU governments would work on how the tool would work in the coming weeks.
China, for years prepared to take a back seat at the UN, is now seeking positions of power, increasing its budget contributions and starting to assert its world view, notably the preeminence of national sovereignty over human rights.According to Richard Gowan, of the European Council for Foreign Relations, the story of the last year at the UN has been one of the rise of China. “It has been happening for decades but it has been massively accelerating,” he said.In part China is filling a space created by the withdrawal of the US from bodies such as the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and the UN’s cultural arm, Unesco.“What you hear is that in committees dealing with trade and human rights, the Americans are hanging back. They are not being assertive, Gowan said. “By contrast the Chinese are dominating a lot of the conversations.”
French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a fiery rebuke of US policies under President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly Tuesday, signaling that he is ready to take up the mantle of global leadership usually assumed by a US leader.At times directly referring to the US, Macron rapped the Trump administration for its policies on Iran, climate change, the UN, migration and Mideast peace, among others.Macron praised the countries in the deal for keeping the Paris [climate change] agreement intact “because we have decided to stay unified despite the US decision to withdraw. This is power and this is the way to overcome challenges.” And he issued a suggestion to leverage that unity.“Let’s stop signing trade agreements with those who don’t comply with the Paris agreement,” Macron said.