Obama’s UNAG speech: Assurance or vows of defiance?

This morning (9/25/13)I watched Barack Obama give his address to the United Nations General Assembly. I thought it was rather fortuitous that I happened to tune in at the correct time, since I haven’t been watching much of morning news lately.

Something interesting happened as I listened. (Or maybe I should say did NOT happen.) My hackles didn’t rise up. I was enabled — no doubt by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not due to any will power on my part — to pay careful attention without leaning to the “right” or to the “left” in my thinking.

The President of the United States of America spoke about the role of the United Nations in the world:

“For decades, the United Nations has in fact made a difference — from helping to eradicate disease, to educating children, to brokering peace.  But like every generation of leaders, we face new and profound challenges, and this body continues to be tested.  The question is whether we possess the wisdom and the courage, as nation-states and members of an international community, to squarely meet those challenges; whether the United Nations can meet the tests of our time.”

He made some interesting comments about the global economy, like this one: “Now, five years after the global economy collapsed, and thanks to coordinated efforts by the countries here today, jobs are being created, global financial systems have stabilized, and people are once again being lifted out of poverty.”

He made expressly positive statements about the resolution of international conflicts. For example: “Next year, an international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of al Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11.”

He touched on recent and ongoing violence in the Middle East and in Africa, including remarks about regime change, “deep divisions within societies” that have resulted in civil war, and atrocities that have taken place recently in specific countries like Iraq, Syria, Kenya and Pakistan.

Then he asked a series of rhetorical questions, ending with this one: “What is the role of the United Nations and international law in meeting cries for justice?” That quandary acted as a spring board for addressing the sensitive issues of chemical weapons used in Syria and the prospect of nuclear energy used as a weapon by Iran.

Through all of that, I felt very little emotion. Unusual for me.

Then President Obama said something that stood out to me like a neon sign alongside a rural highway. He stated, “We are also determined to resolve a conflict that goes back even further than our differences with Iran, and that is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.”

 If you have been following my posts about the documented, historical consequences that have occurred during and immediately after plans were being made by America and members of the international community to divide God’s covenant land with Israel, then you know why my ears perked up at that moment!

Obama continued …

“I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state…. Likewise, the United States remains committed to the belief that the Palestinian people have a right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state….  young Palestinians in Ramallah … are understandably cynical that real progress will ever be made … but they too recognize that two states is the only real path to peace — because just as the Palestinian people must not be displaced, the state of Israel is here to stay.

“So the time is now ripe for the entire international community to get behind the pursuit of peace.  Already, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks.  President Abbas has put aside efforts to short-cut the pursuit of peace and come to the negotiating table.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has released Palestinian prisoners and reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state.  Current talks are focused on final status issues of borders and security, refugees and Jerusalem.

“So now the rest of us must be willing to take risks as well.  Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depends upon the realization of a Palestinian state, and we should say so clearly.  Arab states, and those who supported the Palestinians, must recognize that stability will only be served through a two-state solution and a secure Israel. 

“All of us must recognize that peace will be a powerful tool to defeat extremists throughout the region, and embolden those who are prepared to build a better future. … let’s emerge from the familiar corners of blame and prejudice.  Let’s support Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are prepared to walk the difficult road to peace.” (You can find the entire text at http://www.ibtimes.com/president-barack-obamas-speech-united-nations-general-assembly-full-text-1410362.)

The President talked for about 40 minutes. He closed with these words: “… we look to the future not with fear, but with hope.  And that’s why we remain convinced that this community of nations can deliver a more peaceful, prosperous and just world to the next generation.”

Was this a message of assurance? Or was it yet another vow of defiance?

I invite you to visit my website and read, “Vows of Defiance,” before forming an opinion. (LINK: http://www.kindarusty.com/91113-vows-of-defiance/ )

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