"We need more United Nations and not less"

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the UN

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the UN

  |  Justin Lane/EPA

Distancing himself from Trump and his appeal to patriotism, the Portuguese President of the Republic called for the fight against "isolationism" in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly

"We patriots know we need more United Nations, not less." This is how Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa ended his speech at the 74th United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

The Portuguese President of the Republic has repeatedly called for the union of countries and the fight against xenophobia, "isolationism" and radicalism, as quoted by the online newspaper Observador. In a clear allusion to the speech also made this Tuesday by US counterpart Donald Trump, Marcelo asked: "We will not repeat the same mistakes of 100 years ago," already in English, during his last words.

100 years ago, the first project of what would later be the United Nations was created. "It is worth remembering that 100 years ago the League of Nations was born. An initiative of an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who saw Congress reject ratification of the treaty based on isolationist positions. The United States, which had been the starter people of a new international order, did not eventually join the new organization. At the same time the USSR did not want to join the League of Nations on ideological grounds," recalled the President of the Republic about the embryonic UN project. "The League of Nations has never recovered from the non-commitment of these two powers," Marcelo continued, adding: "We know where the world went. Precisely 20 years later the Second World War would begin."

This look at the past serves to foresee the future, from the perspective of the Portuguese Head of State: "It is worth taking a minute to learn from this near past." "It's worth thinking that it makes sense to fight for more international rights to govern relations between people and states. It is worth fighting for international organizations that help problems that belong to everyone, not just some states. It is worth fighting for the political, not just technical, role of these organizations. It is worth fighting for a multilateral view of all, starting with those who consider themselves to be the most powerful, because nobody is an island, nobody can alone or just with some allies face global problems."