Balance of Power: Trump Aims to Make UN ‘Great’ in Debut Address

Tuesday will bring a steady flow of big speeches at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where world leaders will lay out their visions for humanity and address global crises from North Korea to Venezuela.

President Donald Trump plans a speech that will take North Korea and Iran to task, as well as countries he believes are enabling their nuclear and missile programs. Don’t expect a new “Axis of Evil” moment; the catchphrase for Trump will be “principled realism.”

Trump is just one of 37 leaders at the podium Tuesday. Middle East relations and the war in Syria will be in the spotlight as the heads of Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and Israel lay out their priorities. On the sidelines, French President Emmanuel Macron will present his case for the Paris climate change accord, which Trump has vowed to quit.

But all eyes will be on the U.S. president, back in the city where his fortune was made. Trump has put the UN on notice, vowing to cut U.S. contributions and challenging the global body to prove its value. Reprising a campaign slogan, Trump said, “The main message is ‘make the United Nations great.’ Not again. Just ‘make the United Nations great.’”

Trump waits for a dinner during the 72nd session UN General Assembly yesterday.

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Global Headlines

Obamacare repeal revived | Senate Republicans have just 12 days to assemble 50 votes for their last-ditch bid to repeal Obamacare, despite few details on how the proposal would work, what it would cost and how it would affect coverage. Even if Republicans manage to get it through the Senate by the Sept. 30 deadline, the House would have to accept it without changing a single comma.

Manafort wiretapped | U.S. investigators used secret court orders to wiretap former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort before and after the presidential election, CNN reported, adding that some of the communications prompted concern he encouraged Russian involvement. The revelation could multiply the thorny questions that Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Russia — former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. — faces on Tuesday in his Senate confirmation hearing.

Mattis warns on missiles | Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said recent North Korean missile launches didn't need to be shot down because they posed no direct threat to the U.S. or Japan. But he echoed Trump’s assertions that military options are on the table and warned Kim Jong Un that any threat to Guam — where American military bases are situated — or Japanese territory would “elicit a different response.”

Brexit row | U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempt to silence Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in the Brexit debate backfired as he gave an interview in which he openly discussed leaving office. As Robert Hutton and Tim Ross report, the strain has the potential to become explosive at a critical time for talks on Britian’s departure from the European Union and could damage them both with a potential showdown in New York.

A trader’s guide to Germany’s election | Chancellor Angela Merkel is the hot favorite to win Sunday’s election. But investors will be closely watching who she does a coalition deal with. As Bloomberg’s markets team explains, shares in Germany’s troubled car industry may benefit from another Grand Coalition. Berlin’s hip start-up scene could get a boost if Merkel does a deal with the business-friendly Free Democrats. Nor can a shock be ruled out. A strong showing for populist parties could make it hard for Merkel to command a majority and may prompt some traders to run for the exits.

And finally... Another beer festival in Asia has bitten the dust. After North Korea recently canceled its annual fiesta, Malaysia is following suit in nixing an event that drew more than 3,000 beer lovers last year. The early October festival, which would’ve featured 250 craft ales from 43 breweries worldwide, fell afoul of a hardline Muslim party that said it would turn Kuala Lumpur into “the largest vice center in Asia.” It’s the latest sign of religion creeping into public life in a country where all sides of politics will be seeking the Islamic vote at the next election. 

— With assistance by Kathleen Hunter, and Daniel Ten Kate

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