Obama calls for democracy, developing world calls his bluff
While US President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly calling for cooperation on an American vision for 21st century democracy, nuclear non-proliferation, and human rights, countries such as Brazil and Turkey reveal where the US vision falls short. In the changing world of the 21st century, multilateralism looks like the name of the game.
Obama said his administration worries “that a world more interconnected has somehow slipped beyond our control.”
Yet still while speaking at the General Assembly, Obama laid out a 21stcentury vision for American leadership in global peace, democracy and human rights. And he called for help from the United Nations before him.
“The world America seeks is not one the US can build on its own,” he said. “We need your voices to speak up.”
And speak up delegates did, but against some of the very policies the US has pursued in the world."When President Lula first spoke in this hall, in 2003, the world lived under the shadow of the invasion of Iraq,” said Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in his speech. “We hope we learned the lessons from that episode. The blind faith in intelligence reports tailored to justify political goals must be rejected. We must bÃÂ°ÃÂ¿ ÃÂ¾ncÃÂµ and for all the use of force inconsistent with international law.”
It is criticism the US overlooked as it praised only as an achievement, “a future where Iraq is governed not by a tyrant or foreign power.”
While the US is calling for voices and action from the world: “Part of the price of our own freedom is standing for the freedom of others,” Obama said.
Other members of the world beg to be heard, calling for the expansion of the UN Security Council so they can have a say.
“When it comes to war and Ã‘â‚¬ÃÂµÃÂ°Ã‘ÂÃÂµ the traditional players ÃÂ°ÃÂ³ÃÂµ reluctant to share power,” expressed Amorim.
And speaking of peace, Obama also tried to sell his vision for the future of Israel and Palestine.
“I recognize many are pessimistic about this process,” he admitted.
But with key seats – the Israel delegations – sitting empty during his speech, you have to wonder if it was falling on deaf ears. While many a world leader championed ridding the world of nukes, the Obama administration defended its hard-line taken in spearheading sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Iran is the only party to the NPT that cannot demonstrate the peaceful intentions of its nuclear program, and those actions have consequences,” Obama defended.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes the sanctions have consequences, not for Iran but the UN.
“Those that have used intimidation and sanctions in responding to the clear logic of the Iranian mission are in real terms destroying the credibility of the Security Council,” said Ahmadinejad.
Obama also neglected to mention the solution other countries see: "A weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East that has been called for by the Security Council.” That’s according to the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül.
This would of course, require the US to acknowledge the nuclear weapons Israel is believed to posses.
So when Obama opines, “that what unites us as human beings is far bigger than what divides us.”
For him to convince the “United” Nations of that, the US may need to start truly playing by the emerging rules:
“Multilateralism is international face of democracy,” said Amorim.
And as many countries reiterate support for the United Nations and its role in international affairs, they must still vie for legitimacy with the people outside, some of whom are protesting right outside the barricaded doors.
“The UN is just another mechanism for American propaganda,” said former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts.
He said the UN is nothing but a showcase, since it does not address global issues with real solutions. Saying the organization is just a bunch of politicians.
Roberts argued that the UN is not going to be able to solve anything, because the US will continue to call the shots, addressing global issues in the way they want them to be addressed.
The structure of the UN itself makes the UN powerless, he explained. Saying that with the veto power in the Security Council allows the West, namely the US, to control the global dialogue.