Barack Obama at the UN: New Approaches or More of the Same?
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President Barack Obama has made his first address to the UN General Assembly, with more than 120 world leaders on hand. We hear some of the highlights. On Reporter's Notebook, Vice President Biden reportedly wants to scale back US forces in Afghanistan. Is basic strategy under review?
Banner image: Barack Obama shakes hands with (L-R) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the 64th session of the General Assembly, and Muhammad Shaaban, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management after Obama's speech to the 64th General Assembly at the United Nations. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Obama Formally Addresses the 64th UN General Assembly ()
In New York today the United Nations opened another session, and more than 120 national leaders heard President Obama's first address to the General Assembly. Obama told the UN that "misperceptions" have led to "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism," which he said, "too often has served as an excuse for…collective inaction." He said all nations must take "responsibility for a global response to global challenges." The President described his differences from the Bush Administration, and laid out "four pillars" of foreign policy. The leaders of Russia and China will also take center-stage, and crowds outside will protest Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We hear what Obama said about Iran and North Korea, Middle East peace, and the responsibilities of all nations. We also hear how they're responding.
- Harvey Morris: United Nations Correspondent, Financial Times
- Edward Mortimer: former Chief Speechwriter, UN Secretary General Annan
- David Bosco: Assistant Professor of International Politics, American University
- Jon Alterman: Director of the Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
White House Considers Shift in Afghan War Strategy ()
The UN has a presence in Afghanistan, but the war there is being conducted by the US and NATO. President Karzai didn't join other heads of state in New York, and questions about his re-election have divided UN officials. In a memo leaked to reporters this week, Stanley McChrystal, US commanding general in Afghanistan, says an increase in troop strength is the only way to "win." But it's reported today that President Obama is exploring alternatives, including Vice President Biden's plan to scale back US forces. Rajiv Chandrasekaran is senior correspondent for the Washington Post.
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