05:18 GMT +328 September 2016
US President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 20, 2016.

Obama's Final Address to UN General Assembly Confirms Divorce From Reality

© REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque
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John Wight

The mantra that all political careers end in failure was given added credence by US President Barack Obama's address to the 71st UN General Assembly in New York. It was like listening to a leader so divorced from reality it was a surprise to see his shirt buttoned up properly.

As his presidency winds down to its end and the ignominy that awaits, the hubris that has marked it was never more evident in his depiction of a world in which the US remains the one indispensable nation, that "shining city on a hill" of which its adherents are never done reminding us makes it better than every other nation.

Though the President was right to claim there has been a sharp reduction in global poverty in recent years, he was wrong to reduce the cause as the spread of "open markets" and "democracy."

The primary cause of said reduction has been China's achievement in lifting millions of its own people out of poverty, along with millions more across the Global South with its huge investment in Africa and elsewhere. Significantly, it is investment that comes as part of a developmental model that does not, in contrast to the alternative offered by the US-dominated World Bank and IMF, take out more than it puts in.

Unlike its western variant, Beijing values the role of a strong government and institutions in the interests of ensuring the political stability without which economic stability and growth is unsustainable. Economic liberalization at the hands of US-driven free market fundamentalism is accompanied by political liberalization, which until China's emergence as an alternative engine of global economic growth been a key factor in the spread of political instability across a large part of the globe.

So when Obama cited "open markets" as the prime reason for the reduction in global poverty during his address to the General Assembly, he conveniently abstracted the role of the shift away from the aforementioned US-led developmental model towards the Beijing-led alternative, one that places a premium on political and national sovereignty.


When Obama said, "We've taken away terrorist safe havens, strengthened the nonproliferation regime," he must have temporarily forgotten the existence of Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.

For the citizens of those countries, terrorism is the new normal courtesy of US foreign policy both pre and post-9/11.

Specifically on Obama's watch, the world has witnessed the destruction of Libya after a US-supported NATO air campaign for regime change, along with the emergence and spread of Daesh brutality and barbarism in Iraq and Syria. The proliferation of terrorist attacks across the world — including the US and Europe — has been a direct consequence.

On non-proliferation, North Korea's ongoing efforts to develop nuclear weapons, along with the revelation contained in a recently released classified memo from former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that Israel has 200 undeclared nuclear warheads pointed at Iran, the disconnect between Obama's rhetoric and reality is again astounding.


Indeed, so astounding was the disconnect on display during his address, it was like watching a man standing in a burning house assuring his wife and kids that everything is fine.

US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles are designed to conduct airstrikes in Syria and Iraq
© REUTERS/ U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Handout
Confirmation of this came during the heated UN Security Council debate on Syria a couple of days after Obama appeared in front of the General Assembly. 

The lack of anything resembling a peaceful resolution to a conflict that has now been raging for five long years at enormous human cost is a deplorable state of affairs.

Throughout that time, Washington has remained firm in its determination to draw a moral equivalence between the country's non-sectarian, secular government and an opposition dominated by the most barbaric, sectarian, and merciless groups since the Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia into a vast killing field.

There were moments during his address to the UN when Obama appeared to be making stump speech on behalf of the Clinton campaign for the upcoming US presidential election.

"Today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself," he said, making a clear reference to Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall on America's border with Mexico in the event he wins the race for the White House.

Lack of Awareness

While no right thinking person could possibly disagree with Obama's words, the ongoing controversy over the spiral of police violence against black people across the country puts into perspective the scale of his administration's failure to make any progress when it comes to the deep racial polarization that continues to scar US society 150 years after the Civil War ended slavery in the South. 

Of course, Barack Obama cannot be held solely responsible for the parlous state of race relations in the United States. It is a product of cultural values that have long been entrenched and exacerbated by socioeconomic factors of poverty, alienation, and the ridiculously wide availability of firearms.

It is also a product of the militarization of law enforcement in the US, to the point where police departments are today more akin to armies of occupation than institutions concerned with protecting the public. But what it does reflect is the lack of awareness on the part of a President who, as with his predecessors, has taken every opportunity to lecture the rest of the world on issues of democracy, human rights, international law, and good governance.

Given Washington's record when it comes to all of those things, this has been like repeatedly being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Barack Obama's final address to the United Nations General Assembly revealed that the wall he should be most concerned about is the wall of mythology behind which a country fed on a diet of its own exceptionalism continues to exist.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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shooting attack, foreign affairs, legacy, Syrian conflict, conflict, police, war, politics, speech, economy, 2016 US Presidential election, United Nations, UN General Assembly, Barack Obama, United States
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  • ptcjm
    Israel has a connection in form of surveillance.
  • topolcats
    Wondering if the moderators are part of Yabloko?
    Maybe you consider Obama as a measure of decency?
    If you then Russia is doomed with moderators like you who are obviously Atlantis's!
    OK delete this as well!
  • topolcats
    Waiting for the Kudrin's and Atlantists, pro American stooges at Sputnic to ban this post as well...Go for it!..it is clear you secretly love Obama!...In the soviet times we had terms for people like moderators who would ban the truth!....they were called "CLERKS!...TRANSLATE IT YOURSELF!
  • maxxus
    Obama started as an empty suit reading from a teleprompter. 'The American presidency exists not to exercise power, but to disguise it' (source unknown). Forced to mouth evil lies incessantly it's left him a shell of a man, a twisted gollum dissociated from his own humanity.

    He knows he will go down in history as a traitor to the American people (to whom he promised so much) and to humanity.

    On top of that, in his later travels as a private citizen he could be seized, tried, and executed at any time for multiple war crimes (of his masters, but in his name) -- from individual drone murders to entire wars. He's not going to be sleeping well.
  • Tree Oxygen
    Excuse me, Sir? [Is-vin-eat-tea Pa-zhall-sta, Sire?]
    But do you have any spare: Change, I can believe in?
    Sorry, but I don't have any change, at the moment.
    All I happen to have, is a bottle of Grey Poupon.
  • tobi.gelando
    He believe not only the "Usa" lies but also his own !!!
    But the rest of the World now that the "USA and Obonga are telling lies !!!
  • Anton KOMAROV
    A true reflection of what happens when you elect someone for the wrong reasons as opposed to talent and ability.The USA has used his terms to forment discord and regime change leaving us all in a worse state than when he first ascended his "throne'.
  • guillaume.t
    An empty golf bag with an attitude.
  • michael
    the camera caught him in a rather aggressive facial setting. A certain type of animal comes to mind...
  • questfortruth
    This guy is an embarrassment to the human race, much less to the U.S.
    And, how proud all the African-Americans must be to have the first black president of the U.S. who did nothing for the betterment of black America!
    What a guy!
    Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, Barry!
  • tobi.gelando
    Obonga has promote the lies to a new level !!! This means he cant differ between Thru and lies !! The World now the Usa has kill over 25.000.000 people the Usa has bring freedom to there country's !!! If you look to Syria ... Syria like to have a regime change in the USA :) !!! So the Usa have to kill a other Mill. Syrian persons before the WAR is over in Syria !!!
  • Bob Hoferer
    What do you expect from someone who doesn't even know what country he was born in, never worked a real job one day in his life, or what ethenticity he is?
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