Big day in New York for two competing visions of US foreign affairs. First, President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly:
Mr. Obama took on a number of issues at play between America and the Muslim world, vowing that the “United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” and warning that time to diplomatically resolve the Iranian nuclear issue “is not unlimited.”
But he refused to go further than what he has said in the past, that “a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” despite pleas from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to establish a new red line.
“America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe there is still time and space to do so,” Mr. Obama said. “We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace.”
Meanwhile, uptown at the Clinton Global Initiative, U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked about giving aid–but with strings attatched:
Referring in his remarks to a hypothetical program he called “Prosperity Pacts,” Mr. Romney talked about his desire to use aid initiatives, like the ones President Clinton’s group supports, to encourage lasting change in the Middle East and other developing regions.
“Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment and trade and entrepreneurialism in developing nations,” he said. “In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.”
He added: “The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy — and that is that free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.”