News / USA

Obama Speaks Against Politics of Division, Violence

President  Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
President Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
President Barack Obama challenged world leaders to speak out forcefully against what he called the politics of division and violence, and confront deeper causes of anger in the Muslim world. 

During an address Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, Obama said attacks such as the one that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans are an assault not only on America but ideals the United Nations was founded on.

He began and ended his speech with a description of Stevens as someone who worked to bring democracy to Libya and build bridges between cultures.  The United States, he said, will be relentless in bringing the killers to justice.

World leaders, Obama said, must speak out against impulses towards violence.

"If we are serious about those ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis," said Obama. "Because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common.  Today, we must affirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers.  Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations."

Obama called the anti-Muslim video that sparked violence in many countries "crude and disgusting" and an insult to Muslims and to the United States.  But he defended the protection of free speech in America.

He also underscored U.S. support for what he called "forces of change" in Middle Eastern and North African countries undergoing transformation in the Arab Spring.

In Syria, he said, the government of President Bashar al-Assad must come to an end, but the world must work to ensure a peaceful transition.

"In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people," said Obama. "If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings.  And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence."
Obama said a "season of progress" has not been limited to the Arab world.  He cited peaceful transitions in Africa, and in Burma, adding that recent turmoil also shows that democracy is hard work.

"True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and businesses can be opened without paying a bribe," said Obama. "It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.  In other words, true democracy - real freedom - is hard work."

Obama also spoke about the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, which the U.S., Israel and other nations believe is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.  Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

While he mentioned no "red line" for Iran that could trigger military action against its facilities, he said time for a diplomatic solution is not unlimited and the U.S. will do what it must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.  It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy," said Obama.

Before leaving New York, President Obama delivered remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative headed by former president Bill Clinton.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also addressed the organization, calling for a new approach to U.S. foreign aid.  He indirectly criticized President Obama's Middle East policies, saying Americans are "troubled" by developments there.

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Comment Sorting
by: B Cute from: Chicago, IL
September 26, 2012 7:15 PM
We need to stand against Obama's politics, because he is taking to the end of Israel. We are American's and I am proud to say he is wrong person send from the other site and they paid him to win election. I you are care for future yours and others "STOP" and vote agaist.

by: Anonymous
September 26, 2012 8:48 AM
No video in the world is an excusable reason to promote violence whether the video is racist or not. Racism is wrong no doubt, but that doesn't mean you burn down buildings or kill people. What is in some peoples heads???

Then for one of the parliament members of Pakistan to urge the death of the video participants is promoting even more disgusting actions. We exist in a world of free speech. If people want to be racist they can be, as disgusting as it is. Welcome to the world of democracy and free speach, get used to it!!! You don't see black people blowing up buildings because there are racist videos on YouTube. Whether it is racist of skin colour or religion it is all the same. Just using an example... Many people need to learn to live in disagreement, peacefully.

by: Global Stability
September 25, 2012 11:54 PM
On this rating it would appear Zimbabwe is off the list altogether .
As for true democracy, yes that is another story, perhaps another time.

by: Winsor from: Florida
September 25, 2012 5:49 PM
Obama's fighting for a second term..
He's going to do whatever he can to get there.
and that's what a president should to do.
He must finish what he started.

by: Jerry Frey from: USA
September 25, 2012 5:00 PM
Decide for yourself.

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
September 25, 2012 11:59 AM
Mr, Obama what George Bush did for Afghanistan? supported Taliban, AL-Qaeda & Terrorists against Northern of Afghanistan by 60 countries on supporting & 100 countries recognized the lice as political government. but it was the right of heroes to remain the deaths bodies on the roads. don't shout to escape your navel it is the right of Syria to fight with the enemies.

by: Michael from: USA
September 25, 2012 10:24 AM
If Iran wanted a nuclear missle all it would have to do is drive a truck with some money to Uzbekhstan and pick from an assortment. Keep quiet about this: Iran already has some small tactical nukes

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