President Obama’s speech to the United Nations, which he delivered this morning in New York, is filled with lots of little surprises. (For instance, “the United Nations helped avert a third World War.” Really?) But the big surprise is that he’s made his address to the General Assembly into a campaign speech.
He beats up on the Bush administration:
I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place – Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization – remained at large. Today, we have set a new direction.
Then he brags about his accomplishments in ending these terrible wars:
So let there be no doubt: the tide of war is receding. When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical to the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home.
And brags about the killing of Osama bin Laden:
And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.
I can’t recall the last time a covert American military operation designed to kill a foreign national was boasted about on the floor of the U.N.
He even uses the language of his jobs plan address when talking about Palestinian statehood:
I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. So am I.
You can practically hear him demanding, Pass this statehood bill!
The concluding section of Obama’s speech is pure ’70s-era liberalism: The two besetting threats to the world order are—you guessed it—nuclear weapons and poverty.
Of course, in a way, this is all very fitting. The United Nations is the perfect place for the president to try to nail down his base.