World leaders convene in Manhattan to air grievances

On 18 September, the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly opened in New York City. Described as one of the six principal organs of the UN, the General Assembly gives the opportunity for representatives from the 193-member countries to take to the podium, where most call out their rivals and tout their accomplishments.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech which reaffirmed globalism in spite of serious doubts that many across the world have in response to the financial crisis of 2008, ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, and automation of jobs. In what some viewed as a rebuke of US President Donald Trump, she warned against the pitfalls of extremism on both the left and right, decrying nationalism, authoritarianism and corruption, and advocating for the importance of a free and independent press. Mrs May also mentioned Russia and the Salisbury chemical attacks in March, with the suggestion that there’s ‘a better way to meet the concerns of our people’.

She continued to champion globalisation, declaring, ‘only global cooperation based on a set of agreed rules can ensure competition is fair and does not succumb to protectionism, with its certain path to lost jobs and international confrontation’. This quote is particularly ironic considering Mrs May’s country’s impending separation from the European Union in six months, but could be interpreted as a jab at the so-called “hard Brexit” wing of her party.

Mr Trump used his time at the podium to talk about Iran. “The Iranian regime exports violence, terror, and turmoil”, he said, vowing the US would ensure that Iran would never achieve a nuclear ballistic missile, despite pulling the US out of the Iranian Nuclear Deal in May. However, he did thank Russia and Iran for slowing down their attack on the city of Idlib in Syria, the last rebel stronghold.

The President also inspired laughter at the UNGA after boasting ‘my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country’. When the laughter interrupted him, he conceded with a chuckle, ‘didn’t expect that reaction, but it’s okay!’


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Mason Bosworth

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January 2022
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