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Just a brief note to let everyone know that, according to CNN, "President Barack Obama will focus on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in his speech today at 10:10 a.m. ET the U.N. General Assembly".

There is a livestream of the proceedings, going on now, here at the UN website.

It will be interesting in light on all that has happened in, and regarding, Syria recently to hear what the President has to say to the General Assembly.

Update:  for those who missed it live, here is what appears to be a video of the complete speech.  If you haven't seen it, it is worth watching.  Whether you agree or disagree with what he says, it can be helpful to know what he said, in our name, to the leaders, and the people, of the world community.  I think it is also helpful to keep in mind that he is speaking to many widely disparate audiences at once, and that the words he chooses reflect this fact.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    ______________
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 06:26:06 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the heads-up. I'll be watching. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davehouck

    I share a birthday with John Lennon and Bo Obama.

    by peacestpete on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 06:35:20 AM PDT

  •  There is also a livestream at whitehouse.gov ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peacestpete

    ... here.

    ______________
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:08:24 AM PDT

  •  Will he throw a bone to Iran? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davehouck, peacestpete

    I think he may use the opportunity to mention Iran's possible loosening of their hard-line stance, and ending their nuclear program - with the result of ending UN sanctions.

    I'm not locked up in here with you. YOU'RE locked up in here with ME.

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:41:34 AM PDT

  •  Very strong speech. The President appeared (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peacestpete, davehouck, Gordon20024

    stern but at the same time conciliatory. Contrary to what Republicans like to offer, this President does not, in any way shape or form, appear weak. I love the indication that the US will be focusing on the solving of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. If President Obama is able to achieve this during his administration, he will have added an unbelievable accomplishment to a truly historic presidency.

  •  the best parts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davehouck, Gordon20024
    ...We are committed to working this political trek. And, as we pursue a settlement, let’s remember this is not a zero sum endeavor. We’re no longer in a cold war. There’s no great game to be won, nor does America have any interest in Syria beyond the well being of its people, the stability of its neighbors, the elimination of chemical weapons and insuring that it does not become a safe haven for terrorists....

    The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.

    We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.

    We will dismantle terrorist networks that threaten our people. Wherever possible, we will build the capacity of our partners, respect the sovereignty of nations, and work to address the root causes of terror. But when it’s necessary, defend the United States against terrorist attack, we will take direct action.

    And finally, we will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction. Just as we consider the use of chemical weapons in Syria to be a threat to our own national security, we reject the development of nuclear weapons that could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and undermine the global nonproliferation regime.

    Now, to say that these are America’s core interests is not to say that they are our only interests. We deeply believe it is in our interests to see a Middle East and North Africa that is peaceful and prosperous. And we’ll continue to promote democracy and human rights and open markets because we believe these practices achieve peace and prosperity.

    But I also believe that we can rarely achieve these objectives through unilateral American action, particularly through military action. Iraq shows us that democracy cannot simply be imposed by force. Rather, these objectives are best achieved when we partner with the international community and with the countries and peoples of the region.

    So what does this mean going forward?

    In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab- Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.

    The United States and Iran have been isolated from one another since the Islamic revolution of 1979. This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs and of America’s role in overthrowing the Iranian government during the Cold War. On the other hand, Americans see an Iranian government that has declared the United States an enemy and directly or through proxies taken American hostages, killed U.S. troops and civilians, and threatened our ally Israel with destruction.

    I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. The suspicions run too deep. But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road toward a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

    Since I took office, I’ve made it clear in letters to the supreme leader in Iran and more recently to President Rouhani that America prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully -- although we are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

    We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.

    Instead, we insist that the Iranian government meet its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty and U.N. Security Council resolutions.

    Meanwhile, the supreme leader has issued a fatwah against the development of nuclear weapons. And President Rouhani has just recently reiterated that the Islamic republic will never develop a nuclear weapon.

    So these statements made by our respective governments should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement. We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful.

    But to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. After all, it’s the Iranian government’s choices that have led to the comprehensive sanctions that are currently in place.

    And this not -- is not simply an issue between the United States and Iran. The world has seen Iran evade its responsibilities in the past and has an abiding interest in making sure that Iran meets its obligations in the future.

    But I want to be clear. We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course, and given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.

    The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested. That while the status quo will only deepen Iran’s isolation, Iran’s genuine commitment to go down a different path will be good for the region and for the world, and will help the Iranian people meet their extraordinary potential in commerce and culture, in science and education.

    We are also determined the resolve a conflict that goes back even further than our differences with Iran, and that is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

    I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state.

    Earlier this year, in Jerusalem, I was inspired by young Israelis who stood up for the belief that peace was necessary, just and possible. And I believe there’s a growing recognition within Israel that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric of the Jewish state.

    But, the children of Israel have the right to live in a world where the nations assembled in this body fully recognize their country, and where we unequivocally reject those who fire rockets at their homes or incite others to hate them.

    Likewise, the United States remains committed to the belief that the Palestinian people have a right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state.

    On the same trip, I had the opportunity to meet with young Palestinians in Ramallah, whose ambition and incredible potential are matched by the pain they feel and having no firm place in the community of nations.

    They are understandably cynical that real progress will ever be made, and they’re frustrated by their families enduring the daily indignity of occupation. But they, too, recognize that two states is the only real path to peace. Because just as the Palestinian people must not be displaced, the state of Israel is here to stay.

    So the time is now ripe for the entire international community to get behind the pursuit of peace. Already, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks. President Abbas has put aside efforts to shortcut the pursuit of peace and come to the negotiating table. Prime Minister Netanyahu has released Palestinian prisoners and reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state. Current talks are focused on final status issues of borders and security, refugees and Jerusalem....

    ....And so going forward the United States will maintain a constructive relationship with the interim government that promotes core interests like the Camp David Accords in (ph) counterterrorism, will continue support in areas like education that directly benefit the Egyptian people, but we have not proceeded with the delivery of certain military systems. And our support will depend upon Egypt’s progress in pursuing a more democratic path.

    And our approach to Egypt reflects a larger point: The United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests.

    Nevertheless, we will not stop asserting principles that are consistent with our ideals, whether that means opposing the use of violence as a means of suppressing dissent, or supporting the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    We will reject the notion that these principles are simply western exports, incompatible with Islam or the Arab world. We believe they are the birthright of every person.

    And while we recognize that our influence will, at times, be limited, although we will be wary of efforts to impose democracy through military force, and although we will, at times, be accused of hypocrisy and inconsistency, we will be engaged in the region for the long haul, for the hard work of forging freedom and democracy is the task of a generation. And this includes efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like Iraq, Bahrain and Syria.

    We understand such long-standing issues cannot be solved by outsiders. They must be addressed by Muslim communities themselves. But we’ve seen grinding conflicts come to an end before, most recently in northern Ireland where Catholics and Protestants finally recognized that an endless cycle of conflict was causing both communities to fall behind a fast-moving world. And so, we believe those same sectarian conflicts can be overcome in the Middle East and North Africa.

    To summarize, the United States has a hard-earned humility when it comes to our ability to determine events inside other countries. Now, the notion of American empire may be useful propaganda, but it isn’t borne out by America’s current policy or by public opinion. Indeed, as recent debates within the United States over Syria clearly show.

    The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.

    I believe such disengagement would be a mistake. I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree. But I believe America is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.

    I must be honest though, we’re far more likely to invest our energy in those countries that want to work with us, that invest in their people instead of a corrupt few, that embrace a vision of society where everyone can contribute -- men and women, Shia or Sunni, Muslim, Christian or Jew -- because from Europe to Asia, from Africa to the Americas, nations that have persevered on a democratic path, have emerged more prosperous, more peaceful and more invested in upholding our common security and our common humanity.

    I believe that the same will hold true for the Arab world.

    This leads me to a final point. There will be times when the breakdown of societies is so great, the violence against civilians so substantial, that the international community will be called upon to act. This will require new thinking and some very tough choices. While the United Nations was designed to prevent wars between states, increasingly we face the challenge of preventing slaughter within states.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 08:50:27 AM PDT

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