Politics
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Obama declares ‘progress’ in Arab region

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama used his high-profile speech at the United Nations on Tuesday to declare that “this is a season of progress,” but then insisted 26 times that foreigners — including Egypt’s Islamist government — must agree with his priorities.

Obama’s campaign-season claim of progress comes as GOP leaders step up their criticism of his policies.

GOP leaders say those policies have allowed new Islamist governments — and various jihadi groups — to bolster their power from Morocco to Afghanistan, and have spurred a wave of Islamist attacks on U.S., Western and African soldiers and civilians.

Ambassador John Bolton said that the speech showed “Barack Obama’s view of the world.”

Foreign leaders “will see this [speech] as another piece of evidence of the president’s unwillingness to support U.S. interests around the world,” and will continue with their anti-American policies, Bolton said.

“Many Americans are troubled by the developments in the Middle East… and Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability. We feel that we are at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events,” Gov. Mitt Romney said in a Sept. 25 morning speech.

“Syria has witnessed the killing of tens of thousands of people. The president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in a terrorist attack.  And Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability” Romney said.

In his speech, Obama acknowledged the turmoil in the Arab region, but blamed it on a little-known YouTube video and insisted the turmoil must stop.

“We must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place… we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence… The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt,” he announced.

However, Obama offered only vague, non-military support to people who risk their lives to spread Western values, such as freedom or speech and the separation of church and state.

“That is the outcome that we will work for  – with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute; and assistance and support for those who work for this common good,” he said.