Home National Politics Video: President Obama Addresses Opening of UN General Assembly’s 71st Session

Video: President Obama Addresses Opening of UN General Assembly’s 71st Session


Note: President Obama’s remarks begin about an hour into the video. “We must go forward and not backwards…the principles of open markets and accountable governance, of democracy and human rights and international law that we have forged remain the firmest foundation for human progress in this century.” “The integration of our global economy has made life better for billions of men, women and children.” “I believe that we need to acknowledge these achievements in order to summon the confidence to carry this progress forward.” “The existing path to global integration requires a course correction,” need to focus on inequality, strengthening international institutions. “And as these real problems have been neglected, alternative visions of the world have pressed forward…religious fundamentalism, the politics of ethnicity or tribe or sect, aggressive nationalism, a crude populism…often from the far right, which seeks to restore what they believe was a better, simpler age free from outside contamination.” Need to make global economy “work better for all people and not just those at the top.” The power of workers has been “undermined.” “A world in which 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the other 99% will never be stable.” “Economies are more successful…when growth is broadly based, and that means respecting the rights of workers…investing in our people…strengthening the safety net…” These policies have succeeded greatly in the United States. Need to follow through on our efforts to combat climate change, need to “act boldly” or face disaster. Need to “scale up our ambition” and have a sense of “urgency” about moving to clean energy quickly. Governance needs to be “inclusive and accountable” to its citizens. There’s a “growing contest between authoritarianism and liberalism right now” and “I am not neutral in that contest; I believe in a liberal political order….rule of law.” Rejects the idea of a “strong man” model. Democracy “is the better path.” Those who believe in Democracy need to speak out strongly. “We must reject any forms of fundamentalism and racism…ethnic superiority.” Speaks out for women’s, LGBT, racial/ethnic/religious minorities’ rights. Need to sustain our commitment to international cooperation. America “has been a force for good.” “When North Korea tests a [nuclear] bomb, that endangers all of us.” “We are all stakeholders in this international system.” Need to reject “those who appeal to our worst impulses.” Our identities don’t have to be defined by putting others down but by lifting others up.


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