President Barack Obama took a slightly veiled jab at Republican nominee Donald Trump while delivering his swan song to the United Nations today. Obama said, "The world is too small for us to simply be able to build a wall and prevent (extremism) from affecting our own societies." He also took an apparent swipe at Trump for supposed incitement of Muslim terror.
This was part and parcel of his musings on world peace and comity, in which he admitted that the United States and other earthly powers have little ability to solve the world’s biggest problems. Obama called for a "course correction" for globalization. He said that the Muslim violence besetting the Middle East and elsewhere in the world "will not be quickly reversed." However, Obama betrayed his confidence in diplomacy over military manoeuvres to resolve the conflict in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. "If we are honest, we know that no external power is going to be able to force different religious communities or ethnic communities to co-exist for long," Obama said. "Until basic questions are answered about how communities co-exist, the embers of extremism will continue to burn. Countless human beings will suffer."
Obama criticized Russia openly. He has clashed, albeit impotently say some critics, with Russian President Vladimir Putin who invaded Ukraine and has meddled in Syria on the side of dictator Bashir al-Assad. "In a world that left the age of empire behind, we see Russia attempting to recover lost glory through force," Obama said. Little has changed since Obama spoke at the UN headquarters last year when he called on Assad to step down and Putin warned it would be a mistake.
Russia’s influence in the region has grown over the last year. Russia’s military has assisted Assad without falling into the “quagmire” that Obama insisted would occur.
Obama indicated that he believes that cooperation among nations to resolve problems is superior to individual efforts. In this, he echoed former secretary of state Hillary Clinton who bills herself as the heir to Obama’s legacy.
Obama said that terrorist networks are spreading hatred and ideology on social media on the internet and thus sparking rage toward "innocent immigrants and Muslims."
Lamenting that the world has become safer and prosperous in the midst of challenges posed by migration and terrorism, he said that governance becomes more difficult when citizens lose faith in institutions as international tensions rise. "This is the paradox that defines the world today," Obama said. "We must go forward, and not backward."
Obama spoke of his policy of openness to Myanmar and Cuba as an example of progress. He also praised his term in office for reducing carbon emissions. Setting a vague path toward the future, Obama said, "In order to move forward, though, we do have to acknowledge that the existing path to global integration requires a course correction."