In any event, Mr. Trump has shown himself to be gleefully unconcerned with bruising feelings.
In his first visit to the General Assembly last year, he declared, “I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first” — a call for sovereignty at odds with the mission of the United Nations as a body created to deal collectively with problems that transcend borders.
He referred to the country of one African leader as “Nambia,” prompting questions about whether he had conflated Namibia with Gambia or Zambia (the White House later clarified that he meant Namibia). From the rostrum of the General Assembly, he said of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission.”
Mr. Trump returns to the United Nations after having launched an audacious diplomatic overture to Mr. Kim. While in New York, Ms. Haley said, he planned to meet President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to discuss the nuclear negotiations, which have stalled in recent weeks.
Mr. Trump can also claim progress in his efforts to isolate Iran, however unpopular they have been. The country’s currency, the rial, plummeted to record lows this week amid fears that the sanctions Mr. Trump is reimposing will cripple its oil exports and broader economy.
Beyond faulting Iran’s behavior, though, it is not clear what Mr. Trump hopes to accomplish when he sits at the horseshoe-shaped table in the Security Council’s chamber. With so much resistance to his Iran policy from Russia, China and other veto-wielding members, there is no prospect of winning support for any kind of resolution.
When Mr. Obama first led a council meeting in 2009, the United States won passage of a resolution that promised tougher scrutiny of countries that proliferated nuclear weapons. Days later, the White House revealed intelligence showing that Iran had built a secret uranium enrichment facility in a mountain near the holy city of Qum.
In 2014, with the Islamic State terrorizing Iraq and Syria, Mr. Obama pushed a resolution in the council to crack down on the financing, and movement of people signing up to fight for foreign terrorist organizations.