In his final address to the United Nations General Assembly as President of the United States, Obama stressed the importance of the international order and international rules.
He also stated – before 140 world leaders – that the United States may have to give up some freedoms…
Obama made several thinly veiled attacks on the opposition to the resettlement of Muslim refugees.
He listed one of the world’s problems as when “powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law,” and said “we can press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration, or we can retreat… along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.”
Obama spoke about “global integration” several times, later acknowledging that it has led to a “collision of cultures,” and “we see liberal societies express opposition when women choose to cover themselves.” He said, “And in Europe and the United States, you see people wrestle with concerns about immigration and changing demographics, and suggesting that somehow people who look different are corrupting the character of our countries.”
And then he said the United States might have to accept some constraints, give up some freedoms and bind ourselves to international rules:
“We have to put our money where our mouths are. And we can only realize the promise of this institution’s founding to replace the ravages of war with cooperation if powerful nations like my own accept constraints. Sometimes I’m criticized in my own country for professing a belief in international norms and multilateral institutions, but I’m convinced in the long run giving up some freedom of action, not giving up our ability to protect ourselves or pursue our core interests but binding ourselves to international rules, over the long-term, enhances our security.”
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