Absence of World Leaders Symbolizes Deep Division

As criticism, mainly by non-Democratic world leaders, is poured heavily on President Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly yesterday, other notable figures offered praise for the president’s bold courage. John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, remarked that the speech before the UN was the best of the Trump presidency; while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the speech as the most courageous in thirty years.

But notably absent were the leaders of Germany, Mexico, China, Russia, and Venezuela leading one to wonder whether they share Trump’s vision of a future where proud, independent nations embrace responsibility towards their citizens, seek friendship, and respect the sovereignty of other nations.

Regarding Germany, one may point out that a great number of German citizens feel betrayed by the erosion of the country’s economy by a sudden, heavy influx of refugees. Just as Germany completes many years of economic absorption of the former East German block, German citizens are called upon for moral, compassionate, and, most importantly, financial solidarity. This weekend’s elections in Germany are forecasting remarkable gains for Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) party while Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party are expected to remain in power.

What’s to say about Mexico’s absence? Certainly, the leaked phone call transcript didn’t improve relations between our two countries; however, much can be said about the extractive institutions that remain in Mexico as relics of Spanish colonialism. These institutions have privileged the ruling class while neglecting the needs of the majority for prosperity, security, opportunity, and equality. One can’t blame Mexican emigrants for seeking a better future across the border, but now is the time to recognize the distinct failure on the part of the country’s leadership to create stability, transparency, and, crucially, an environment of hope for its citizens.

The absence of China and Russia comes as no surprise. As is well documented, it is thanks to the two communist countries’ economic and idealogical support that North Korea is quickly moving toward the fulfillment of its ultimate goal, putting the security of the region and the world in grave jeopardy.

Criticism of Trump’s tough rhetoric concerning North Korea, on the other hand, only serves to underscore the urgency required of the UN to deal with the nuclear belligerence of the rogue state. North Korea’s actions are destabilizing the region as they have broken every commitment to the imposed sanctions with the help of some of the aformentioned absent world leaders.

Also unsurprising was Venezuela’s absence. President Trump’s harsh words regarding the Maduro regime were relatively expected. As the people of Venezuela literally starve at the hands of oppressive socialist rulers, Trump had no choice but to highlight the contempt for democracy and human rights that the Venezuelan regime exercises against its own people. While status-quo politics of past decades would require reality to be sugarcoated by means of implicit hints and political jargon, it seems the role for yesterday’s abrasiveness is to shake things up and take action.

President Trump’s speech was, indeed, one of the most valiant addresses before the UN in many years. Previous decades of business-as-usual have put all citizens of the world, to varying degrees, on a path of uncertainty, division, and instability. Now is the time for the UN to rise up to its commitments.

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