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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/28/17

Spot the Difference: Trump and Obama, in Their Own Words

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On North Korea and Nuclear Weapons

For both Trump and Obama, war is a necessary evil, and only the US is capable of making the determination when such evil is to be applied. Neither seemed bothered by the fact that the US is only second to Russia in the number of its nuclear warheads, as it has stockpiled 6,800 nuclear weapons compared with North Korea's estimated 10-40 devices.

Obama (2016): "We cannot escape the prospect of nuclear war unless we all commit to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and pursuing a world without them ... When North Korea tests a bomb that endangers all of us. And any country that breaks this basic bargain must face consequences."

Trump (2017): "Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been " North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life ... The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."

On Russia and China

Once again, both Trump and Obama imposed themselves as guardians of a US-centric world order. Their perceptions of China and Russia, in particular, remained unchanged.

Obama (2016): "If Russia continues to interfere in the affairs of its neighbors, it may be popular at home, it may fuel nationalist fervor for a time, but over time it is also going to diminish its stature and make its borders less secure. In the South China Sea, a peaceful resolution of disputes offered by law will mean far greater stability than the militarization of a few rocks and reefs."

Trump (2017): "We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea."

On Palestine and Israel

Both presidents were quite supportive of Israel. In his speech, Trump did not mention the words "Palestine" or "the Palestinians." He only mentioned Israel in the context of an alleged Iranian threat to destroy it.

On the other hand, Obama's first UN speech promised the reactivation of the defunct "peace process." In his last speech, he commenced his rhetoric by blaming Palestinians, although spoke of Israeli responsibility, as well. However, Obama had given Israel more money than any other president in history.

Obama (2009): "I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected."

Obama (2016): "Surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land."

Trump (2017): "..."

On Interventionism, US Exceptionalism

Both presidents provided a romantic depiction of their country's interventionist role in world affairs. Again, much self-admiration and no responsibility whatsoever.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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