WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump in his maiden annual speech at State of the Union suggested that it was a mistake for the country to send money to countries that vote against its positions at the United Nations.
Speaking at the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, the president said he reorganized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel just a month before after it was endorsed by the Senate Unanimously.
Recalling the major setback, Trump said dozens of countries voted in the UN General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition. He said, “American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year”.
“That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends”.
Trump, who did not discuss anything about Pakistan in his speech, in his outlandish on Jan 1 bragged about $33 billion aid to Pakistan over a span of 15 years. Later, the US administration halted assistance to the country, citing Pakistan’s alleged ties with terror outfits.
In fact, this move came after 128 countries including Pakistan adopted a resolution calling on the US to reverse its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
However, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Jan 3 tried to clarify that withholding aid to Pakistan was not linked to Islamabad’s support for the General Assembly resolution regarding Jerusalem.
It “has nothing to do with the vote on Jerusalem. It is entirely connected to Pakistan’s harbouring of terrorists,” she said.
But it is yet to ascertain whether Trump is right or Haley spoke Truth.
‘New American Moment’
The president in his speech also put a focus on prosperity, rebuilding, and cooperation, proclaiming a “New American Moment”.
“There has never been a better time to start living the American dream,” Trump said. “I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be.”
“Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses – many of them thousands of dollars per worker,” Trump said.
Trump said: “Tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed”.
“As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad,” the president said.
Guantanamo Bay prison
Trump in his speech said that he directed the defence secretary, James Mattis, “to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay”.
“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil,” Trump said. “When possible, we have no choice but to annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.”
He added: “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield – including the Isis leader, al-Baghdadi, who we captured but who we had who we release.”