As Deal With Iran Looms, Obama Tries to Shore Up Arab Alliance
A.M. EDT The idea that nations and peoples could come together in peace to solve their meet those challenges; whether the United Nations can meet the tests of our time. .. We will reject the notion that these principles are simply Western exports, incompatible with Islam or the Arab World. At a high-stakes meeting at Camp David this week, the president will meet with leaders of By Jonathan Broder On 5/10/15 at AM reached similar arrangements with the other oil-rich Arab nations in the Persian Gulf. Second, Obama tried to satisfy all parts in the Muslim world and Middle East, . your speechwriters pointed it out, but 10% of the Russian population is Muslim.
One hundred years ago, a World War claimed the lives of many millions, proving that with the terrible power of modern weaponry, the cause of empire ultimately leads to the graveyard. It would take another World War to roll back the forces of fascism, the notions of racial supremacy, and form this United Nations to ensure that no nation can subjugate its neighbors and claim their territory.
Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled. Against the will of the government in Kyiv, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days.
When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might -- that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future.
And these are simple truths, but they must be defended. America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy. We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and we will counter falsehoods with the truth. And we call upon others to join us on the right side of history -- for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions.
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Moreover, a different path is available -- the path of diplomacy and peace, and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold. The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve those objectives.
This speaks to a central question of our global age -- whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, or whether we descend into the destructive rivalries of the past. When nations find common ground, not simply based on power, but on principle, then we can make enormous progress. And I stand before you today committed to investing American strength to working with all nations to address the problems we face in the 21st century. As we speak, America is deploying our doctors and scientists -- supported by our military -- to help contain the outbreak of Ebola and pursue new treatments.
But we need a broader effort to stop a disease that could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destabilize economies, and move rapidly across borders. And that is why we will continue to mobilize other countries to join us in making concrete commitments, significant commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance our system of global health security for the long term. America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them.
And this can only take place if Iran seizes this historic opportunity. Do not let this opportunity pass. We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful. America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations.
But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law. America is committed to a development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by We will do our part to help people feed themselves, power their economies, and care for their sick.
If the world acts together, we can make sure that all of our children enjoy lives of opportunity and dignity. We will do our part, and help developing nations do theirs. But the science tells us we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every other nation, by every major power.
In other words, on issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule book written for a different century. If we lift our eyes beyond our borders -- if we think globally and if we act cooperatively -- we can shape the course of this century, as our predecessors shaped the post-World War II age.
But as we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress, and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world.
Of course, terrorism is not new. Speaking before this Assembly, President Kennedy put it well: With access to technology that allows small groups to do great harm, they have embraced a nightmarish vision that would divide the world into adherents and infidels -- killing as many innocent civilians as possible, employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities. I have made it clear that America will not base our entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism.
At the same time, we have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us -- because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country. So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations. Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate.
But this is not simply a matter of words.Obama meets with representatives of five Arab nations that supported airstrikes in Syria
Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment. Moreover, this campaign against extremism goes beyond a narrow security challenge.
As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas. First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded and ultimately destroyed. This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters, daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves.
Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world. No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions.
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There can be no reasoning -- no negotiation -- with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death. In this effort, we do not act alone -- nor do we intend to send U. Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities.
We will use our military might in a campaign of airstrikes to roll back ISIL. We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region. And already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition.
Today, I ask the world to join in this effort. Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can. Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone.
For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build -- not those who destroy.
So that's an immediate challenge, the first challenge that we must meet. It is time for the world -- especially Muslim communities -- to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al Qaeda and ISIL.
It is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world. No children are born hating, and no children -- anywhere -- should be educated to hate other people.
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It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source, and that is the corruption of young minds by violent ideology. That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate. That means contesting the space that terrorists occupy, including the Internet and social media. Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students -- young people full of potential -- into suicide bombers.
We must offer an alternative vision. That means bringing people of different faiths together. All religions have been attacked by extremists from within at some point, and all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all great religions: Do unto thy neighbor as you would do -- you would have done unto yourself. The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day.
Next year, we should all be prepared to announce the concrete steps that we have taken to counter extremist ideologies in our own countries -- by getting intolerance out of schools, stopping radicalization before it spreads, and promoting institutions and programs that build new bridges of understanding.
Third, we must address the cycle of conflict -- especially sectarian conflict -- that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon. There is nothing new about wars within religions. Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict. Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery. Now, as the end of his term nears, the answer is clear: Obama was different from his predecessor. Yet his record is as varied as the responses to the Cairo address.
An extraordinary chain of unforeseen events — a hazard for any leader — has created new circumstances and new dilemmas. On Palestine, always a touchstone for Arabs and Muslims, Obama has been a grave disappointment.
Having strikingly called the situation of the Palestinians "intolerable", he blinked first in the confrontation with Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over whether settlements in the occupied territories would have to stop before peace talks could resume. US domestic politics interceded. Hopes of a two-state solution to the world's most intractable conflict are now fading fast.
From the start, Obama reached out to Iran with a friendly message to its people and hints at flexibility in negotiations with its government. But his efforts to engage have failed, leading only to tougher sanctions and a covert war. Unless long-running diplomacy starts to work, a potentially catastrophic confrontation over its nuclear programme still looms. US troops have now left Iraq, but the country is racked by sectarianism and is not a reliable friend, its post-Saddam leaders in thrall to Tehran.
Obama has, though, escalated drone strikes against al-Qaida from Pakistan to Yemen. The killing of Osama bin Laden in his Abbotabad hideout was a national security triumph. Yet the dangers of jihadi violence, spreading to areas such as Somalia and the Maghreb, live on. In Cairo, Obama touched on the broad issue of political change in a sclerotic Arab world whose rulers sold themselves as guarantors of stability and western interests. That required an especially delicate balance. And Obama had spent the previous night at the desert ranch of the octogenarian King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the indispensable guardian of cheap western oil supplies.
America, the president said, with a humble nod to these ageing Arab autocrats — and in a lightly coded reference to Bush's controversial "freedom agenda" — did "not presume to know what is best for everyone".
But there was a bigger nod: From the short and mostly peaceful revolution in Tunisia to carnage in Syria, Obama's responses have, as one admirer put it, mixed "pragmatism and values".
Egypt's revolution provided the first hurdle.