President Barack Obama took a breather from the health care debate and eased into his two most comfortable roles: dazzling the world with his charming speeches and fixing the United States’ weather-beaten reputation, all at his first United Nations General Assembly address.
The General Assembly held its 64th session in New York.
And as always, there were the weird, the irrelevant, the usual and the dignified speeches — provided by the Libyan, Iranian and Venezuelan presidents. All hail the drama kings.
Highlights included a 96-minute nonsensical speech by the Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, in which he described the H1N1 virus as a “military tool,” amidst other bar talk conspiracy theories.
Soon after, the lord supreme of ridiculous addresses, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stepped up to the podium and gave his normal “Holocaust denial” speech while delegates from other countries played their usual act — the walkout.
Next in line was Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. “Please, don’t anybody throw a shoe at me,” he jested, a humor attempt at the expense of former U.S. president George W. Bush.
Chavez went on to praise Obama, saying he had replaced the “smell of sulfur” on the world stage with the “smell of hope,” another low blow to Bush.
But the real showstopper was none other than the “world charmer” himself, President Barack Obama who proved again that the world is not ready to ditch its love affair with the demagogue of the decade.
Obama assured the assembly that the era of a unilateralist America was over.
He dangled a friendly challenge across the noses of world leaders, urging them to play a bigger role in global issues instead of relying on America.
“Make no mistake: This cannot be solely America’s endeavor,” he told a group of receptive world leaders.
“Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility.”
Obama tackled a wide array of issues in his speech, from nuclear proliferation to global economic prosperity.
He left no stone unturned.
He was humbly persuasive about the Israel-Palestine conflict and respectfully firm on nuclear negotiations.
Even dictatorial clowns love nice words.
Obama called for negotiations on nuclear proliferation, rather than bullish bombast, and warned that sanctions would be implemented if warranted, referencing Iran and North Korea.
Guess who agreed to nuclear inspection requests a few days after the speech? Iran.
Obama also decided to take a neutral role in the Israel-Palestine conflict. He asked all parties to pursue dialogue and reach a lasting deal.
As usual, after the speech we had the crucifixion from loyal critics.
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, was all frowns about the president’s speech.
In his words: “It was all extremely naive. The president did everything he could to say: ‘Can’t we all just get along?’”
What’s wrong with having a world leader who actually humbles himself in his speech to ensure world cooperation?
What injustice is it to have an American president who seeks to engage the world respectfully rather than arrogantly?
What harm is it, if he is actually liked by America’s adversaries?
Should we break our backs because, for the first time in a long while, America’s global image has gained some restitution from its long stay in the dumpster?
If this is what John Bolton means by “naïve,” then I shall forward a thousand supplications to God that Obama stays naïve.
Food For Thought: Humility is like a beautiful symphony — first it gets your enemies listening, soon their legs start tapping and in the blink of an eye they are right where you want them — dancing to your tune.