Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Bland UN Statements from
Trump and Putin at UN

October 5, 2020 --

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both opened their pre-recorded statements in the General Assembly's opening day of debate, September 22, by taking note of the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis, and of the establishment of the UN. 

President Trump then blamed China for what he called the "China virus" and predicted vaccines to counter the virus will soon be developed. He also highlighted what he saw as American successes on the global stage, including withdrawal from the nuclear arms deal with Iran, getting NATO members to pay their "fair share," and promoting peace between Serbia and Kosovo and also between Israel and United Arab Emirates. He indicated pride in having "rejected the failed approaches of the past" and in putting America first, advising the other UN members to put their countries first, too.   

He expressed confidence that next year "we" will assemble "in-person" and during "one of the greatest years in our history...."

Both presidents called for UN action against drug-trafficking and terrorism.  Where President Trump expressed pride in the U.S. military as reaching its strongest levels, adding the hope that it never has to be used, President Putin called for extension of the Russian-U.S. Strategic Arms Treaty, due to expire February 2021. 

He also said that Russia is ready agree to a moratorium on the deployment of ground-launched medium and short-range missiles, and is waiting to hear from the U.S. and its allies.  Agreeing that innovation is needed to deal with the pandemic crisis, including advanced digital technology, he said that Russia is willing to offer free vaccinations to the UN staff and offices.  Mr. Putin also called for the UN to give serious deliberation to cybersecurity.   

The two presidents also indicated different views of the World Health Organization, Mr. Trump   charging that WHO is under Chinese influence, Mr.  Putin saying that it is part of the UN system.  President Putin also called for an end to restrictions on world trade, including "illegitimate sanctions" to revitalize global groth and reduce unemployment.  Mr. Putin vigorously defended the vetoes held by the five permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States.  

The speeches in the opening debate in the General Assembly had to be short on specifics; each statement was to be 15 minutes in length.  (President Putin spoke for 19 minutes and 15 seconds.)  The name General Assembly and the fact of virtual presentations this 75th session seem to be a kind of oxymoron, however.