I’ve been a witness to the way the world processes American political dialogue. As a young speechwriter, I was puzzled when my boss erased an applause line that could have been misinterpreted overseas. When I arrived at the State Department, I learned he was right: foreign diplomats consume our news voraciously. A great line in Dubuque might not be worth the headache in Dubai. The whole world always watches America’s elections, but few will keep them glued to their televisions like the one on Nov. 6, when voters go to the polls in congressional midterm elections.
The traditional scripts were flipped during Tuesday’s dueling addresses by U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly – the second of the Trump presidency. That should trouble anyone who cares not just about the United States’ global standing, but about the prospects for multilateral diplomacy to address the world’s very real problems with Tehran.
Donald Trump may soon learn that revising history can come back to haunt him - especially as he approaches his own historic reckoning on North Korea. On Tuesday, with France’s President Emmanuel Macron looking on in the Oval Office, the U.S. president again smeared the Iran nuclear deal as “insane” and “ridiculous” and criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for not wanting to address Iran’s regional misdeeds because doing so “was too complicated.”