President Trump heads to the United Nations this week to meet with world leaders, and many of them are anxious — not just about global national security challenges, but about Trump himself.
While the still-new president hopes to use his first appearance before the U.N. General Assembly to rally other countries against North Korea’s nuclear threats, some world leaders are still reeling from their last interactions with the somewhat testy Trump at global summits earlier this year.
Administration officials said Trump will arrive in New York with multiple missions, including trying to convince other countries to help the U.S. pressure North Korea into giving up nuclear weapons. He plans to criticize the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran and address the economic meltdown in Venezuela and the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, puts it simply: The president “slaps the right people, he hugs the right people, and he comes out with the U.S. being very strong in the end.”
Trump will also pursue what his aides call “U.N, reform,” another way of calling on members to pay for United Nations projects.
U.N. members, meanwhile, will be be watching the president’s tone, some foreign policy analysts said, given Trump’s aggressive performances at this year’s NATO meeting, Group of Seven and Group of 20 summits.
There, Trump “came off as boorish and money-grubbing, and often unresponsive to the concerns of partner nations,” said Stewart Patrick, senior fellow with the Council of Foreign Relations.
“At the U.N,” Patrick said, “Trump can win by surpassing expectations about what he is going to say.”
Richard Gowan, a United Nations expert with with the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Trump “performed poorly” at previous international meetings, and diplomats are concerned about a rerun.
“The swirl of minor leaders and frazzled diplomats around U.N. headquarters can be quite disconcerting, even for relatively calm leaders,” Gowan said. “Trump may become irritable.”
Trump’s trip to New York City opens Monday when he and more than 120 world leaders attend a meeting on United Nations reform.
After that, Trump meets separately with French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One of their topics: Iran and the nuclear agreement reached by President Obama and U.S. allies in 2015.
The Trump administration has re-certified the Iran agreement, but Trump himself continues to claim that Tehran is violating “the spirit” of the agreement in which the Iranians give up the means to make nuclear weapons in exchange for reduction of sanctions by the U.S. and its allies.
On Monday evening, Trump will host a working dinner with Latin American leaders, with Venezuela’s problems as the main topic. As the chaos in Venezuela, including a government crackdown on civil liberties, threatens to spill over into neighboring countries, Trump has even spoken of “a military option.”
The president’s major speech to the general assembly comes Tuesday morning.
Over the course of U.N. week, Trump will also host a diplomatic reception have lunches with African leaders and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He also has roster of bilateral meetings with leaders of Slovakia, Qatar, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Turkey, Afghanistan and Ukraine. He is also expected to meet with the president of South Korea.
SOURCE: David Jackson