Socialist Worker

Trump's chilling speech at UN makes threats of nuclear war

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2573

War monger in chief Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” at the United Nations (UN) last night, Tuesday.

His Tory allies in 10 Downing Street further raised the prospect of war arguing “it would be wrong to rule anything out”. 

Trump’s grandstanding has brought the world closer to the possibility of nuclear war than at any time during the last 50 years.

After the speech, Trump tweeted that in some circumstances, “We will have no choice to destroy #NoKo.” 

In the run up to the speech White House officials had told reporters that Trump was working hard on the speech and considering the "deeply philosophical" elements.

But it was just a crude assertion of the US's right to bomb who it pleases and a rant against the idea that there is any alternative to a world of rampant capitalism and bullying powers.

He said, "The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

"From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure."

In reality it is capitalism that creates poverty, war and destructive climate change. 

Trump is using North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons programme as a distraction from his unpopularity at home and as cover to assert US power in Asia.

“North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life,” he said. But it is Trump who says he could destroy North Korea, a country of 25 million people.

In an indication of his contempt for democracy, he went on to say, "From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians."

His chilling speech was aimed at China, the US’s main imperialist rival in the region. “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world,” he said. 

While seeing North Korea as a loose-cannon, the Chinese ruling class is backing the regime that’s a buffer between it and 29,000 US troops in South Korea. China has backed UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea, but is continuing to trade with the regime. 

Ramping up pressure on North Korea only spurs on the regime’s pursuit of a powerful nuclear arsenal. Knowing its weak position in relation to other capitalist powers, Kim Jong-un thinks a bomb will strengthen his hand on the world stage.

Ratchet 

Trump went on to ratchet up tensions with the Iranian regime. Former US president Barack Obama had previously brokered a deal with the regime that limited its nuclear weapons development programme.

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There is no evidence the regime has restarted that programme. But Trump said, “It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction.” 

This was a message that the US intends to reassert itself in the Middle East after its disastrous defeat in the Iraq War. To try and do this Trump will back Israel, US imperialism’s watchdog in the region, to the hilt. 

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont said Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu “could have written the section on Iran”.

Netanyahu heaped praise onto Trump’s speech. “In my more than 30 years at the UN, I have never heard such a brave and clear speech,” he said. “President Trump told the truth about the world’s lurking dangers.” 

Trump’s threats to North Korea and Iran are real—this is not just a stand-off between two deeply unpleasant rulers. It flows from the US competing with rival imperialist powers for global dominance. 

We have to build opposition to Trump and his ally Theresa May—and fight to overturn a system that would risk millions of lives for their interests.


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