Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Obama to UN: time for a new world order.

That was one hell of a speech for a President of the United States to make to the United Nations.
Barack Obama's soaring rhetoric, his liberal vision for peace, for nuclear disarmament, for the environment and for the global economy left me gasping in the scale of his ambition. I dare say it left many American Republicans spluttering too, but they are not the masters now.
His speech buried the Bush legacy, the Neocon plan for an American Century, and isolationism that abuse that the US dealt out to the United Nations in the last decade. Here is one of the key passages. Could the world have asked for any more?
"No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War.

"The time has come to realize that the old habits and arguments are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people. They lead nations to act in opposition to the very goals that they claim to pursue, and to vote - often in this body - against the interests of their own people.

"They build up walls between us and the future that our people seek, and the time has come for those walls to come down. Together, we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides - coalitions of different faiths and creeds; of north and south, east and west; black, white, and brown.

"The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, and failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for. Or, we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings, and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the name given to this institution: the United Nations."

"That is the future America wants - a future of peace and prosperity that we can only reach if we recognize that all nations have rights, but all nations have responsibilities as well. That is the bargain that makes this work. That must be the guiding principle of international cooperation."

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