The significance of this crown has been in a precarious position since the day he was elected, but on Tuesday he unambiguously presented the doctrine by which he is guided and which is predicated, first and foremost, on the policy of “America First.”
Unlike his previous speeches, which were interspersed with fractured and impromptu sentences which bore no correlation with his world view and which were animated with screams, on Tuesday he placed things silently on the table to remove any doubts whatsoever about his position. He is against globalism, he is opposed to foreign assistance unless the US can reap a tangible benefit. He is an advocate of protectionism and a staunch defender of America’s sovereignty.
Rather than addressing those in the General Assembly chamber, Trump’s speech was intended for domestic consumption and for his political support base. On the outskirts of Pennsylvania and in the villages of Ohio, residents could hear a fiery speech in which their president kicks the world’s behind and gives them what they have always wanted—an isolationist America surrounded by great oceans, and to hell with the rest of the world.
The old American ethos was built upon the idea that the US assists the world not only out of compassion as a rich country but also out of a desire to promote values of liberty and democracy. It is based on the understanding that this assistance can advance the position of patriots who are struggling in other countries and to bring them closer to the US out of gratitude and recognition of its status as a global leader.
America supported globalization because that was more or less the solution, albeit imperfect, to help the poor, to give an opportunity to those who have never been given one. On Tuesday, on the UN General Assembly podium, the president promoted not Americanism, but Trumpism. In his speech, which was full of passages that sounded like they were written by right-wing propagandists, he presented the new America in a defiant manner—the America that does not extend a helping hand, but rather a clenched fist which the world will slap away.
The speech was not without its embarrassing moment at the beginning when the world showed Trump what they thought of him. The American president boasted that in less than two years he managed to accomplish more than any other president before him. The laughs were indeed restrained, but Trump heard it. However, for him it doesn't matter. He has created a bubble for himself and believes that whatever he thinks about himself is the reality. After all, he does not care about the world, he is focused on the midterm elections scheduled for November and he knows that they will serve as a litmus test, or referendum on his performance.
The UNGA speech was intended as a rally cry to his supporters and to remind them why they love him. He is the one who can threaten Iran with more sanctions. He is the one who can say that Rouhani asked to meet with him only to be refused, even though Rouhani said on the same day that Trump was the one who sought to meet with him—eight times.
But what is the truth when it is all fake news anyway and his supporters say in the polls that they are unperturbed when the president lies.
For the first time, Trump laid out a clear political position that will distance the US from the world. In Israel, many were overjoyed when he transferred the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, but when America forfeits its position as the world’s leader, it is the worst thing that can happen to Israel. It means that America is weak among the family of nations and that someone else will step in to gain control and steer the vehicle of leadership in a new direction, leaving Trump as little more than an angry sheriff in its tracks.