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My job is not to represent the world but to put America’s interests first, says US President Donald Trump

On international commerce, Trump said he believed in free trade but brought up his criticism that it was not currently fair and led to loss of millions of American jobs

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Washington, March 1, 2017: Stepping away from decades of US insistence on engineering the world according to its perceptions, President Donald trump said his job is not to represent the world but to put America’s interests first while respecting the right of nations to chart their own course.

In his annual State of the Union Address to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, Trump said: “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the US.”

Presenting a gentler version of his America First policy, he said Washington will “respect the sovereign rights of nations”.

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“Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path,” he said.

“But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more.”

Instead of isolationism, the President said: “Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world.”

For this, he said: “America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict.”

As for American leadership, he said it will be “based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe”.

These elements of his emerging foreign policy mark a break from previous Democratic and Republican administrations’ policy of nation-building and exporting democracy.

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In practice, though, these policy claims mired the US in wars even as they exposed the hypocrisy of supporting dictatorial regimes where it suited the economic or foreign policy interests.

Tuesday’s speech also toned down the strident ‘America First’ agenda that he presented at his inaugural address on January 20.

But he reiterated his promise “to demolish and destroy” the Islamic State, which he described as “a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs”.

“We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,” he said.

While offering continued support to the NATO and other allies in an attempt to allay fears, Trump reiterated his condition they should meet their share of the financial obligations.

“And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that,” he asserted.

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 “We expect our partners, whether in NATO, in the Middle East, or the Pacific — to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost.”

On international commerce, Trump said he believed in free trade but brought up his criticism that it was not currently fair and led to loss of millions of American jobs.

“I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers, be taken advantage of anymore,” he said.

“I am going to bring back millions of jobs. We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.” (IANS)

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U.S. Appeals Court Refuses To Enforce Asylum Ban On Immigrants

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Asylum, Trump
A migrant family from Central America waits outside the Annunciation House shelter in El Paso, Texas, after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer drops them off. VOA

A divided U.S. appeals court late Friday refused to immediately allow the Trump administration to enforce a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The ban is inconsistent with an existing U.S. law and an attempted end-run around Congress, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 decision.

“Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office,” 9th Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, a nominee of Republican President George W. Bush, wrote for the majority.

Refugees, Migrants, Asylum seekers, Trump
Men line up for dinner outside a shelter housing members of the migrant caravan, in Tijuana, Mexico. VOA

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, Steven Stafford, did not have comment. But he referred to an earlier statement that called the asylum system broken and said the department looked forward to “continuing to defend the Executive Branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border.”

Trump proclamation

At issue is President Donald Trump’s Nov. 9 proclamation that barred anyone who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between official ports of entry from seeking asylum. Trump issued the proclamation in response to caravans of migrants approaching the border.

A lower court judge temporarily blocked the ban and later refused to immediately reinstate it. The administration appealed to the 9th Circuit for an immediate stay of Judge Jon Tigar’s Nov. 19 temporary restraining order.

In a dissenting opinion Friday, 9th Circuit Judge Edward Leavy said the administration “adopted legal methods to cope with the current problems rampant at the southern border.” Nothing in the law the majority cited prevented a rule categorically barring eligibility for asylum on the basis of how a person entered the country, Leavy, a nominee of Republican President Ronald Reagan, said.

Refugees, Migrants, Asylum seekers, Trump
Honduran migrant Genesis Belen Mejia Flores, 7, waves an American flag at U.S. border control helicopters flying overhead near the Benito Juarez Sports Center serving as a temporary shelter for Central American migrants, in Tijuana, Mexico. VOA

Federal law is clear

In his Nov, 19 ruling, Tigar sided with legal groups who argued that federal law is clear that immigrants in the U.S. can request asylum regardless of whether they entered legally.

The president “may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” the judge said in his order.

Also Read: Refugees’ Entitled To Claim The Right To Asylum in The U.S: U.N.

The ruling led to an unusual public dispute between Trump and Chief Justice John Roberts after Trump dismissed Tigar — an appointee of Trump’s predecessor — as an “Obama judge.”

Roberts responded with a statement that the federal judiciary doesn’t have “Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” (VOA)