In light of Trump’s recent visit to China and some of the comments that have been made, it seems appropriate to revisit some of his prior speeches. Looking back, it may be possible to trace a historicity of the President’s motivations and how it is indicative of a global issue.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, President Trump, while addressing the current political climate between the U.S. and North Korea at the United Nationals General Assembly, is quoted as saying “Rocket Man [Kim Jong-un] is on a suicide mission.”
“If [the United States] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he told world leaders, causing a stir in the hallowed hall of diplomacy.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
During the same speech mocking the leader of North Korea, President Trump also took the chance to speak out against Iran, claiming it as a “corrupt dictatorship” that was determined to dismantle the Middle East. Trump also criticized the Obama-era nuclear policy, assuring Iran that it “[has not] heard the last of it.”
This speech ultimately works towards Trump’s seemingly isolationist agenda—the platform that won him the election in many aspects.
This hardline stance, matched with a lack of nuance or professionalism, seems to detract from the United States’ positioning in the globalized community. Much like a teenager going through their rebellious stage, the U.S., through Trump, is lashing out for independence and recognition of its greatness.
This notion is contradicted by President Trump’s comments while visiting China in the past few weeks. His “chemistry” with the Chinese President Xi Jinping comes as both a red flag and a security blanket for American ideas. The message that this sends is that Trump is no longer certain of America’s economic stability in its own right, and would rather compromise the principles he rallied his base for in the election to secure a future for Americans. However, what this leaves desired is the future for a truly independent America. What is of greatest import to the Republican base is American ideals and their expression. Trump has been the embodiment of these “true ideals” to his base, and is looked to assert them confidently and shamelessly.
Ultimately, this need to assert American ideals and its position as a major world power comes from a place much deeper than immigration issues or marginalized groups. The struggle is occurring across the world—Britain leaving the European Union, voter fraud in Africa forcing re-elections and the current unrest amongst Americans all point to one thing: there is a new global paradigm.
Just like the shift in journalism being purely objective following The New York Times publishing Trump’s lies on their front page during the political campaign, so too do we see a global struggle for identity and sovereignty in what is an increasingly interconnected world.
One need not look further than the Arab Spring to see the political impacts of technology.
To speculate, interconnected societies are a fact of modern society. However, through its implementation, globalization has created the need to feel nationalistic. Thus, the advent of social media and technology may have inadvertently set us down a path of tension amongst nations.
These ties, albeit seemingly compromising to national identities, are growing pains that will inevitably end. The digital economy and social media have all but ensured the countries will become increasingly codependent, and as the global community adapts, so too will cultural identities.
Alexander Breth is a fourth-year student majoring in English writings track. He can be reached at AB835895@wcupa.edu.