Trump administration: a worldwide embarrassment

By Josh Gaylord, For The Pitt News

The U.N. is typically a serious, respectful place — diplomats from around the world gather there to discuss highly influential foreign policy. But last month, the entire General Assembly broke out into throngs of derisive laughter — at our very own President, no less.

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 26, President Donald Trump claimed his administration has “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country” in foreign policy — but nothing could be further from the truth. Our foreign policy leadership is, quite literally, the laughing stock of the world — and Trump’s U.N. speech is merely an indication of that.

Since his surprising win in the 2016 presidential election, the president, his revolving-door Cabinet and his allies in Congress have pushed archaic and draconian policies and eroded long-standing political alliances.

Perhaps Trump’s most newsworthy foreign policy move was signing an executive order immediately after his inauguration in 2017, colloquially known as the “Muslim ban” — a 90-day moratorium on travelers from five Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.

“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific — but stupidly, that would not be politically correct,” Trump tweeted in response to London’s terrorist attack September 2017.

At least Trump got the “stupidly” part right — not only was this policy blatantly discriminatory, but also ineffective at combating terrorism. Eighty-five percent of domestic terrorists are U.S. citizens — they’re radicalized within our country’s borders, so vetting immigrants won’t keep Americans safe.

But even though immigration poses next to no security threat, Trump has still excoriated Chancellor Angela Merkel for upholding open-borders immigration policies in Germany, which threatens to undermine a previously solid alliance with the European power.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership,” Trump said. “Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

Clearly, Trump is destroying our credibility on the world stage — but he’s not the only one. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who on Oct. 9 announced she would resign by the end of the year, has only made matters worse.

When the U.N. proposed a resolution discouraging nations from building embassies in Jerusalem — due to the long-standing, often violent disagreements between Israel and Palestine — Haley vetoed the measure and moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, despite U.N. Security Council members outvoting her 14 to one.

“This is unacceptable and threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespects it,” a spokesperson for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said about the veto.

It certainly was unacceptable. Haley swept aside years of bloodshed and tense diplomatic negotiations in a poorly thought-out, unnecessary decision. But when it comes to making necessary decisions at the U.N. — ones that uphold basic human rights — Trump and Haley have been notably unwilling to get involved.

Most recently, the Trump Administration voted against a U.N. Human Rights Council’s resolution that condemned the use of the death penalty on LGBTQ+ individuals worldwide — this is a huge step backwards. Gay relationships are still punishable by death in 14 countries — and the United States is supposed to be working towards equality. The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015 — but the Trump Administration’s refusal to even condemn the killing of LGBTQ+ members is a slap in the face to gay people, not just in America, but across the globe.

In fact, the Trump Administration’s entire foreign policy is a slap in the face to any fair-minded, decent human being — and this should be a wakeup call for voters everywhere.

When Haley officially steps down at the end of this year, it falls on Congress to approve a new nominee for U.N. ambassador — and the upcoming Nov. 6 election is the perfect opportunity to elect representatives who will actually keep the president in check.

Based on all our foreign policy debacles in the past two years, it’s clear that something at the top needs to change. We may not be able to vote Trump out of office until 2020, but we can still take steps to control the damage he wreaks on our country — and the rest of the world.

Write to Josh at [email protected].