President Obama’s speech at the opening session of the UN General Assembly in New York City was in my opinion his strongest since he became president.
The timing and the events prior to the speech could not have served him to make the talking points in the speech better. Six weeks before 11/06/2012, the US presidential elections day, and couple of weeks or so after the US ambassador to Libya was killed in a terror attack on the consulate in Benghazi.
Obama laid out to the US and the World a new doctrine in international and US relations moving forward- the slogan of his campaign, forward. In the US, he could be very well getting over or in his way to get over a perception by some as being an accidental president that in 2008 came to power when the economy was near collapse and when the international community did not buy-in into George W. Bush doctrine” either with us or against us.
Obama yesterday was out there, no limitations, and no moments of awkwardness, hesitations or discomfort and timidity. As if he was where he likes to be and belong, among people from all over the world and from all backgrounds. He at the podium felt as a plant in its natural habitat.
Obama yesterday, as well, started a new era for America’s relations with the world, a relation that throughout recent history, in the past one hundred years, proved vital and detrimental to world peace. In both historic and decisive occasions in world and human history, America went to war on behalf of and for the free world and against tyranny. It happened in 1914 during the First World War and it happened again in 1942 during the Second World War and since then, America never disengaged itself from the world that surrounds it or America surrounds.
On 09/11/2001, America proved vulnerable to world events, and the thought that no matter what, America will continue to be out of reach of those that can harm it or try to change its way of life, has collapsed. The terror attack on America was the moment that the Bush Doctrine was born, and frankly speaking at the time, probably, there was no other choice” Either with Us or Against Us”. That was what Bush said at the opening session of the UN General Assembly on the same day as Obama but in 2001.
09/11 shocked the world, Afghanistan turned to be a terrorist backward country run by Osama Bin Laden, a spoiled rich family man from Saudi Arabia who was so bored with richness and the empty life in the oppressed Saudi society, that he decided to turn into a terrorist, and of course a gang called Taliban that was created by some intelligence services, some claim the ISI, the Pakistani Services to fight the Soviets and then to create a safe haven , a buffer zone and stands against the powerful tribes in Pakistan. So Bush did not have a choice, the message was strong, America was injured, a lion that roared from pain, a lion that needed to collect its dignity and again has his head high and be ready for a new morning.
We went to Iraq and we went to Afghanistan, and arguably, we won in both places. Not a perfect victory yet, of course, in the eyes of many but we won. Last year, in May, Obama gave the orders after the intelligence said that Bin Laden was there, and Bin Laden was killed, US Navy seals took action, went to Pakistan and completed the mission.
Obama takes credit; he is the president, as Bush takes credit for getting rid of Saddam in Iraq and Taliban in Afghanistan. Yesterday Obama took the Baton from George W. Bush, and ended the Bush doctrine, which lives now in military and history books, and started what I’m calling the Obama Doctrine, which is You and Us Together….The United States and the world together in fighting terrorism and in creating an environment where people in suppressed societies can get rid of their dictators and then build infrastructure for what could become prosperous societies.
America realized the hard way after 2001 that prosperity cannot be one sided, and prosperity cannot live long with dictators and America cannot unless there is no choice and people accept, cannot accept tyranny that will eventually breed terrorism and will reach the US.
In the Middle East where these doctrines have been tested and will be tested, all the 09/11/2001 terrorists and murderers came from oppressed dark societies like Saudi Arabia- oppressed and dark- for the most, and then Egypt and Lebanon- oppressed more than dark. They were all Sunni Muslims, the traditional allies of the United States and the heart of Islam.
And then the Movie came, an Egyptian copt, created few minutes mocking and showing hatred to the Prophet Muhammad, and a new mini earthquake started in Arab and Muslim countries. Embassies were attacked, US flags burned in the Streets and people chanting slogans against America.
In Libya, gangsters, will know to the Libyan government and probably to US intelligence services, went and killed the popular ambassador. And America has nothing to do with movies made. But the Movie raised the discussion on free speech, and as president Obama said during the speech “The future does not belong to those that slander the prophet of Islam, but also the future does not belong to those that deny the Holocaust, or burn churches or slander other prophets..The president also did not ignore Iran and its rhetoric in regard to Israel and its potential nuclear power; he made it clear, not very forceful though, that he will not allow a nuclear power Iran.
Obama highlighted very eloquently, I thought, The US long standing position for a Two state solution for the State of Israel and the State of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza and said that the US stands behind A Jewish State of Israel and an independent prosperous Palestine.
In formulating his ideas and his points, Obama did not say that it’s an American duty but said it’s a world duty to put the efforts and do something. It is also and more importantly it’s the people duties in respective countries in the Middle East in particular to own their countries and change things. The thrust again, the US will not do it for you but the US will do it with you.