On September 24th, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross fell asleep during US President Donald Trump’s speech at the 74th United Nations General Assembly. Wilbur Ross does have a history of actually falling asleep during speeches.
A former Commerce Department adviser told Politico in July 2019 that Ross had a reputation for falling asleep.
“Because he tends to fall asleep in meetings, they try not to put him in a position where that could happen so they’re very careful and conscious about how they schedule certain meetings. There’s a small window where he’s able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep.”
The topics Trump covered included: unfair trade, imbalanced defense spending, illegal immigration and socialism. No surprises there.
“The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” Trump said in the most defining quote of his 30-something minute speech.
He criticized Iran, saying that the people in Iran deserve a government that cares about them and about providing them with jobs. According to Trump, four decades of failure were enough and the Islamic Republic deserved a government that didn’t focus on threatening other countries, but rather building up its own.
He called Iran’s regime one of the “greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations” and urged nations not to “subsidize Iran’s bloodlust.”
He then said that the US was ready to “embrace friendship with those who seek it” and it “never believed in permanent enemies.”
“America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can seek peace,” he said.
Trump also took a shot at Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro in his speech, calling him a “dictator” and a “Cuban puppet.”
Trump then turned to China, listing his ever-increasing list of complaints.
He spoke of China’s “massive market barriers,” product dumping practices and forced technology transfers. Trump condemned the World Trade Organization for failing to force China into making its economy more liberal and called for “drastic change” in the international trade system.
The second largest economy on the planet shouldn’t be allowed to declare itself a developing country, at the expense of others, Trump said.
Trump essentially said nothing new, or interesting, which led to Wilbur Ross falling asleep, with most other world leaders seeming completely uninterested in what he had to say.
Separately, the US, in the face of Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan led more than 30 countries in expressing condemnation of what was allegedly going on in China’s Xinjiang province.
In US words, China was carrying out a “horrific campaign of repression” against ethnic Uighurs in the province.
Sullivan said the United Nations and its member states had “a singular responsibility to speak up when survivor after survivor recounts the horrors of state repression.”
“We invite others to join the international effort to demand and compel an immediate end to China’s horrific campaign of repression,” he said. “History will judge the international community for how we respond to this attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
So far, at the UNGA one thing is becoming apparent – the US struggle for relevance, and it appears to rather be failing in the endeavor.
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