Sarah Jean Seman

President Obama pressed the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday to enforce the chemical weapon ban in Syria and announced America will supply $340 million, in addition to the previous $1 billion, in humanitarian aid.

Obama claimed the current tests of our time include deciding the best response to conflicts, not only between countries, but also conflicts within them. While Obama said military action would not achieve lasting peace in Syria, he is prepared to use force in the Middle East and North Africa:

“The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.”

The incentives he listed were oil, dismantling terrorist networks and prohibiting the development of chemical weapons. As a caveat he added:

“Now, to say that these are America’s core interests is not to say that they are our only interests. We deeply believe it is in our interests to see a Middle East and North Africa that is peaceful and prosperous.”

Obama claimed the future of American diplomacy will focus on the Iranian pursuit of chemical weapons and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Iranian government must accede to the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course, and given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.

The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested.”

President Obama confirmed support for both Israelis and Palestinians:

“Arab states and those who support the Palestinians must recognize that stability will only be served through a two-state solution and a secure Israel.”

Undoubtedly addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s critique of American Exceptionalism, Obama included in his closing remarks:

“The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.”


Sarah Jean Seman

Sarah Jean Seman is a Townhall Web Editor. Follow Sarah Jean Seman on Twitter @sarah_jean_

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography