Balance of Power: Ever More Isolated Trump Goes ‘Rogue’ on Iran

The Clinton administration once called countries that defied international norms “rogue states.” Iran’s president is throwing that epithet back at the U.S., faulting “rogue newcomers to the world of politics” who are “unfit to be heard in the UN.”

Hassan Rouhani didn’t mention Donald Trump by name during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, but the target was clear.

During three days in New York, Trump has done what U.S. enemies have sought for decades: align Iran, the European Union and other major powers against him. All oppose his desire to revisit or nix the Iran nuclear accord.

Trump’s team is hinting that’s what he plans to do, saying he’s made up his mind but won’t tell anyone yet.

Allies are apoplectic. After a lengthy closed-door meeting on the matter, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini ran out of patience. Asked if the U.S. was committed to the deal, she replied: “another question.”

Even worse for Trump, the accord is being touted as a recipe for success, with France suggesting it could be a template for dealing with North Korea’s weapons program. Rather than leaving Iran out in the cold, Trump is the one now looking isolated.

Rouhani arriving to address the 72nd UN General Assembly yesterday.
Photographer: ANGELA WEISS/AFP

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Global Headlines

Shifting alliances | President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is ready to send more troops into Syria, where it’s working with Russia to bring an end to more than six years of civil war. In an interview with Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Erdogan said his country, a NATO member, had extensive talks on the issue with the U.S. during the Obama administration, “but couldn’t get any results.”

Collateral damage in China | China’s eastern border regions with North Korea, already hit by a decline in mining and manufacturing, are now being hurt by sanctions against Pyongyang. Bloomberg reporters who traveled to the area found residents more worried about feeding their families than nuclear war, as factories close and work dries up. As Xi Jinping prepares for a leadership reshuffle next month, he’ll be keen to avoid further economic damage and potential social unrest in the region.

China ratings downgrade | Adding to Xi’s problems before the Communist Party congress, ratings agency S&P Global Ratings today cut its grade on Chinese debt to A-plus from AA-minus over concern about soaring credit growth. It’s an untimely blow to Xi’s credentials as an economic manager and sent credit-default swaps on China higher.

May’s big Brexit speech | With a day to go before U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote speech on Brexit in Florence, Bloomberg’s Tim Ross has the inside scoop on her thinking at this point. May is weighing whether to finally concede that Britain may have to pay the EU a “Brexit bill” totaling tens of billions of pounds. Doing so would be a move designed to kick-start the divorce negotiations but could also spark a backlash from her own party.

Merkel’s green credentials | Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to steer Germany toward greener energy hasn’t stopped a boom in demand for dirty coal. Brian Parkin and Weixin Zha report on how she plans to fine-tune a shift toward cleaner energy if she wins a fourth term as chancellor after Sunday’s election. Click here for everything you need to know about the vote.

Defending globalization | With Trump espousing his “America First” approach at the UN, political and business leaders across town yesterday championed open markets and globalization. “Trade leads to growth. That’s the story of our world over the past centuries, and that’s a good thing,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum. Alibaba Group Holding Chairman Jack Ma said countries should embrace job-creating technology rather than mourn the loss of manufacturing. “We should not talk about made in China, made in America,” he said. “It’s going to be made in the Internet.”

And finally... Trump’s new “Rocket Man” nickname for Kim Jong Un was shrugged off by a North Korean regime infamous for its own fire-and-brimstone propaganda. Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, said he feels sorry for Trump’s aides and then got in a barb of his own, comparing Trump’s rhetoric with “the sound of a dog barking.”

Kim has and exchange with an advisor during a parade at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square in May 2016. 
Photographer: The Washington Post via Getty Images
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