President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged countries to follow the lead of the United States in combating a host of crises around the globe from the threat of terrorist groups in the Middle East to the Ebola epidemic that has killed thousands of people in Africa.
“We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability,” Obama said in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “We call upon others to join us on the right side of history.”
Obama touted its leadership role in a variety of issues -- negotiations with Iran, sanctions against Russia, even combating climate change.
“For America, the choice is clear,” he said. “We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.”
Obama’s speech comes days after the U.S. launched airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, though the president delivered a broader speech that addressed a number of hot spots across the globe.
He called on nations to act in four areas: fight the Islamic State; reject the ideology of al Qaeda and the Islamic State; address the cycle of conflict that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon; and push countries in the Arab and Muslim world to focus on the potential of their people, especially youth.
Obama arrived in New York Tuesday for two days of meetings an speeches. Later Wednesday, he will meet with new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Then he will lead a Security Council meeting about the threat of foreign fighters who travel overseas to join terrorist groups.