new York For the third year in a row, US President Donald Trump is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This time he is so confident on the international stage, so confident of his course as ever. He has got to know "very, very many" statesmen in recent years, said Trump at the start of the meeting on Monday. "And you know everyone," he addressed his audience. "If not, do not do your job well," he joked.
Trump visibly enjoyed the four-eye talks, the photos, the shaking hands. He met with the heads of state and government of Pakistan, Poland, New Zealand, Egypt and South Korea. Single dates, as was once again clear in New York, he prefers collective events in a large circle.
Also at the climate summit at the beginning of the week, attended by 60 countries, the US stayed away from Brazil and Australia, in contrast to Chancellor Angela Merkel, India's Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump appeared as a visitor for fifteen minutes spontaneously when Modi and Merkel spoke. But then he went back to an event on religious freedom, which hosted the US government at the same time.
Nobody wanted to talk about an affront in New York. Finally, Trump's conferences on climate change stay away more often, most recently at the G7 summit in August. A greater commitment was simply not expected.
With the urge for worldwide freedom of religion, the US president is likely to score more points in his base: well over a year before the presidential elections, Trump trusts the encouragement of Christian evangelicals.
Merkel, Johnson, Macron: Iran responsible for oil attacks
The demarcation of the US is not only clear on the subject of climate: The biggest controversy at the UN meeting revolves around the Iran crisis and the question of whether the world community can agree on a minimum consensus.
The conflict between the United States and Iran had recently worsened considerably. Trump had renounced the international nuclear deal JCPOA in 2018, followed by a round of sanction after another against Tehran. Suspected Iranian attacks on oil tankers and American transfers of troops fuel fears of military confrontation.
Last week, Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure was attacked by drones, and the United States accused Iran of its perpetrators after 24 hours. The international response to the allegations was initially cautious. But now the European allies of the US government are coming to terms with their assessment: Germany, France and the United Kingdom published a statement on Monday, blaming Iran for the attacks.
It is the first time that Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have come together to make such a clear and concise statement. There was "no other explanation" for the attacks, the three politicians said, warning Tehran of another "provocation". At the same time, however, they underlined "the need for de-escalation through continued diplomatic efforts and the commitment of all concerned".
What follows from the initiative is unclear for the moment. For as closed Germany, France and Great Britain also appeared: The differences within Europe are open in view of the Iran issue. Just hours ahead of the joint statement, Britain pushed ahead and called for a new nuclear deal with Iran. Johnson seemed once again to contradict France and Germany, who want to maintain the existing agreement despite the US withdrawal.
However, Johnson said in the statement with Paris and Berlin on the need for JCPOA. At Trump, however, Johnson's push at that point had already met with great interest. "He's very smart, I like him a lot," Trump said of the British PM. "Exactly because of such suggestions he is a winner, he will be very successful."
Europe under pressure
The US government will probably not be able to persuade transatlantic partners of a common deterrent strategy against Iran. So far, efforts are straining for an international coalition. For the time being, France and Germany do not want to commit to the so-called "Operation Sentinel", a US-led military mission to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf.
Washington's goal at the UN meeting is to make the world aware that the drone attack has hit not only Saudi Arabia but the international community. In fact, the attacks highlighted the vulnerability of the oil supply, and oil prices soared globally.
The hope for rapprochement between Washington and Teheran should not be fulfilled soon. A meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Ruhani in New York is ruled out.
Ruhani wants to speak on Wednesday in the general debate. In advance, he said the sanctions showed a "state of absolute despair" in the US. Verbal disarmament sounds different, and the US is also making no attempt to ease the situation. After the drone attacks Trump had declared that the US stood ready with a loaded weapon.
Trump's big performance on Tuesday
The US President is likely to reaffirm his allegations on Tuesday morning when he speaks in the UN general debate. "The Iranian leaders are sowing chaos, death and destruction," he had shouted at the lecture last year.
An own speech by Merkel has not been announced, her core message in New York was dedicated to climate change. The Chancellor said at the climate summit that the industrialized countries had caused the crisis and "the commitment to put our technology, our best knowledge and our finances in the fight against global warming". She presented the Federal Government's controversial climate package in Germany and agreed to double the financial contributions to the climate protection fund.
"We have heard the wake-up call of the youth," she said, meeting with Greta Thunberg on the sidelines of the climate summit. The 16-year-old Swedish activist sailed across the ocean to New York, performing with the biggest climate protests in the US so far, speaking with members of Congress and ex-president Barack Obama.
In a furious speech, Thunberg denounced now meager progress in the fight against climate change. "How dare you? You stole my dreams and my childhood with empty words, "she said in New York. Together with 15 other young activists, she announced a lawsuit against the world's largest CO2 producers, namely Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey.
But in the Federal Government came the appearance of the Swede also mildly contradictory. Development Minister Gerd Müller, who also traveled to New York, fought against the impression that climate protection had not been a priority so far. He recalled the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement. "Climate protection does not start with Greta Thunberg," he said.
More: Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to celebrate climate package in front of the world community of Germany. But the US President has his own plans – and invites to a parallel event.