The UN General Assembly is a place where world leaders tend to keep things refined and play it cool, but there are always some entertaining exceptions – and this year, French President Emmanuel Macron was happy to do the honors.
Banging his fist passionately on the rostrum, Macron warned that “nationalism always leads to defeat” in what was immediately understood to be a thinly veiled rebuke of US President Donald Trump, who had spoken shortly before him.
The speeches from the two leaders were quite literally worlds apart. Macron sounded the alarm about multilateralism and dialogue falling apart, which he said would lead “directly to isolation and conflict” to the detriment of everyone, “even in the end, those who thought they were strongest.” Meanwhile, Trump rejected a globalist ideology and promised never to surrender US sovereignty to an “unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy.”
It was the battle of the globalists v the nationalists – but was the French leader’s display enough to outdo one of the most notorious UN meltdowns?
READ MORE: A faded bromance? Macron hits out at Trump on Iran and trade
In 1960, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave an equally fiery speech from the UN podium about the dangers of global imperialism. Listening back to Khrushchev’s speech in a modern context, it still sounds remarkably up to date.
Waving his arms around dramatically, the Soviet leader railed against the West and warned that the US was the “the most imperialistic power, which supports colonial regimes” and that “all the sparrows [were] tweeting about it.” He said that the US had made violations of international law a “principle of deliberate state policy.”
Khrushchev’s speech turned out to be a little fierier in the media than in reality, however. A tale about Khrushchev taking off his shoe and banging it on the podium has become legend – but the absence of any video footage of it turns the incident into mere fake news.
In an interview with RT in 2011, Khrushchev’s son, Dr Sergei Khrushchev, said the fact that the incident had become legendary “showed the power of the media” and the fact that propaganda is so powerful that “you can believe in many things that never happened.”
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