- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2019

President Trump kicked off the U.N. General Assembly in New York by flaunting his dealmaking abilities on the world stage, saying he should get the Nobel Prize for “a lot of things” and taking a victory lap over a long-awaited deal to ease travel between the U.S. and Poland.

Mr. Trump fixated on the Nobel Prize during a sit-down with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said the U.S. should flex its influence with the U.N. Security Council to ease suffering in the contested region of Kashmir. A Pakistani reporter said Mr. Trump could win the prize for settling a dispute over the territory between India and Pakistan.

“I think I’m going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things — if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump has spoken about the prize a number of times, leading pundits to believe it is another place where Mr. Trump would like to one-up his predecessor.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its peace prize to President Obama in 2009, citing his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”



“They gave one to Obama immediately upon his ascent to the presidency, and he had no idea why he got it. And you know what? That was the only thing I agreed with him on,” Mr. Trump said in front of Mr. Khan.

Mr. Trump made a similar remark about Mr. Obama in February. At the time, Mr. Trump argued that he, too, deserved the Nobel Prize for his work in Syria and North Korea.

But “with me, I probably will never get it,” he said during the Feb. 15 news conference in the White House Rose Garden.

Mr. Trump has received some support from friends in Asia.

Earlier this year, Mr. Trump said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated him for his work on peace between North Korea and South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April 2018 also said Mr. Trump deserved the prize for reaching out to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, though Mr. Trump is still trying to secure a denuclearization deal on the Korean Peninsula.

In addition to Mr. Moon and Mr. Khan, Mr. Trump met with the leaders of Egypt, New Zealand, Poland and Singapore during his first day at the United Nations. He is set to address the General Assembly on Tuesday morning.

That speech likely will focus on his response to Iranian aggression, though Mr. Trump said he would like to play peacemaker in Kashmir, a region that has been the source of tension between Pakistan and India since the middle of the 20th century.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stripped the Muslim-majority region of its autonomous status, raising tensions with Pakistan.

Kashmir residents have complained of security forces patrolling the streets, making them fearful to leave their homes, and say communication systems have been shut down or limited.

“It’s a complex issue, and it’s been going on for a long time. But if they are both willing, then I’m ready to” mediate, said Mr. Trump, who rallied with Mr. Modi in Houston on Sunday. “I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Modi. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan. And if at any time they say, ‘You know, we have some points we think you can maybe iron out,’ I think I’d be an extremely good arbitrator.”

Mr. Trump has offered to mediate the Kashmir dispute before, only to be rebuffed by India, which says it views the matter as bilateral.

Mr. Khan said he would like Mr. Trump to elevate the Kashmir situation before the Security Council.

“It needs to be said there are 8 million people under siege by 900,000 troops. That’s a humanitarian issue,” he said. “If you were to meet [Mr. Modi] now, I would have asked him to at least lift the siege.”

A White House readout of Mr. Khan’s closed meeting with Mr. Trump said the two discussed ways to “de-escalate tension between Pakistan and India, including combatting terrorism, and the importance of Indo-Pakistani dialogue to resolve disputes between them.”

Mr. Trump made clearer progress Monday with Polish President Andrzej Duda. He signed a defense agreement that will shift U.S. soldiers into Poland at the Eastern European nation’s expense.

“They’re going to be building us facilities that I’m sure will be very beautiful,” Mr. Trump said.

During a White House visit in June, Mr. Duda said Poland agreed to house about 1,000 U.S. soldiers on its soil.

Mr. Trump also said the U.S. is making Poland eligible for a visa waiver program that will make it easier for people to travel between the countries.

“You can report back to the people of Poland and the Polish people in the United States that President Trump got it done, and nobody else could for a long time, as you know,” Mr. Trump said.

Moments later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Duda how long Poland had been waiting for the waiver.

“Thirty [years],” Mr. Duda exclaimed.

“Thirty’s a long time. I didn’t know it was that long,” Mr. Trump said. “But we got it done. Trump gets it done. Other people don’t get it done; we get it done.”

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