Balance of Power: Trump Joins the ‘Good Time’ Club

Donald Trump may be a New Yorker, but no one expected him to a be friend of the United Nations. He once called the global body, which hosts 200 world leaders at its General Assembly this week, a “club” for people who want to “have a good time,” and he’s sought deep cuts in U.S. contributions.

But eight months into his presidency, Trump and his UN envoy, Nikki Haley, have found some use for the bureaucracy in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay, even forging an alliance with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to scale back troubled peacekeeping missions.

Look for Trump, Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to be active this week, working through a list of vexing problems. On North Korea, the U.S. wants to maintain a united front at the Security Council in favor of ever-toughening sanctions on Kim Jong Un’s regime.

There’s also the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudi-led isolation of Qatar, Venezuela’s collapse, Syria’s war and the tragedy of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

Trump will be in the thick of much of it. “He slaps the right people, he hugs the right people,” Haley said Friday, previewing the week ahead. That’s what many people expect from Donald Trump. They’re just surprised he’ll be doing it at the UN.

Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

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Global Headlines

Paris accord boost | Signals that the U.S. is considering re-engaging in the landmark Paris climate change agreement come as Europe and China are said to be stepping up their coordination in the battle against global warming. Tillerson said yesterday that Trump could reverse his previous decision to abandon the climate accord “under the right conditions.”

Chinese concession? | President Xi Jinping may have a valuable prize to offer Trump when the two meet in November: greater access to the $40 trillion financial industry. China’s central bank is drafting rules to allow more foreign investment in the protected industry, Bloomberg reports today, a possible step toward addressing a perennial complaint of the U.S. and other trading partners. 

Macron’s muscles | French President Emmanuel Macron may have devoted most of his energy so far to the economy and the euro area, but re-establishing the country’s traditional postwar position is another part of his plan. Gregory Viscusi looks at how Macron intends to show France can still punch its weight. 

Ending the rift | The Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers say they’re ready to make concessions to end the 10-year Palestinian feud, and have invited the West Bank-based government to extend its authority to the territory they control. Gaza’s dire economic situation may be fueling this latest overture, which doesn’t address issues that have scuttled previous reunification attempts – including what would happen to thousands of security forces loyal to Hamas. 

Not so golden | Private Conservative polling shows British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson might not be the savior that his supporters think he is to take over 10 Downing Street from Theresa May. The research features in a forthcoming book on the June vote, Betting the House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election, by Bloomberg’s Tim Ross and Tom McTague, from Politico. 

And finally... Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue at the Television Academy awards last night unsurprisingly included lots of Trump jokes. But it was his decision to have Sean Spicer join him on stage that drew the biggest laughs. The former White House press secretary made his entrance behind a podium that looked like the one Saturday Night Live used to poke fun at him, and declared “this will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys — period.”

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