President Barack Obama, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly for the first time, sought to distance his country from the era of his White House predecessor, vowing that "America will live by its values" on human rights even as he said he would take to task the abuses and failures of allies and foes alike.
In a half-hour speech that was greeted warmly by world leaders, the U.S. president outlined "four pillars" that he called "fundamental to the future that we want for our children" -- nuclear disarmament, Middle East peace, environmental restoration and economic growth. He chastised North Korea and Iran, warning of consequences if they do not back down from their nuclear programs.
Before the world body and to warm applause, he called for an end to "the occupation that began in 1967" of Palestinian lands, using a term shunned by previous presidents and condemned by Israelis. But he also called for the acceptance of "a Jewish state of Israel, with security for all Israelis."
"We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It is paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night. It is paid by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own," he said. "These are God's children. And after all of the politics and all of the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security."
What a disgrace....but hey, the world lurves us now, huh?