Highlights of what President Barack Obama said and didn’t say in his address to the United Nations General Assembly:
WHAT HE SAID
ANTI-AMERICAN PROTESTS: The killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and other attacks on U.S. embassies overseas were attacks on America. The United States will track down the killers relentlessly and bring them to justice. Peace and diplomacy must prevail over violence and intolerance. The anti-Muslim film that sparked anger was crude and disgusting, an insult to Muslims and America. It must be rejected. But the U.S. won’t ban it because the Constitution protects free speech. Taking that right away threatens the rights of all to express their own views and practice their own faith. No video justifies an attack on an embassy, school or restaurant. No words excuse killing innocent people. World leaders must speak out against violence and extremism.
ARAB SPRING: Supporting change in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya put the U.S. on the side of democracy and the people in those countries seeking to realize their aspirations. Freedom is a universal value. Despite challenges in making the transition, government by the people brings stability, prosperity and peace in the long run. Democracy also is advancing in Africa and Burma.
MIDEAST PEACE: Israelis and Palestinians must not turn their backs on peace. All must recognize Israel’s right to exist. The goal is clear: a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine. A just peace needs to be reached between the two peoples.
SYRIA: Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime must end. It is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings. The end of war in Syria cannot lead to sectarian violence. All must have a say in the future Syria.
IRAN: The Iranian government has failed to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful. The U.S. wants to resolve the issue through diplomacy and believes there is time left to do so. But that time is limited. A nuclear-armed Iran must be prevented. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy. It would risk a new nuclear arms race. The U.S. will do whatever it takes to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
AFGHANISTAN: The transition has begun and the U.S. and its allies are on track to end the war in 2014. Al-Qaida is weakened and Osama bin Laden is dead.
GLOBAL ECONOMICS: Through the G-20, rich and emerging powers have worked together on an economic recovery. The U.S. has aided developing nations by breaking their dependency, fighting corruption and helping African governments feed their people. Other partnerships seek to empower women and fight human trafficking.
WHAT HE DIDN’T SAY
CHINA: Obama steered clear of the various territorial disputes embroiling Asia. The U.S. has been concerned by aggressive posturing by Beijing in the resource-rich South China Sea and in its dispute with Japan over several islands.
NORTH KOREA: No mention of nuclear-armed North Korea or its ballistic missile testing. No hint that world powers might be able to find a way to convince the reclusive communist regime to give up its atomic weapons and end its destabilizing activity on the Korean peninsula.
RUSSIA: He spoke of Washington and Moscow reducing their nuclear weapons. But that was it on the difficult relationship between the former Cold War foes, which the president sought to “reset” at the beginning of his term. Geopolitical disagreements between the U.S. and Russia have hampered international efforts to halt the violence in Syria.
EUROPE: The world economy may have averted disaster after the 2008 financial meltdown, but a new danger has emerged: European debt. U.S. officials worry that Europe’s woes risk dragging the United States and many other economies back into recession. The Obama administration has largely sat on the sidelines, urging European countries to sort out their own mess.