Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Ben Wolfgang / The Washington Times & USA Today – 2013-09-25 02:30:47
Obama: America ‘Exceptional’ Because of All the Wars
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(September 24, 2013) — Weeks of failed efforts to sell the Syrian War to the American public seemingly still aren’t over, as President Obama used the occasion of his speech to the UN General Assembly to demand a UN resolution authorizing military action against Syria if the chemical disarmament process stalls.
While giving lip-service to the idea of diplomacy, President Obama made it clear repeatedly during the speech that his view of American â€œexceptionalismâ€ centers entirely around its willingness to fight unwise wars.
â€œI believe America is exceptional, in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all,â€ Obama insisted. This of course segued back into calls for authorization to attack Syria.
Though the reference to America as â€œexceptionalâ€ was seen by many as an attempted slight to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the narrative seemed primarily directed at the American public, and selling the idea that true national greatness is measured by its willingness to start wars that are plainly contrary to their interest. Americans are convinced that the Syrian war isn’t in their interest, but turning that into another reason to support the war seems a stretch, to say the least.
‘Send Powerful Message’ to Syria: Obama Challenges United Nations to Action
Ben Wolfgang / The Washington Times
NEW YORK — President Obama on Tuesday laid out a clear set of choices for the United Nations: Find consensus on Syria, or become irrelevant.
In a highly anticipated speech, Mr. Obama — making his fifth address to the international body — said the UN Security Council must pass a resolution calling for military action if Syrian President Bashar Assad does not give up his chemical weapons, as he has agreed to do.
“There must be a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments, and there must be consequences if they fail to do so. If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the UN is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws,” he said. “On the other hand, if we succeed, it will send a powerful message that the use of chemical weapons has no place in the 21st century, and that this body means what is says.”
Thus far, Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, which could wield its veto power, has opposed any use of force in Syria. While the US and Russia have worked together diplomatically to reach an agreement under which Assad has agreed to give up his chemical arsenal, military action — a last resort if Assad reneges, Mr. Obama said — will be a tough sell at the UN
Meanwhile, the White House also announced another $339 million in additional humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
Having contributed nearly $1.4 billion since the Syrian civil war began, the US is the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to the war-torn country, according to the White House .
Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.
President Obama Sends a Message
To Vladimir Putin on the Concept of American Exceptionalism
(September 24, 2013) — President Obama didn’t name him directly, but he appeared to offer a thinly veiled brush-back of Russian President Vladimir Putin during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
Near the tail end of his address before the UNGA, Obama offered a retort to Putin, who recently took umbrage with Obama for pointing to American exceptionalism in a nationally televised address earlier this month as a reason the United States should support a military strike on Syria if diplomatic efforts fail.
“Some may disagree, but I believe that America is exceptional,” Obama told the gathering of world leaders. “In part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all.”
While Obama has agreed to pursue a Russian proposal that calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to relinquish his country’s chemical weapons stockpile, the president and administration officials remain deeply suspicious of the Russian effort.
As part of the deal to get Syrians to give up control of the their chemical stockpile, the Russians want Obama to agree that he will not carry out military action against Assad’s regime — something the White House has been unwilling to agree to.
Obama and Putin have long had a strained relationship, marked most recently by disputes over differences on Syria and the Russians’ decision to offer asylum to Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of US surveillance programs.
Obama also re-upped the White House’s criticism of Putin’s claim that the rebels were responsible for deploying chemical weapons in the Aug. 21 chemical attack outside of Damascus that left more than 1,400 civilians dead.
That attack triggered Obama to call for a punitive military strike against Assad’s regime, something that he has struggled mightily to win support for from the American public, Congress and the international community.
“It is an insult to human reason â€“ and to the legitimacy of this institution â€“ to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack,” Obama said.
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