Obama: US can’t solve world problems 'on our own'
US President Barack Obama addresses the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly September 28, 2015. (AFP photo)
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, US President Barack Obama stressed the need for diplomacy and cooperation, saying “we can’t solve the world’s problems on our own.”
Obama said Monday that the era when “strong states must impose their will on weaker ones” has come to an end. “We the nations of the world can’t return to the old ways of conflict.”
Obama acknowledged that there is an argument that “the only strength that matters to the US is bellicose words, and shows of force.”
However, the US president reiterated that he is leading the strongest military in the world and is prepared to respond to genuine national threats that cross his desk “every morning.”
Referring to US sanctions his administration has imposed on Iran and Russia, Obama said they are not meant to “punish,” but serve as a “test” to see if those countries are willing to change course.
“We can’t stand by when the sovereignty of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens to a sovereign nation like Ukraine, it can happen to any nation here,” Obama said of the rejoining of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea with the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian conflict has dragged the relations between the US and Russia to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
Obama stressed that the United States does not want to return to a cold war with Russia, despite what some Russian and American politicians suggest.
The US president then addressed the decades-long hostility with Cuba, which he said has failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people. “We changed that,” Obama said of his efforts to restore ties with Cuba.
He added that he was confident the US Congress will gradually lift the Cuba embargo, “which should not be in place anymore.”
As US strategy in Syria has come under increasing scrutiny both domestically and internationally, Obama said, “Nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested than in Syria.”
Obama said that the Syrian crisis “affects us all” and that he makes no apology for the use of military force against “an apocalyptic cult” like Daesh (ISIL).
However, the US president admitted that military action does not amount to a lasting solution, adding that his administration is prepared to work with any nation “including Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict.”