They all laughed

President Trump spoke to the United Nations General Assembly this morning. I have posted the video immediately below. Politico has posted a good transcript of the speech here.

I thought this was an excellent speech recapitulating the leading points of Trump’s reorientation of American foreign policy in favor of America’s friends and adversely to America’s foes. This foreign policy resists the encroachment of multilateral institutions and global governance on American sovereignty. Accordingly, Trump continues the great undoing of Obama’s foreign policy.

President Trump has assembled a national security dream team to pursue his foreign policy goals. He bragged in characteristic fashion about his accomplishments so far: “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America’s — so true. [Laughter] Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay. [Laughter and applause.]”

They can laugh all they want. As far as I am concerned, these are the good old days.

Iran presents as a leading case of the reorientation of American foreign policy. Whereas Obama sought to align American foreign policy with Iran and even to fund Iran’s imperial ambitions, President Trump has reversed course:

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran.

Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.

The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the people’s religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war. Not good.

Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the region’s [regime’s] agenda of aggression and expansion. That is why so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and re-impose nuclear sanctions.

The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen.

The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda. Last month, we began re-imposing hard-hitting nuclear sanctions that had been lifted under the Iran deal. Additional sanctions will resume November 5th, and more will follow. And we’re working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially.

We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America,” and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it.

Thank you, President Trump.

Toward the end of his speech I think President Trump indulged a relativism that retreats from proclaiming respect for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the standard of good government. It is the relativism incorporating a view of the world that Obama sought to inculcate in us. When President Trump bows in this direction (“Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland”), Trump meets Obama. This is a mistake.

The laughter that President Trump dealt with so gracefully at the top of his remarks reminded me of Ella Fitzgerald’s beautiful rendition of the Gershwin brothers’ number “They All Laughed.” Quotable quote: “Who’s got the last laugh now?”

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