Obama Tells U.N. New Democracies Need Free Speech

President Obama on Tuesday used his last major address on a global stage before November election to deliver a stronge defense of America’s belief in freedom of speech, challenging fledgling Arab and the North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence. The speech was in many ways a balancing act for Mr. Obama, who has had to contend with angry anti-American demonstrations throughout Middle East during past several weeks, and Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, who says the president has projected weakness in his foreign policy. Mr. Romney has criticized the administration for issuing what called “apology for American values” in its initial response to the demonstrations. Mr. Obama’s message seemed intended to appeal to a domestic audience as much as to the world leaders at the General Assembly. In a 30-minute address, he affirmed what he said “are not simply American values, Western values, are universal values.” He vowed to protect the enduring ability of Americans to say what they think. He promised that United States “will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” And he asserted that the flare-up of violence over a video ridicules the Prophet Muhammad would not set off a retreat from his support of Arab democracy movement. Mr. Romney was also in New York on Tuesday, talking about foreign aid at a forum sponsored by Clinton Global Initiative, where Mr. Obama also spoke after his United Nations address. But Romney was left to make his own case on a much smaller stage, where the host was former President Bill Clinton, an Obama surrogate. Mr. Romney called for a rethinking of how American foreign aid is disbursed, suggesting that it could be tied directly to how governments and organizations work to open up their markets and encourage employment. “The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise”. That idea is bound to set off debate, since many labor rights organizations, and in fact many American labor unions, argue that free trade pacts like the ones advocated by Mr. Romney serve only to ship jobs overseas. Mr. Romney managed a smile when Clinton, who has been slamming him in swing states on behalf of Obama, introduced him, and he even joked about the help Mr. Clinton has been giving his rival on the campaign trail. “If there’s a thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good”, Romney said. Mr. Obama appeared to relish the larger canvas of the United Nations and his subject, freedom of speech and why in United States, even making “a crude and disgusting video” is a right of all citizens. “As president of our country, commander in chief of our military, I accept people are going to call me awful things every day”. “And I will defend their right to do so”. For that, he received cheers in the cavernous hall (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/world/obamas-address-to-united-nations.html


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to Obama Tells U.N. New Democracies Need Free Speech

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Obama had a mission impossible at the UN. How to send a positive message to the Muslim world when US policy continues to be one-sided and based on raw military power?



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