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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Obama: U.S. Cannot Solve The World’s Problems Alone

President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday that countries must work together on an array of challenges because “the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone.”

While making a largely thematic address to U.N. delegates, Obama also defended the Iran nuclear agreement, criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria, and questioned China’s military build-up in the South China sea.

The president extolled the new U.S. approach to Cuba, and called on Congress to lift the decades-long economic embargo against the communist island.

Obama also pledged to continue the fight against the threats of the Islamic State — “we will not be outlasted by extremists” — but said other nations need to participate, a common theme of his U.S. address.

U.N. members need to work together to face challenges ranging from extreme poverty to violence against women to the ravages of climate change, Obama said.

In stressing the need for multi-lateral action, Obama cited the U.S. problems with the war in Iraq.

Obama also criticized dictatorships and authoritarian governments across the globe, including Iran where hard-liners continue to criticize the United States in spite of the lifting of sanctions in the wake of the nuclear deal. “Chanting Death to America does not create jobs, or make Iran more secure,” Obama said.

In attacking Russia for military activity in Ukraine, including the seizure of Crimea, Obama said: “We cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated.”

Speaking 70 years after the founding of the United Nations, Obama praised the work of the organization founded in the ashes of World War II and designed an to prevent a third world war.

Through its work, Obama said, lives have been saved, agreements forged, diseases conquered, and mouths fed, but more work needs to be done.

Later in the day, Obama meets separately with two powerful world leaders: Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

The Putin meeting could especially tense, given U.S. protests over Russian military activity in Ukraine and Syria.

Obama will also attend a U.N. luncheon, chair a meeting on peacekeeping efforts, and host a reception for General Assembly delegates.

In his speech to the General Assembly, Obama challenged Putin’s assertion that the only solution to the conflict and refugee crisis Syria is to back Bashar al-Assad.

He also made references of some of politics surrounding the U.S. presidential election. In an apparent reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Obama denounced voices who call for “walls” designed to “keep out immigrants.”

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