Beltway Insider: Obama Addresses U.N.; U.S. Delegates Meet with Foreign Leaders; Nairobi Attack; Fiscal Shutdown Looms

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President Barack Obama addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations speaking to a full delegation as the heads of state from every member nation converged on New York City for the annual meeting.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped four percentage points to 43% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose five percentage points to 50%.

Obama Addresses United Nations General Assembly During Annual Global Meeting

President Obama along with Senior White House officials traveled to the United Nations, this week, to further gain support for the removal of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, address emerging nations, engage in bi-laterals and discuss global concerns.

President Obama maintained the commitment, originally presented at the G8 and adopted by those top eight nations, to an emerging Africa. His efforts to build an active and burgeoning relationship with those African nations focused on democratic reform were also addressed during his speech to the General Assembly.

The President used the forty-five minutes to reiterate the United States commitments, confirm allied relationships, and touched on several key issues that are currently challenging the sensibilities of the global population and leadership.

The majority of the President’s remarks dealt with issues surrounding the Middle East, Arab Peninsula and Emerging Africa, current global crisis’ including Syria, Kenya and the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Iran’s new leadership and dependence on foreign oil for the United States and allies.

Obama explained the United States’ effort to assist emerging African nations who are faced with the option of tyranny and dictatorship or democracy to chose a relationship with the full support of United States and their allies and the financial commitment to their own citizens.

President Obama spoke clearly to the delegation and maintained his resolution against Syria citing the recent use of chemical weapons, the violations of the Chemical Weapons Conventions and need to be clear on the use of force, if necessary, against Syria.

The United Nations was created in 1945 by 51 nations who understood after the carnage of World War II the need for a global authoritative agency, one above every government where all member nations meet present issues and would agree to abide by the final authority of that governing body.

This global governance is united for the betterment of all nations, the human rights of all people, as is reflected in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Excerpts from President Obama United Nations Address

“To summarize, the United States has a hard-earned humility when it comes to our ability to determine events inside other countries.  The notion of American empire may be useful propaganda, but it isn’t borne out by America’s current policy or by public opinion.  Indeed, as recent debates within the United States over Syria clearly show, the danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries or to take on every problem in the region as its own.” 

“I believe America must remain engaged for our own security.  But I also believe the world is better for it.  Some may disagree, but I 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-interests, but for the interests of all.”

“I must be honest, though.  We're far more likely to invest our energy in those countries that want to work with us, that invest in their people instead of a corrupt few; that embrace a vision of society where everyone can contribute -- men and women, Shia or Sunni, Muslim, Christian or Jew.” 

“This leads me to a final point.  There will be times when the breakdown of societies is so great, the violence against civilians so substantial that the international community will be called upon to act.  This will require new thinking and some very tough choices.” 

“While the United Nations was designed to prevent wars between states, increasingly we face the challenge of preventing slaughter within states.  And these challenges will grow more pronounced as we are confronted with states that are fragile or failing -- places where horrendous violence can put innocent men, women and children at risk, with no hope of protection from their national institutions.”

“I have made it clear that even when America’s core interests are not directly threatened, we stand ready to do our part to prevent mass atrocities and protect basic human rights.  But we cannot and should not bear that burden alone.”

“In Mali, we supported both the French intervention that successfully pushed back al Qaeda, and the African forces who are keeping the peace.  In Eastern Africa, we are working with partners to bring the Lord’s Resistance Army to an end. “

“And in Libya, when the Security Council provided a mandate to protect civilians, America joined a coalition that took action.  Because of what we did there, countless lives were saved, and a tyrant could not kill his way back to power.”

“Ultimately, this is the international community that America seeks -- one where nations do not covet the land or resources of other nations, but one in which we carry out the founding purpose of this institution and where we all take responsibility.” 

“A world in which the rules established out of the horrors of war can help us resolve conflicts peacefully, and prevent the kinds of wars that our forefathers fought.”

U.S. Delegates Meet with Foreign Leaders

Senior White House Officials including Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry also attended the annual meeting.

The United Nations conference which came in succession of the G8 and the G20 allows every member of the United Nations to participate in global discussions, voice concerns and seek issue resolution.

Rumors of a bi-lateral with newly elected Iranian President Rouhani were apparently exaggerated as White House Deputy Strategic Communications Advisor Ben Rhodes announced that at most, the two Presidents may shake hands and no bi-lateral meeting would be considered presently.

Vice President Joseph Biden met individually with Iraqi Vice President Khudheir Al-Khuzaie, Uruguayan President José Mujica and President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades. In a separate meeting, at his home, Biden met with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

These meetings were designed to discuss several key issues in the regions and included talks on Syria and the current global challenges faced by the continued violations of the chemical weapons ban and the enforcement of the Syrian agreed deadlines.

Secretary of State John Kerry engaged in meetings with China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom which, along with the United States, are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, or the P5 + 1.

The Security Council meetings, at the time, when Syria’s chemical weapons use and obligations to relinquish control to a global authority is still very present and Iran’s nuclear capabilities continue to be a threat to the region were focused on bringing these two countries under control of international policy was the main objective. 

The White House will use all means and employ every political, diplomatic and international organizational body afforded all governments to ensure the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.

According to Ben Rhodes, “With respect to Syria, Iran is clearly Syria's closest ally in the region and with respect to the political resolution that we seek in Syria, we have called upon nations like Russia and Iran to acknowledge the fact that Assad cannot regain legitimacy after slaughtering his people.”

While the agreement drafted and accepted by Syria does not state or include the removal of Assad from power, the international community is moving in that direction and according to Rhodes,  “that part of a political process inside of Syria will involve, necessarily, Assad stepping down from power.  That is an issue that we have been pursuing through the Geneva process and it’s an issue that we are going to redouble our efforts onto, not just here at the U.N., but going forward.”

India PM Visit White House; Germany Re-Elects Female President

United States relations with India have vastly improved over the past decade and the Prime Minister Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh met with the President at the White House for a morning meeting and working lunch.

The two discussed the continuing growth of the nation and stated, in a released statement from the Office of the Press Secretary, “President Obama and Prime Minister Singh pledged to make the next decade equally as transformative, challenging their governments to reach the full potential of this partnership, particularly in the areas of security cooperation, bilateral trade and investment, energy and environment, higher education, and global architecture.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Re-Elected

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected. Merkel, while not legally as the office of EU President is non-existent, is known as the de-facto leader of the European Union and is considered the most powerful women in Europe. 

In a statement released from the office of the press secretary, “The President called Chancellor Merkel today to congratulate her on the Christian Democratic Union’s success in the German federal election on September 22.  The President noted his deep appreciation for Chancellor Merkel’s friendship, leadership, and steadfast support of the transatlantic relationship.  The President and Chancellor Merkel agreed to continue their close cooperation on key issues of regional and global concern. “

 

Nairobi Terrorist Attack

One week after Al-Shabaab terrorists, loyal to Al Qaeda, stormed the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya, new images have been released showing terrified shoppers escaping with the assistance of military and armed civilians who volunteered to assist in the rescue.

Kenyan military struggled for four days to gain control of the high-end shopping center, launching a counter attack using grenades and all force necessary.

Stories are emerging of survival under the most difficult circumstance, families “playing dead” to ward off the terrorists as all tell of many men indiscriminately shooting with cause or target. Amateur videos of the dead, those fleeing and rescue attempts have gone viral.

Survivors had told media the militants rushed into the mall and were told those who were of Muslim origin “they could leave.” After that the group of number of soldiers, began spraying the mall shoppers, with bullets and lobbing grenades into the crowds.

The death toll has stabilized at 67, and is expected to rise, as many hostages are still missing. According to published reports all fifteen of the terrorists have been killed although not all of the militant’s bodies have been recovered.

As theories surface on the reasons the Nairobi Westgate Mall was targeted, the fact that it was a symbol of western influence in a country dominated by extremists sufficient.  As al-Shababb has claimed responsibility the Al-Qaeda philosophies of destruction of western culture, influence and destroying the great Satan America are their core doctrine.

Government Deadline Looms

President Barack Obama harshly criticized House Republicans for failing to pass a resolution that will maintain an operating government in the wake of squabbling over the health care reform law, known as Obamacare.

Calling Republicans “reckless and irresponsible” the office of the Press Secretary in a released statement added, “Republicans in the House of Representatives moved to shut down the government.  Congress has two jobs to do: pass budgets and pay the bills it has racked up.  Republicans in Congress had the opportunity to pass a routine, simple continuing resolution that keeps the government running for a few more weeks.“

“But instead,” the statement said, “Republicans decided they would rather make an ideological point by demanding the sabotage of the health care law.  The President has shown that he is willing to improve the health care law and meet Republicans more than halfway to deal with our fiscal challenges, but he will not do so under threats of a government shutdown that will hurt our economy. “

The Republican resolution, H.J. Res. 59, that did pass fully funded the United States government with the current sequester spending controls in place through December 15, 2013, guaranteed U.S. Military personnel would continue to receive salaries should the federal government shut down, delayed the implementation of Obamacare for one year, delayed the medical device tax that would also be implemented under Obamacare.

The fiscal battle is one more example of the partisan politics as Democrats and Republicans sling accusations of extortion and make veiled threats while each side peddles their view on the Sunday Morning Political roundup. 

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov, United Nations

 

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