As an example of how political and religious differences can be resolved, the president again pointed to Northern Ireland and its many decades of internal conflict. While the Northern Ireland conflict pitted Protestants against Catholics, the central issue was loyalty to Britain vs. a united Ireland. Religion helped fuel the fire, but it wasn't the fire itself. Neither side claimed a divine mandate to wipe out the other. Apparently unbeknownst to the president, the peace process in Ireland embodies something the fight for peace in the Middle East does not -- a willingness by all sides to cooperate. Have we seen any real offers of cooperation from Iran? Afghanistan? Egypt?
The president said America has been humbled by its foreign adventures. Humility and retreat are not a policy, unless we plan to surrender to Islamists. He didn't articulate America's foreign policy, because he doesn't have one.
Islamic fundamentalists can only be encouraged by this speech. They include Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, who wants to suddenly make nice with President Obama in large part to ease crushing economic sanctions.
The last line of the president's U.N. speech may have been the most fantastical of all: "...we remain convinced that this community of nations can deliver a more peaceful, prosperous and just world to the next generation."
There is no "community of nations." There are individual nations with individual interests. If the United Nations could bring peace and prosperity to the world, progress toward that goal should have been made by now. Instead, 68 years after its founding, wars and rumors of wars are increasing.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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