Obama and Putin Play Diplomatic Poker Over Syria

President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin essentially blamed each other for the catastrophic war in Syria and the refugee crisis it spurred in their speeches at the General Assembly.

Comments: 242

  1. From one article (WSJ): “The utter failure of Western policy in both Libya and Syria has to be seen for what it is: not just a political blunder but a humanitarian crime.” The Syrian civil war has produced well over 5 million displaced persons and over 240,000 deaths. "In May last year [2012], Senator Rand Paul was one of the first to speculate … weapons being trafficked to terrorists in Syria as part of the United States’ proxy war against the Assad regime." (GlobalResearch.) The Obama administration admitted in congressional testimony that it had funneled over 600 tons of weapons to Islamist fighters in Syria, claiming that this wasn’t illegal arms trafficking by citing a ten year old congressional authorization given to the Bush administration for the war in Afghanistan.

  2. There is a lot of quarter backing going on here. The sad reality with ISIS is that it was born out of the Iraq invasion principally its leader who was detained by US led allied forces for some time. Then the Arab spring. If there are past lessons about opportunistic infections in failed states there are many Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq etc. When bad governments fail they are replaced by ISIS or Al-qaeda. Who can bring peace to the middle east, its NOT the French or the EU and NOT the UN and definitely NOT the USA. All are compromised by their alliance with Israel and also they have for purposes of utility and other reasons sided with the Sunni sect of Islam. With that in mind who in the Shia world would want to be a friend of the USA?? So far no one. Obama has no one to side with in the military conflict in Syria where loyalties to are feeble or non-existent. The Obama approach has been messy but its the only rational choice. The Iraqis are going with the Iran, Syria and Russia alliance becoz it makes sense to them but an embarrassment to the USA yes it is. I do not agree with Donald trump but he is right to say let Putin deal with Syria. Russia and Iran are the only ones with a reliable although also very evil friend in Syria.

  3. To prop up Assad, Putin will suggest US - Russia moves against ISIS.

    Putin has, and continues, to outwit and outmaneuver Obama, who thinks that his lectures and moral arrogance will protect US interests and the world.

  4. Would you be satisfied if Obama walked into the room and punched Putin in the nose?

    You, and many others, harbor the delusion that the US is omnipotent. That the right leader can just impose his will on the world and, more specifically, Russia.

    Read your history. Russian leaders have always done pretty much anything they wanted to do. Eisenhower couldn't stop the Soviet Union from invading Hungary. Johnson couldn't keep them from invading Czechoslovakia. Clinton couldn't keep Russia out of Chechnya. Your hero George W. Bush couldn't keep them out of Georgia.

  5. Well said. Took the words right out of my mouth.

  6. As entertaining as flying fists might be to watch - and a real exciting departure from the usual tedium of scripted diplomacy - I doubt that will happen as Obama just doesn't seem like the type to resort to republican theatrical tactics. I guess we'll just have to be stuck watching a repeat of the Bobby Fisher/Boris Spasky staring contest.

  7. The world needs an international army made up from US, UK, France, Russia and China that will supersede national interests in the face of genocides.

    No more do we need to listen to the rich of each nation on how the world should be run.

    Another point to be made is that Turkey, Iran. Saudi Arabia and Israel, have utterly failed to help Syria and just watch them getting slaughtered. Shame on them and shame on the UN for not acting so far.

  8. What does Israel have to do with this? Syria is an enemy. Since when does a country have to fix the problems in enemy's country? Israel has been treating civilian casualties for a long time. The Israeli ambulances pick up people by the border and treats them in Israeli hospitals for free. The Syrians who return have to keep it a secret that they have been to Israel for medical treatment.
    Shame on the surrounding Muslim countries for not doing anything constructive but this is not Israel's fight. I knew that somehow Israel would be blamed for this.

  9. @ M in NC:

    NEWSFLASH !! What you called for with such inspired wisdom, "an international army" is... ... the UN Dept of Peacekeeping.

    As a serving Marine and someone who did an assignment at UNHQ, combined in numbers btw the score of UNDPKO deployments around the glove, IS the largest deployed force today in hot-spots. That was true during the heights of the IRQ and AFG wars, and is even more so today.

    You know not of what ye speak. Literally, 100,000s of troops from the 110 TCC (troop-contributing-countries) are and have been deployed since 1945.

  10. Did you just invent the UN Security Council?

  11. So the people who are responsible for creating all of the current World problems are meeting to discuss how to solve the very problems they created.

    Should be an interesting dynamic.

  12. How true!

  13. True, but who else would you suggest instead?

  14. A real, live game of thrones. Not much fun, is it?

  15. The focus to eliminate ISIS and its kind is far more important to civilized countries than the need to oust Assad.

    The coalition of Russia, Iraq, Iran and Syria to combat the Sunni terrorism is Machiavellian to be sure, but the key issue is whether that alliance will snuff out the ISIS terrorists. Eliminating ISIS and the clandestine apparatus of private, religious and government funding of ISIS by Sunni extremists will do more to end the exodus of Middle Easterners from their native lands.

    A decade after W's war of ambition, after the neo Cons' demonstrated failure of occupation and pacification of the region, after the radicalization of the so-called "Arab spring," the harboring of bin Laden and his cronies by Pakistan, the attacks by Pakistan's terror proxies into India, and the rise of ISIS level barbarism, it should be evident to the world that further support of Sunni theocracies is just dumb. It's not even effective from a geo political standpoint. It's just dumb.

    So we now have a world where the US is reducing its military and spending profile in the Middle East while Russia is increasing its own, albeit on a much smaller scale. Good.

    Rest assured that the Shiite alliances with Russia will prove just as transitory as once the Machiavellian necessity of the moment wears off. Shiite theocrats, like their Sunni counterparts, if they are honest to their religious tenants, find the atheistic Russians just as much a people of "non believers" as they do Americans.

  16. Russia, Iraq, Syria and Iran have reached an agreement to fight ISIS. Is there even the remotest possibility that we could just let them? How brave and unique a move would that be. NOT to get involved for a change.
    As a realist I doubt that this could happen. Four egomaniacal men pounding their chests against a terror organization. I can't imagine the military leaders of this nation allowing these men to strut their stuff upon the world stage without getting involved. You don't get to be a major player in the U.S. Defense dept. by being a pacifist. But it sure would be refreshing to see. Might be the best solution all the way around.

  17. Let's see now. The President has thus far succeeded in empowering Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Assad, Russia and China, while ISIS runs amok, Lebanon and Jordan fill with refugees, and Iraq dissolves into its component parts.

    But for his dubious victory over Netanyahu, he
    would be bereft of things to brag about.

    Some record, some legacy.

  18. None of that springs from the mindless invasion and 9-year occupation of Iraq by a brutal fool whose legacy it was to let Obama capture Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, does it.

    Thank you for clarifying that.

  19. Most countries that wage war run out of arms and munition quite rapidly. An industrial military complex is necessary for sustaining any kind of war over the long term. The Afghan mujaheddin needed a fairly endless supply of resources from the US, funneled to them via Pakistan (which kept most of the money and arms anyway).

    Yet we are fighting these forces with no navy, no air force, no drones, no real access to communication technology or intelligence for 15 years. Taxes, oil, and abandoned munition does not explain their ability to thrive. Yes we paid a lot of money to people to not shoot at us, but neither is that a full explanation.

    It is Saudi Arabian and Emirati cash. They buy and pay for ever IED, bullet, RPG, gun, and bomb used against us, pay for the training and upkeep of the Taliban, AQ, and to a great extent, ISIS.

    Russia is not interested in a solution; Russia is interested in gaining control and leading in an environment that no one controls or leads. I welcome their intervention; not as a way of gaining their cooperation - but as a way for us to exit that entire theater. I really have had enough of seeing our boys and girls, and our coin wasted in that region. If Russians want in, let us greet them as liberators and vacate rapidly. One crazy might defeat the other.

    This will not be their second Afghanistan, this will be their second Chechnya.



  20. it is also the USA propping up ISIS via the rebels.

    We send weapons, munitions and cash to the rebels of our choice via the CIA.

    Then these rebels turn around, sell their weapons and ammo, or just plain hand them over, together with their cash. Then we give them some more.

    This we need to stop doing now.

    Russia wants what Russia wants. Just like the USA does what it wants. Neither country respect the sovereignty of other countries. The only difference is Russia has boots on the ground, ready to play Terminator on ISIS. The USA just wants to talk about it. Let Russia take the lead. Or else, keep talking about it while people die.

  21. anybody want to bet that the Americans will underhandedly do all they can to make things as difficult as possible for the Russians in Syria, out of their national rivalry, if not just out of common spite? Will they even support ISIS after a point if the Russians enjoy too much success?

  22. Sure will, just like the CIA did in Afghanistan, and countless other places.

    But remember, the CIA is beyond the reach of the law, domestic or international.

  23. Why has the media, in general, stopped reporting the total death toll in Syria? Too embarrassed? Too ashamed of their part in this tragedy? Certainly the Obama administration is not too embarrassed and ashamed to allow this great humanitarian crisis to continue. I salute the Secretary General for calling out the nations, including the United States, who could have put an end to this years and hundreds of thousands of innocent dead and millions of displaced persons ago.

    Years in the making, destroyed Syria will be decades in the fixing. And the humanitarian crisis will continue.

  24. Please describe President Obama's policy for ISIS and Syria. Anyone?

  25. Step one: make it up as you go along.

    Step two: repeat step one.

  26. Step one: pull thumb from ear.
    Step two: suck thumb.

  27. Nothing will come of it. Reading all the comments from American officials yesterday regarding news of Iraq sharing intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria to combat ISIS, it is very clear America is more interested in topple Assad than stopping ISIS. And dare I say some are hoping ISIS do the job for them.

  28. As someone who voted for Obama twice and has stuck by him and defended him against being called weak I have to say over the last year to year and a half Obama seems to have lost his spine in regards to foreign policy. I hate to say it be in this last year, especially in regards to Russia, Obama has projected American weakness. He seems to be unable to break from some ideological perspective, that the world really wants to get along, and seem to think showing weakness is a type of strength. I sadly wonder if this is the real Obama and the tough one was just a front to get elected and reelected? We need stronger leaders with the ability to confront and beat Russia

  29. We don't need to beat Russia but we do need Obama to grow a spine to keep his house in order. The current fallout with Russia and China happened because someone lower down than Obama decided to take matter into their own hands and lit fire everywhere. So far the US haven't got a thing over Ukraine and South East Asia but it sure agitated Russia and China. The worst part, Russia and China don't want to talk to Obama because they know he is already a lame duck.

  30. Western countries should find first who will fill the of power vacuum in Iraq and Syria after ISIS and start the meeting with an solemn atonement about their role in this unspeakable chaos and tragedy.

  31. Who? that's very easy.

    Iraq - Iraq should fill the void there. Syria - Syria should. it's their countries, why would we dictate who rules there?

    Let's not give another excuse for why we should do nothing in Syria, like we have done so far.

  32. Many missed opportunities because of an all or nothing approach. Deciding if Assad should stay or go should be a decision made by the Syrian people, not by countries like the US, Turkey, or France, which have ulterior motives. US foreign policy has dwindled down to putting the interests of corporations to "open markets and promote democracy" rather than compromising and negotiating for peace. Sadly, the war cannot end; there are too many interests.

  33. Syria made that decision, that's why there is an ongoing civil war there. It has less to do with us than many people would like.

  34. The Syrian people have voted.

    With their feet.

  35. The people of Syria are indeed deciding if Assad should stay or go, and the formal title of that process is called Civil War with hundreds of thousands more to be slaughtered. The United States went through this in 1860-64, and the mid-East is going through it now, nation by nation.

  36. Obama over-learned the lesson from the invasion of Iraq. He is a complete and utter failure in the Middle East and areas nearby.

    In Iraq, Obama didn't leave a residual force and let Al Qaeda arise from the ashes to be reborn as ISIS, which quickly overtook Iraq's second largest city Mosul. Just 200 special ops troops spotting for our bombers would have prevented ISIS from taking over Mosul. Thousands of American troops thus were lost in vain.

    In Libya, Obama intervened, overthrew a government and the result is chaos, mass emigration to Europe, and ISIS overtaking the remnants.

    In Syria, Obama drew a redline and stands meekly by as Assad (a tiny tin-pot dictator) stomps all over it. Syria is a disaster with ISIS largely in control. Assad killed thousands of children with WMDs (the redline) yet Obama flailed everywhere for an out, eventually settling for Russia. Of course Russia understandably took this as weakness, which brings us to Ukraine.

    In Ukraine, Russia invades Europe and massacres an airliner full of civilians and Obama does nothing (a couple minor sanctions in comparison to an invasion counts as nothing).

    In Iran, Obama gives us a horrible deal. Everyone (including the Iranians) knew that Obama was going to eventually sign some deal , so we had little leverage at any point.

    All in all, a complete embarrassment. And I say this with regret as I voted for him.

  37. Obama didn't leave a residual force in Iraq because he was honoring the agreement GWBush signed with the Iraqui government.

  38. Hmm. Why do I think you probably didn't vote for him?

  39. There was never, before the invasion or after, any realistic scenario in which Iraq without Sadam would not dissolve into civil war, or in which our intervention would not have served the purposes of terrorist groups.

  40. I have great respect for Putin despite all the western propaganda trying to cast him as an "enemy" of democracy, and a wily, unsavory character when he is not any of those things. He has consistently supported Assad because he's right: every ME nation that has suffered the overthrow of established governments has turned into a quagmire of poverty, chaos, fear and violence. And if I had to speculate, I would say that certain western interests involved in the toppling of Middle Eastern established governments did so in with the objective of crippling those countries both socially and militarily through dysfunction and poverty. The objective was to make a more pliable, grateful atmosphere for western oil interests and Israeli domination. It's impossible not to notice how the declared Middle Eastern enemies of the west are always countries with governments that won't kowtow to western interests or Israeli demands.

    Assad in not our enemy. Syria was a civilized country with a functioning, educated population until the U.S. undermined his regime. Iraq, Yemen and Libya were stable countries until the west interfered both militarily and by fomenting rebellion, probably through the CIA. Regardless, I think that President Obama is starting to realize the value of being a more honest broker on global affairs, and rejecting selfish and often evil militant interests. Given the alarm in the rise of ISIS, it's time to work with Russia as equals for the sake of peace and sanity.

  41. So I guess you felt great about Putin's forces shooting down the Malaysian jetliner over the Ukraine because, heck, he's just misunderstood and maligned by the US press?

    Or Assad shouldn't be held accountable for war crimes against his own people such as using chemical weapons and cluster bombs in highly populated areas because, gee, anyone would have done the same thing in his position?

  42. Dont forget the "elephant in the room", the saudi sunni wahabbis and the house of saud with all the oil money

  43. Ay yes, those Israeli demands. The demand not to be killed and the desire to live in peace. Those are their only demands. But some feel the desire not to be expelled and/ or killed is just so unreasonable when proffered by Israelis.

  44. Poor Barack...the most ineffective, unrespected US president in many decades. "Impotent" comes to mind.
    “The general thrust was, if the Russians are going to be more engaged in the theater, we have to deconflict militarily and have a political way forward,” a senior State Department official said of the meeting, speaking on the condition of anonymity under the agency’s rules for briefing reporters. “We’re just at the beginning of trying to understand what Russian intentions are in Syria, in Iraq, and to try to see if there are mutually beneficial ways forward here.”

    The general thrust in the White House was, "What just happened...again?"

  45. We are so clueless in our sense of what is going on in the world. Imagine what will happen when we "trust" the Iranians to police their own nuclear arsenal ....

  46. What if the Russians are right?

    Can I say that?

    I just did.

  47. Mr. Putin left obama an open field to paint his own image on the ME for the last three years - The refugees streaming by the millions originating from Afghanistan to Libya - is the proof of his personal failure.

    Europe paid the ultimate price --- chaos. The entire obama foreign policy organization should resign from Samantha Power to the rest in Washington.

    The vilification of Mr Putin since the Sochi Olympics by this administration and more importantly the NYT - has been outrageous and shameful - An apology is in order on the Editorial Page - before He leaves town.

  48. Why apologize? Putin may be "right"/strategically correct about Syria but the guy is a near dictator and should be called out on it. Nothing shameful there.

  49. "the guy (Putin) is a near dictator.." Says who? Your media? Did you ask the Russian people? Ah, 88% of 140 million of Russians seem to like him. But what do we, Americans, care about what the Russian people think who there leader should be? We, the Americans, are exceptional, therefore we call the shots. As we did in Iraq, Lybia, now trying for the past 4 years in Syria, to free these poor oppressed people of the dictator Assad. Never mind those people voted for Assad recently. We just keep on dropping our democratic bombs until Assad falls. Then there will be no unified Syria, no government, no future, millions dead and displaced, but Hey! We overthrew Assad!

  50. "the twin crises it has helped spawn: the unyielding spread of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and the surge of refugees"

    This overlooks the vast spread of al Qaeda. We fought for a very long time in Afghanistan justifying that to prevent re-establishment there of al Qaeda, only now to see it re-established and vastly enlarged in Syria and Iraq.

    This also overlooks the vast suffering inside Syria and Iraq. They count too.

  51. Our relationship with Russia should be deeper and more cooperative than it has been. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev worked together hand in hand to make the world a safer place. All that effort thrown away over poor decisions and no communication.
    I did not support President Obama for office, however, I absolutely thought he would do a better job than I have witnessed. Putin has done for Russia what is correct and within the Russian sphere of influence. Our country in trying to punish Russia has punished the world.
    Le us go beyond our parochial interests and work with strong partners to achieve our desired results, not with the vacillating group of countries known as Nato and Europe.

  52. "Our relationship with Russia should be deeper and more cooperative than it has been."

    At one time, there was talk of a Grand Alliance of the US, Russia and India against a militant Islamic Caliphate, but Obama destroyed US / Russian relations. Hopefully the next US president will be able to improve them.

  53. Overweening hubris in the White House, particularly in foreign affairs, gets people killed. When an inexperienced President who thinks he's the smartest guy in the room starts playing hunches outside his depth, and surrounds himself with amateurish political sycophants instead of a knowledgeable and experienced national security apparatus, you get the current set of disasters. At this point, the best we can probably do is hope that the President figures out how not to make it worse and that the next president is a experienced adult with a modicum of humility and common sense.

  54. Gee, you mean like Jeb Bush?

  55. and just who might that competent leader be among the folks running for president, other than Bernie, possibly?

  56. You are of course speaking of George W. Bush and his chosen coterie of "amateurish political sycophants" (otherwise known as the chicken hawk neocon contingent). Well said!

  57. The other night on Bill Mahr's show, John Cleese hit the nail on the head when he summarized the state of the world in one word: Hopeless.

    If, instead of the UN's empty chairs talking without end in circles that go nowhere other than letting each of them getting to hear the sound of their own voices translated into different languages, they just shut up and conceded the inevitable, people around the world would give up pinning their hopes on some imaginary myth of organized world peace and just make what's real for themselves on their own and without the interference of ineffectual politicians.

  58. The United States has provided more fighters for ISIS than against it. Our efforts to train "moderates" is pitiful. Now we have only the choice between Assad (horrible) and ISIS (worse.) We must work with the Russians and Iranians to defeat ISIS and then worry about Assad.

  59. Folks in region are leaving Assad's government and joining the jihad ISIS forces to overthrow his rule and start a new nation..... I'd stay out of it and let the folks over there figure things out...it's theirs to destroy or build.

  60. Under Assad Christian and ALL religions are free and safe to practice their religion. Women are free to drive, get educated, and not cover up as the grotesque practice forces women in lawless Saudi Arabia, our "free" ally against Assad. Who are we kidding? Nobody takes us seriously.

  61. You can't do one without the other because Assad unites all the opposition. From ISIS to everyone else. The Russians have to install someone else who the opposition will negotiate with or watch this situation get more dire for their client state IMO.

  62. In my book, Putin will never have the stature of Gaddafi, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro or Che Guevara. But he's still one of the most dynamic world leaders of our generation. I wish he could be my President instead of that lying, cowardly jackal, Obama.

    David Blomstrom, Candidate for Washington State Governor, www.governor5.com

  63. I suspect the ability to control Russia since 1999 has probably involved a lot more lying and jackal-like behavior than the amateur, Obama. He could be your President if you had the guts to move to that beacon of freedom, Russia.

  64. Whatever it takes, ISIS has to be destroyed. And if takes Putin, so be it!

  65. Even if it requires the use of tactical nuclear weapons to do so.

  66. You don't honestly believe Putin would stoop to those measures do you?

  67. We are making the same mistake the British did. The British tried to play kingmaker in the middle east and south Asia and created many of the conflicts we see today. It is a tragedy that people fail to realize over and over again that domestic conflicts cannot be solved by outsiders militarily.

  68. the world needs to do anything they can to stop this all these people keep dying for nothing and it needs to be stopped as soon as possible

  69. Think of how different the world would be today if the US had supported the USSR's effort to modernize Afghanistan.

  70. Through the USSR's liberal use of the Hind helicopter?

  71. If your definition of modernize means occupation, suppression and imperialism.

  72. The USSR invaded Afghanistan to “modernize” it? Just liked it invaded Czechoslovakia and Hungary to “liberate” them from the tyranny of political democracy and a free press?

  73. I am so proud to have Obama as my president. I just wish my fellow citizens had one ounce of intelligence. There truly is no hope when a man of this stature is denigrated and ridiculed. The dark nature of humanity infects all of us, it seems some more than others.

  74. POTUS us a very nice man and that doesn't mean that all of his polcies are seen as effective by everybody but by insulting other posters saying that they don't have one ounce of intelligence you and denigrating and ridiculing them.

  75. Perhaps if y'all stopped screaming incoherently at the President, and quit rewriting history to suit bizarre purposes?

  76. Harry, I agree with you. There are too many Americans who would prefer the fake toughness of Putin, who can always depend on Russian peasants who have been used to propping up their leaders for centuries, to keep him in power in spite of a faltering economy.

  77. I vote we let Vlad handle it.

    The US has had enough of the Persian Wars and Afghanistan and ISIS and Libya and Egypt and Iraq and Yemen and Syria and Baltimore.

    Vlad can do it and we will give moral support. Go Vlad, go. We love you.

  78. Perfect. Maybe we can build a couple of roads, pave a few million of them and make a few bridges structurally sound, and while we are at - educate our kids and help those kids in Baltimore have a more promising future! Go Vlad!

  79. Bush got us into this mess and Obama did nothing to help the opposition until it was too late. I would not like to see Putin have great influence in the Middle East but maybe he is the man necessary to do something effective to fight the enemy.

  80. Syria was at peace when Bush Left, The Arab Spring deteriorated into the Syrian civil war - Not Obama's fault but it did.

  81. Let's all eat humble pie and get together to destroy the ISIS. There is no use crying over spilled milk. There is blame to go all around. But we can together stanch the scourge, which is the ISIS. There is more of a possibility to rout the ISIS with an all round effort than it is with Russia supporting Assad or us trying to train and arm the moderates especially when we cannot identify them. This could also perhaps solve the refugee crisis, with each country pitching in, instead of just being critical of Europe for it's inability to cope. Maybe, there is still hope. For repeating the same endeavors over and over, expecting a different result is stupidity and a fool's errand.

  82. Why bother? ISIS or Ashad or the Islamic Brotherhood there is little or no difference to those on the ground. ISIS is built on the model of warfare developed by Iran for insurgencies. This chicken has come home to roost.

  83. I have no great regard for Putin, but he is right.

    The intervention by the Coalition forces in Iraq and Libya has proven a disaster. The strong but unacceptable dictators have been removed and now there is mayhem.

    The USA and the West simply cannot understand the concept of democracy will never be embraced by middle east countries. It simply does not fit.

    Assad is highly undesirable, but a better alternative to Isis.

  84. They, even in Sharia law, have "fairness" even democratic tendencies. It's just that their expression of democracy and fairness is far different than ours. So I guess We Are Right (WAR) and they are wrong.

  85. The Islamic State terror and the civil war in Syria seem to be the biggest destabilising factors threatening global peace and stability today, as to be seen in tens of thousands being slaughtered in Syria/ Iraq, and millions more being displaced causing an unprecedented flood of refugees inundating the European shores. The master key to solve this complex Syrian conundrum, in particular, and the Middle East turmoil lies with the US and Russia as they happen to be the main players and rest of the forces their proxies in the region. The US President Obama and the Russian President Putin, whatever their differences should seize the moment and join hands, like on the Iran nuclear deal, to seek a peaceful diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. The UN should play an active supportive role at that. The UN General Assembly session may be the right neutral forum for the task.

  86. And before that it Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and of course Israel. It clear this president has no clear vision or plan to extract the world from this mess.

  87. "The master key to solve this complex Syrian conundrum, in particular, and the Middle East turmoil lies with the US and Russia as they happen to be the main players"

    I thought the Syrian and Iraqis were the main players. My bad.

  88. What should emerge from the U.N. opening and its endless speeches is that the U.S. and the West it putatively leads has lost all semblance of real leadership in the Middle East to a Russia headed by Vladimir Putin, and his allies of convenience for the moment, Iran, Syria and the Shiastan portion of Iraq.

    Mr. Obama can rail against the destabilizing forces of the region, largely ISIS, but clearly has little interest or intention of doing anything about them OTHER than complain. That leaves the only interested approach to be Russia's; and Russia's interests will remain in keeping Bashar al Assad's Syria viable so long as Assad kills Islamist jihadists in Syria, allowing Putin to avoid that chore in Russian enclaves.

    To what miserable levels have we sunk.

  89. If I understand correctly, Russia has broken international law by invading Crimea and Ukraine. However, some members of the Security Council would say that a country has the right to influence its part of the world, particularly where it once held power. (We fought a Civil War to keep southern states as part of the Union.) Also, NATO has armed forces on the border of Russia, which has to live with that reality.

    The US has a long history of interfering in other countries to install leadership that we want. None of that has proved effective in the long run. Cooperation might solve the Syria tragedy if the US would not insist in having its own way about the future leadership.

    It is naïve to think that the US can make powerful countries in other parts of the world do what we want them to do. Diplomacy is the only way to hope to come up with a palatable balance in a fragile world. In today’s world military force can’t work as it did in WW II.

  90. Sadam was on our pay roll for years, fighting Iran at our behest. Once he thumb-nosed Old-man-Bush, hell broke lose, Bush egos were bamboozled. George W. shafted Sadam, used our Ambassador April Gulisspi to convey a mixed message to Sadam re: his attack on Kuwait (which historically was a part Iraq), then Dubya had the stupid nerve to hang way up on the jail wall his own photo to tantalize Sadam before his execution. This evil father and son team is now pushing their little boy Bush to run for our Presidency, as a pay back for helping Dubya become a president. THEY HAVE NO SHAME. They got us in this mess, and THEY should be tried in the court of Law.

  91. while the US plays in democracy in Libya, Iraq, Syria, etc. - Millions of people were killed.

  92. Sadly, Obama had an open canvas to create a masterpiece of Middle East policy, and instead he finger painted like an elementary student. Imagine if he had gone into Syria in allegiance with the government of Syria, used all possible means to defeat Isis, and then sought legitimate changes in Syria. In other words, let's save your country first, then worry about the government. Putin will be the hero defeating Isis, and Obama the fool.
    We try to fight a war with armed drones, Russia uses drones for surveillance then hammers the terrorists with the SU-25. We choose to retire the A-10, our most effective ground attack aircraft. As an airline Captain and former military pilot I am baffled by our decisions and our President. More significantly, I am ashamed I voted for him.

  93. Minor technical detail: ISIS didn't start the Syrian civil war. They didn't even exist at the time.

  94. "We choose to retire the A-10, our most effective ground attack aircraft."

    The "Fighter Mafia" which dominates the Air Force high command absolutely hates the A-10 because it has no air to air capability, but at the same time refuse to turn it over to the US Army, who would love to have it, because they do not want competition from the Army.

  95. Sorry Robert you might want to check your facts,Founded in 1999, by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. You are right, Daesh did not start the Syrian civil war, they only exploited the war to conquer as much as they could while the world was sitting on their hands.

  96. World leaders are simply laughing at Obama and his empty words at the U.N. Putin ignores Obama's red lines in the sand of Syria and continues to arm the Assad regime while establishing Russian bases there for future use. Meanwhile Crimea is now a Russian satellite state, and Ukraine is not far behind. China takes us to the cleaners in manufacturing and exports while we import nearly everything we consume from them. They own vast amounts of our federal debt which Obama has increased from $11 trillion to $18 trillion in 6 short years, and Obama has "negotiated" a pass for them on greenhouse gas emissions until 2026, while simultaneously tightening controls on U.S. energy and manufacturing companies. Obama capitulates to Iran's nuclear ambitions and turns over $150 billion to them for their purchase of more arms and munitions from China and Russia to further their terrorist activities world wide. The list of foreign policy blunders goes on and on. The Obama administration will go down as the most inept foreign policy presidency in our history.

  97. This is dross of the worst sort. Only 2.7% of American consumables are imported from China. Only 7% of our debt is held by China (less than that held by Japan). China has done far more in recent years to reduce it's greenhouse gas emissions than the USA--most recently by preparing to impose a cap and trade system on its worst industrial polluters. There is plenty to criticize the Obama administration for--especially on the international front--without lying and fear-mongering.

  98. Diplomacy should always have its place in the U.S. approach to world affairs and in our dealings with other countries. But, diplomacy, particularly the kind of diplomacy that is predicated on naivete, lack of deep understanding of your opponents, and fear of action, soon leads to "paralysis by analysis". This may create a sense that our engagements/disengagements (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, China, etc.) are reasonably quiet and progressing on some satisfactory trajectory towards some kind of undefined success. Unfortunately, diplomacy can only take you so far. When carried on too long, coupled with you opponents knowledge that you will not act assertively, they start to behave like the bad actors they are. Obama dosen't seem to understand that Putin, Khomeini, Xi Jinping, Assad, Issis, et al., are playing both the short and long games. They will not hesitate, under cover of diplomacy, to remake the world in their demented image.

  99. So what do you suggest? We should invade them all?

  100. "They will not hesitate, under cover of diplomacy, to remake the world in their demented image."

    Just like us and our presidents, from both parties, reflecting quite well the American view of exceptionalism, especially moral exceptionalism (the 16th century enlightenment and reformation). We are often the pot calling the kettle black.

  101. Obama created the problems that he is talking about resolving with his failed middle east policies and lack of leadership. Allowing thousands of undocumented refugees to enter the US will further compound the problem and potentially allow terrorists to enter our country.

    He is an arrogant, pompous, socialist ideologue who has jeopardized the safety of all Americans.

  102. Obama's 'failed middle east policies'? What about the two Bushes? How did they do? Obama has just been trying to clear up the incredible mess they left behind.

  103. Obama has done nothing but make the problem much worse. His policy of disengagement is a disaster, for which we will pay a huge price. Everything he has done is purposeful toward making the US a second tier power in the world. It is his transformative purpose and policy, pure and simple.

  104. Give it up tom. Even Obama has stopped trying to blame Bush for his failures.

    You conveniently forget that based on the evidence all the top democrats including Hillary voted for the war with Iraq etc.

  105. If the. USA is not planning to lead then it's fine to follow Putins plans. It's sad to say our leadership is diminishing, however we clearly have trouble developing a strategy that's works.

  106. America has no strategy unless it's sponsored by major corporations and banks. With moneyed interests not standing to benefit in the outcome in most of the middle east, there will be no "strategy", just a continued tactical destabilization everywhere that arms sales can be drummed up.

  107. Putin maintained Assad's forces were "the only legitimate conventional army there". The Western-led airstrikes so far have avoided targeting Assad's "positions on the battlefield". This allows the regime forces to wipe out all enemies with ferocity. Perhaps this is the first step to "ethnic cleansing"!
    Will Putin be able to convince Obama to put aside their differences and join together in the fight against Islamic State? He wants to come in from the cold - rebranding Russia from pariah to partner and diverting attention away from Ukraine, while retaining a degree of influence in Syria and boosting Russia's international image. The question is whether the Sunni Arabs would let him have his way!

  108. President Obama's speech at the UN this morning was one of his very best. I felt very proud. Bravo! (Notice that no representative of Syria, Iran, Russia, or Cuba applauded him. They hate it when he's right. It's embarrassing.)

  109. What happened to the access to video stream from this UN session? I listened to Obama's speech, now I want to go back and listen to Tusk and hopefully to Putin too (since one can never find anything in direct speech from the guy in the mainstream papers) and there is no more access to the video stream! How come! Don't you want your readers to form their own opinion about world leaders views on numerous crises and their ideas on how to solve those? I have to go to RT now with hopes that they are streaming it live continuously. I hope you will reinstate the access. Thank you.

  110. "Don't you want your readers to form their own opinion about world leaders views on numerous crises and their ideas on how to solve those?"

    Not if you are a media executive and know even better than Obama what he meant, so all their hired, well paid talking heads must tell what he and every other politician said and meant because "we the people" are too stupid to figure it our for ourselves.

  111. The UN is justly criticized as a do-nothing body with a wasteful bureaucracy. But its real value is, in addition to its humanitarian relief efforts, to serve as a forum for world leaders to air their disputes and fight each other with words and political maneuvers. If that has saved us from even one war, the UN has amply paid for itself.

  112. Only intellectual dishonesty can deny that the US president lack leadership.

  113. I say they need to put all of them on a Island and that way they well all be together and they can and keep the bad people out of the USA! We are having enough problems with the mexicans! And the person who said he likes Putin he needs to go to Russia, I am sure he would change his mind very fast.

  114. Largely because of Obama's failed foreign policy.

  115. At this rate, by the time Obama leaves office you won't be able to find a single person who will admit to having voted for him. Let's all think about that before we rush to anoint HRC, the chief architect of Obama's Foreign "Policy".

  116. You live in the wrong neighborhood or travel in the wrong circles: I don't know very many people who don't still brag about supporting him and who also don't shake their heads in astonishment at the haters and the reasons they invent for hating him.

  117. In another decade, you may not be able to find a single person had voted against him.

  118. I disagree with you about Obama eventually not having a single person who admits to voting for him. I do agree with your indicated sentiment that he is a failure but there are those, and unfortunately numbering in the millions, who are so stupid and/or short sighted that they still back him and will continue to back him regardless of his and their idiocy.

  119. " the United States could not solve the world’s problems on its own, he said."

    Really, all the rest of the world is asking, is that the United States not make the problems worse. But, once it has made them worse, at least assume the responsibility of the problems it has created.

    "He pointed to the war in Iraq where, despite sending more than 100,000 troops and spending trillions of dollars, the United States was unsuccessful in stabilizing the country."

    If he really said this, this is not serious. The U.S. sent more than 100 000 troops and spent trillions of dollars to *destabilize* the country first and then, half-heartedly, stabilize it.

  120. Correct: the warmongering Cheney/Rumsfeld/Dubya contigent, caught flatfooted in kindergarten on 9/11 launched Iraq 2 "Desert Mongrel" to find non-existent WMDs, destroy the Baathists, encourage a new religious war among those predisposed to kill each other and throw the whole thing in the laps of Americans with the Patriot Act making meaningful dissent illegal and destroying the Constitution. I recommend prosecuting those who called for this "messianic" crusade against the wrong people for the wrong reasons for the treason against the national interest that it truly was, and still is. Nuremburg still has a courthouse we can use.

  121. Unfortunately, there never were any words about stabilization. The main tasks were the overthrow a intractable leader and took control over oil. That's it, the missions is accomplished.

  122. Obama is still stumping for ISIS over Assad. It's time for him to admit that his support of the rebels, who now fight alongside AQ, Al-Nusra and ISIS, has deepened the civil war. He had no business getting involved in Syria (or Libya), but he is too proud to admit he's wrong. He joins Bush and Cheney in the warmongers Hall of Fame.

  123. President Obama has and is making the best of a difficult job, walking a tightrope between what he can do and all the delusions of a nation that thinks he can just walk over all of history and complain when he can't.

    Encouraging Democrats to blame him for not being superhuman is a favorite activity of Republican strategists.

    It is amazing to me that so many people think a self-publicizing shyster can do what he says, just because he says it. Just like televangelists, he is ugly to the core. Making quieter but ignorant and bigoted opponents like Carson and Fiorina look good is not providing us with options to move towards a reasonably public entity that will act for the common good in the years to come.

    I am horrified that we are willing to trash our hospitable home, the planet, to submit to the marketing apparatus and make the wealthy wealthier.

    We, the human family, need to care for ourselves and our planet, not hate anyone who steps in to say, hey, there's work to be done, stop with screaming for the products of hair and makeup as if that world was more real than the one we occupy.

    Obama is not to blame for not making us more aggressive; we cannot police the world. Putin is a wily guy, but he's interested in Russia, especially in its previous glory, and willing to take advantage.

    Please take thought about the world of the possible and realize it is you and your families that are at risk.

  124. Putin has always been wily. He knows when he comes to the UN he will be taken to task about Crimea and Ukraine. So he makes a deft move for a different solution to the Syrian crisis. He is killing many birds with one stone - focus the light away from Crimea, a likely solution to the murder and mayhem in Syria, rein in the ISIS, justify support to Assad, be the Leader to initiate a possible workable solution to beat the ISIS and above all steal the thunder from right under our noses. Sounds like a great plan - for him and Russia !!!

  125. It’s hard to tell what the US president is trying to accomplish in Syria.

    We do not have the guts to send on the Marines, and clean up this mess. We could do it, but we won’t.

    Then Russia sends her Marines to do this job, but we’re getting on the way.

    Why? What is our government doing there, that they so scared someone else will find out?

    The position of the US is that we will not help, unless Assad walks away, and we shame anyone who tries to step in.

    Meantime, ISIS continues their reign of terror. Or not, depending on which NYT article you want to believe; Sunday’s article said ISIS had lost momentum, today’s article says ISIS continues to expand unabated.

    Fact is, the Marines are not coming. Time for us to stop being a hero, and move aside, let someone else take the lead.

  126. We did send in the Marines and the result is ISIS.
    Aside from that, this country doesn't have the stomach to go to war and we don't have the money to pay for it.

  127. Why should it always be American boots on the ground? Good on Russia for stepping up to the plate. Too many Americans have lost their lives for a group of people who don't even want democracy.

  128. Obama has let the enemies have free rein. He wants US to be 2nd class power.

  129. I believe that we will never have peace in the Middle East in my lifetime. It has been a boiling pot of different what? - tribes, sects, whatever - forced to live under unnatural boundaries since WWII. No government, or group, in any of those nations lives by our ethical or moral codes. We will never be successful there. Let them fight it our and leave the strongest groups standing. We would be fools to go back. How much money and blood do we need to throw away?

  130. Just listened to President Obama addressing the world's political leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in which he proudly asserted the United States is the #1 economic and especially military power in the world and America intends to maintain that status -- by force if necessary. Obama offered mere abstract reference to the dangers of man-caused Climate Change -- abstract inasmuch he did not state that the United States will take the overwhelming and necessary action to not only halt this growing disaster, but reverse it.
    Meanwhile, as today's article in the Guardian newspaper state, the planet may have not only reached the environmental tipping point of little hope, but surpassed it. It may well be that all is already lost as far as the future of humanity is concerned!

  131. I don't care who brings stability to Syria and the Middle East. It's not a contest. It's a global imperative. Many commenters, here, appear to be fixated on the blame game and the need for US superiority. It's time to let these immature reactions go and support whatever is working.

  132. ISIS is Saudi Arabia without the legitimacy; to visit the beheading capitol of the world, go to Riyadh. ISIS is a creation of Saudi Arabia's relentless spread of Wahhabism using petrodollars supplied by the West.

  133. Seems that is what happens when US leadership, action rather then talk, happens. Seems O, as always, is political 24/7. Best the GOP focus on 2016 so we can avoid his 'dangerous and dark current' that are pulling us into a disordered country.

  134. It should be no surprise that Russian, Iraq, Syria and Iran are sharing intelligence information with. Russia and Iran have always been allied with Assad and ever since GWBush turned Iraq into a client state of Iran it basically does whatever Iran wants them to do.

    But in reality better they are stuck in the middle east quagmire of what is little more then a 1000 year old sectarian war between Sunni and Shiite then we are, and better to let those who live in the middle east fight their own battles instead of us doing it for them.

    You would think Russia would have learned something from its experience in Afghanistan but clearly the rightwing her in America hasn't learned anything from it so why should they. I guess whenever you can send other people's kids to die in war its easy for them to go to war.

  135. Were the Israelis kind enough to have someone listening to Obama this time? Or was their seat again empty, just their usual nuanced way of letting America know who runs the show in America?

  136. Too much hypocritical hubris from the American Drone King Prison Warden Big Brother Spy Barack Hussein Obama.

  137. For once I wish we'd dispense with the blame game in the Middle East. We spend too much time and good will within our own country as to whether it is Assad who gave rise to ISIS. Or it was the U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know whether Putin has this right about Syria or Obama does. We should have learned by now that actions we think are correct can and do often lead to unintended and unwelcome consequences. Just as we didn't consult Russia before taking our actions in Syria with regard to ISIS, Putin is now doing the same by not consulting with us. I wonder when the two greatest powers in the world will align around the common goal of eliminating the barbarism and human toll taking place there.

  138. When Obama is gone.

  139. ISIS does not think they are barbaric, they think we are. I guess we are right (WAR) and they are wrong (TAW) ---- WAR-TAW, the cry of every dictator, emperor, king, and president.

  140. If you read what is happening in Syria you;ll find that Assad is slaughtering his own people when the they demonstrated for peace. Even his own people were appalled at his actions.
    According to the article I read, his assassins went right to the demonstration and mowed every one of them down. He is denying them food, not permitting them to leave. In the meantime he sent his family to Jordan in order to save his own kids. He turned out to be a monster.

  141. The 800 pound gorilla in the room: Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, BAhrain, Qatar and Kuwait. Very oil rich Arab states. States, who one way or another have contributed to the destabilization of the region and help, over time, create ISIS, Al Quida, the Tallivban, etc. Not to mention, indirectly supporting dictators in the region, like Assad.

    The biggest fear is that these authoritarian, oil rich monarchies will have to cede power to the masses. Add to this, they are playing the UN, the US, Russia, et. all against each other to keep power. Caught in the middle, Arabs of poor countries, who they want repressed, as they do not have an uprising within their own borders. Their weapon? Threats to cutting off the oil supply.

    The Secretary General said what he had to say, but glossed over what needed to be said about About the world's true evil empire, the oil rich Arab states of the middle east and and their exportation of militant Islam.

    The latest agreement between Russian, Iraq, Iran and Syria is a classic example tactics to keep the status quo. The US, and its coalition being the other sphere of influence. Similar to what we had with the "Cold War". Meanwhile, the oil rich Arab states laugh all tthe way to the bank.

    What happened last week, in Mecca, hundreds killed so a royal procession can pass through, is a glaring example of what the Hajj has become. A Saudi Arabia version of Las Vegas; complete with garish hotels. This while migrants die and starve to get away from ISIS.

  142. This is the problem of having an morally superior orator-in-chief. US leadership is fundamentally weaker today than it has been in my lifetime. Through meaningless redlines and an inability to decisively affect strategic outcomes, the US has been out maneuvered-again. We could cite the examples of the Ukrainian annexation by Russia, failure to achieve a SOFA in Iraq that could have bolstered the pitiful Iraqi Army, or conducting an expensive air war that has produced little in the way of result.

    Self-righteousness alone is not a solution to international or domestic politics. We must stop believing in the moral purity of academic safety and we begin to live in the world as it is.

  143. Can we get the Pope to come back?
    All of this U.N. talk is just such a buzz kill after such an uplifting week listening to the Pope. And I am not even a Catholic.

  144. The picture in this article is supposed to make us hate Assad? Yes, when there are rebels in a region, using civilians as human shields, there will inevitably be innocent bloodshed. By the same logic, this article should show pictures of Palestinian children bleeding in the streets of Gaza. But then again, propaganda...

    And where are the pictures of American (mostly black American) civilians, bleeding in the streets of Ferguson? Oh wait, there aren't very many because the land of the free, which allows freedom of the press, arrested 11 journalists for trying to do their job. Those "journalists" who were not arrested obliged to instructions to stay withing the "press pens" and report from a perspective that was essentially theatrically coerced and shoved down their throats and, subsequently, down the throats and into the closed minds of the "'Muricahn" public.

    A sad state of affairs.

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
    --Josph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister

  145. Ah, sorry to interrupt your propaganda, but Assad is raining munitions down upon civilians quite randomly, and has used chemical weapons, and has the blood of tens of thousands at least on his hands. Don't stand up for a mass murderer, please.

    And in Ferguson in the last protests, the black civilians who were injured were pretty much all injured by other black civilians who took the opportunity to engage in some looting, burning, and gunfire. So beware propaganda coming from any extremes, I'd say.

  146. So many readers here reach for easy solutions and critical explanations. THe reason America has not solved all the world's problems is not because of failed policies or weak leadership by Obama's administrations. The problems resist simple fixes and Obama and his team work at them and labor away, trying to build the relationships and trust that Bush and his horrible team so abruptly squandered away.
    Obama is also saddled with a traitorous GOP in the house or senate that only works to undermine every initiative he undertakes (such as the red line he sought to draw in Syria and that crazy letter the GOP senators sent to Iran about the nuclear deal).
    Restoring the relationships that Cheney and Bush frittered away for eight years will take another decade: Go Hillary!

  147. "The Buck Stops Here"H. Truman, President of the United States Mr. Obama has been in office for seven years, allowing for rounding up. Stop blaming others for his failures.

  148. Really? Mr. Obama. Diplomacy? Really?, You who are commander in chief of 45% of military spending in the world, 65% of spending on war? Your army has bases in or active presence in 80 countries? You who are an terrorist assassin of people you don't like without trial, even your own citizens, by means of the most terror causing weapon in the world, drones? You who send our bombers to kill people half way around the world? Really, Mr. President? Your call for diplomacy to solve conflicts around the world rings hollow, perhaps even hypocritical. But I note it is not just you. The republicans are even greater war mongers than even you. You are just reflecting your (our) penchant for moral supremacy that gives us the "right" even "obligation" to "set things right". But that is what war is all about, because not everyone agrees with you (us) about what is indeed right and wrong. Really, Mr. President. Diplomacy? If you believe it then cut our military budget by about 90 percent to match the budgets of everyone else, including Russia and China.

  149. Nothing accomplished at the UN. Every country talking for/to itself, actually reminds me of the Republican Presidential Candidates, about 15, recently advertising themselves at the Reagan Center. Waste of time.

  150. Mr. Obama went to the UN and had nothing concrete to say.

  151. I thought his speech was comprehensive and thoughtful. We are fortunate to have such an articulate and thoughtful President.

  152. Hugh: his speech was lies beginning to end. Really: do your homework.

  153. The fantasy never dies, no matter how many people do. The U.S. military can accomplish anything, ANYTHING! if politicians would not limit it with this various forms of cowardice. This was the drone during and after Vietnam, and it hasn't subsided despite all evidence to the contrary, the testimony of even the Generals, and the immorality of the idea in the first place. This is the irrational belief in our presumed destiny to Make the world our militarily enforced empire. Based on the even more irrational belief that all problems can be solved via war. Based on the even more immoral belief that only we (the U.S. military) know what's good for all the peoples of the earth.

  154. Assad must go. Why is he still there? He is the cause for the exodus in Syria because people do not want to die under his wing and his bombs of gas.
    it is baffling to me. Also obvious how Russia still takes the side of tyrants. In a sense Putin is not much better. Why is he still in power after all these years?

  155. With connections in Boston and Frankfurt, you could be in Beirut first thing Wednesday morning! Go on, make sure Assad goes! Brave man. What's that smell? Oh, you should have gone before we left the house.

  156. Specifically denouncing Assad by name early on in his speech does not serve Obama well @ this critical juncture in coming to grips yet again with a way of resolving the Syrian crisis. Otherwise, we heard a lofty, lengthy paen to the values of democracy that probably bored many attendees.

  157. President Obama pursues peace through strength and strength through peace — which is really the only way.

    Kudos to him for monumental progress on Cuba and Iran. John Kerry and Pope Francis also deserve considerable credit and either or both deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

  158. Might as well give Kerry a Nobel. They are worthless after Obama got one.

  159. Wrong: Obama pursues Peace through Weakness and Weakness at the expense of Americas and the interests of the World's freedom.

  160. Nobel Foundation has gift shops in Stockholm and Oslo, you can buy one in chocolate. Send one to Obama and Kerry, should be fine, they never take the heat, it's always some subordinate. Like the poor geek who got ordered by the SecState to set up an illegal email server in her private home.

  161. Obama once again proves himself the fool with his "remember how this started" comment. Syria is not Ferguson, MO, where you can misrepresent the truth and incite and get away with it. Clearly, had Assad been able to stop the rebels fewer people would have died, especially Christians, there would be fewer refugees, if any, and ISIS would not exist. But what did Obama do? He encouraged the rebels, gave them support, and prolonged the misery into this multiyear disaster. Yes, this is a brutal region of the world. We are not going to change that with bullying words.

  162. Warrantone, you are completely wrong. Assad instigated the rebellion. There was no rebellion until he started slaughtering people who were simply begging for food.

    Your argument is that we shoudl have helped Assad killhis own people, who were starving and hat would somehow have made fewer disontented people who would join ISIS. That is a stupid argument.

    ISIS originated in Iraq, not Syria. They came into being before the Iraq war even started, then joined with Al Quaeda to fight the Americans in Iraq.

    Pay attention, learn some history.

    You just start with the premise that you dont like Obama, and then you find whatever flood of nonsense you can to support that.

  163. 'Those dangerous currents include major powers who want to ignore international rules and impose order through force of military power, he (Obama) said.'

    It is unfathomable that any U.S. president could lecture on such a issue, after our unmitigated failures with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the thousands of lives lost, trillions squandered and chaos created.

    True, Obama did not initiate these conflicts, but there is still constant meddling on our government’s part throughout the Middle East, deciding who to arm and who not to arm, which leader should remain in power and which should not. The other day the Times noted that we may help an affiliate of Al Qaeda to help quell rising tensions in Syria. Wasn’t Al Qaeda our sworn enemy not so long ago?

    This is part of our history of failed aggressions. Before pointing fingers at other nations and their policies, perhaps we should remove the obstruction from our own eyes to aid us in seeing things more clearly.

  164. I thought Obama acknowledged our failures in the Middle East, both Iraq & Libya. Syria is another story. The Pope called for the end of the arms industry on his first day in the USA. How many americans even know that we are the world’s top arms exporter? Russia & China are our nearest competitors.

  165. Obama's speech, already upon the dustheap of history. He tried to have it both ways on Syria, trying to defeat both ISIS and Assad, and Putin picked up the football Obama fumbled, and is standing in the other end zone as Obama pontificates (sorry, Frank).

  166. How ,oh how, is this a "win" for Putin?

  167. Haven't this all started with the US invasion of Iraq? Obama is absolutedly right: we deployed hundreds of thousands of troops and spent trilliions of dollars in the neocon's misguided pursuit "nation building", yet the Middle East is far worse off. And we go in to counter or preempt (your favorite villain nation)'s move, we'll end up escalating it into vietnam style proxy wars only to make suffering of the people worse.

    Ultimately, Syria is the problem that Syrian people must solve. Likewise, Iraq. We only can help them help themselves and provide humanitarian assistance however we can. Those who are now clamouring for military intervention obvously haven't learned the lesson from Vietnam and Iraq, or learned a wrong one from WW2 or Korea -- remember the comparison of Sadam Hussein to Hitler? -- like the neocons who brought this mess at the first place.

  168. Imagine Trump's bluster or Carson's cluelessness at that forum, rather than Obama's thoughtful, reasoned presentation. The US does not exist or operate in a vaccum. The next President must not be another militaristic, bomb first think later, diplomacy is for the weak, don't do historical/cultural research leader like GWB.

  169. Mr. Obama threatened at least five nations, Iraq, Iran, China, Russia, and Syria in his speech. I don't think Mr. Trump would top that.

  170. "Mr. Obama warned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back in a dark more disordered world.”

    Yeah, commas matter.

  171. Mr. President, where does the unbridled and extralegal use of drones by the U.S. (and soon everyone else) fit in our increasingly disordered world?

  172. I'm OK with drones once everyone has them and the US is as likely to get burned by them as to accomplish anything.

  173. Reduces the overall population by a small amount. Every little bit helps.

  174. The situation - as beyond correction - perpetuates non performing national entities

  175. For the entire first Obama administration, and well into the second, the Obama foreign policy continued that of the Bush administration. This was the neocon policy of world domination sometimes called the Wolfowitz Doctrine as expressed in the "Project for a New American Century". This doctrine is that there must arise no power anywhere in the world capable of thwarting the will of "the last superpower", and that any power that defies our will must be destabilized and overthrown. This doctrine was applied to Iraq under Bush, and then to Libya and Syria under Obama. The result has been the destruction of three functioning states, and the arise of ISIS out of the resulting chaos. What is worse is that our so-called war against ISIS has been completely phony. We have been continuing the neocon policy by allowing our allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey to finance and supply ISIS as an instrument to overthrow Assad. This policy has finally caused Putin to step in to protect Russia's ally Syria and to declare a real war against ISIS. This gives Obama the perfect opportunity to reverse the neocon policies of the last six years. If the U.S. and Russia can form a good working relationship at the U.N. this week, there is no international problem that cannot be solved.

  176. President Obama's speech is a joke.

    President Obama hails the international rules by the U.N. even though the U.S. violates them routinely at its discretion.

    Mr. Obama says, “major powers who want to ignore international rules and impose order through force of military power.” Has the U.S. ever done this? What about the last 14 years?

    “In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent civilians because the alternative is surely worse,”

    Let’s see, just to name a few: U.S. support of dictators in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, CIA coup overthrowing the popularly elected Mosaddegh and installing the dictator Shah in Iran, U.S. support of the brutal Somoza regime and the gentle contras under President Reagan, the CIA supported military coup over Aristide. For a comprehensive list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authoritarian_regimes_supported_by...

    “War has raged in Syria for four years” - and currently 14 years in the Muslim world by the U.S.

    “Mr. Obama made a forceful case for democracy and pointed out that “dictatorships are unstable.”

    Noam Chomsky has amply documented during his lifetime that the U.S. almost always prefers dictators over democracies because the latter are too unpredictable when it comes to protecting U.S. corporate interests.

  177. Lots of comments blaming Obama for the chaos in the Middle East. Believe it or not bad things happen no matter what a US president does. The Iraq invasion got the ball rolling and for that the US is responsible. It is naive to think though, that after the eggs were broken the US can by itself unscramble the mess and that there is an obvious course to follow. The American public will not countenance more military adventures in the region. All the talk of moderate opposition to Assad turned out to be just that, talk. The Arab countries have been less than helpful, some contributing directly to the growth of ISIS. Turkey seems to be more interested in attacking the Kurds than ISIS. The only course of action open to the US is to arm the Kurds but for that it needs to have some way of reaching them with Turkish cooperation. The situation is a tangled mess regardless of what the US choses to do.

  178. We must stop thinking going abroad and ruining the neighborhood will do anything but make enemies. Putin is a clever guy, Obama is cleverer (and good too), but in the end, you break it you own it.

  179. It was already broken. We just touched it, it fell apart on its own. Do we get blamed for that?

  180. Like it or not, the reality is that there are leaders in the world that will always desire expanding power and control even if that means using deadly and barbaric force. It has been this way since the beginning of recorded history, and likely even before that. The smart play is for the US to maintain the most powerful and prepared military in the world. We must not stumble into situations like Iraq, but we also must not allow China and Russia to fill the power void and gain such an advantage over the US. Naiveté is a dangerous thing Mr. President, and it seems to be your defining characteristic with regard to foreign affairs.

  181. "we also must not allow China and Russia to fill the power void and gain such an advantage over the US."

    I am sympathetic to the sentiment but the real issue is how. Are we supposed to start shooting at the Russians and the Chinese in order to "not allow" them to do whatever we don't want them to do? If so how do we make sure it will not escalate into a nuclear war? If not what can the mechanism be to "not allow" them whatever? We know sanctions don't work, just look at Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea.

  182. Ugh. "This started" three years ago when Obama drew his infamous "red line" and failed to support Syrian rebels against Assad when they still had a chance at overcoming his brutal regime. Too little too late from this US president.

  183. Google would tell you that wasn't in 2012. Try to keep up!

  184. The less, the better, where Obama is concerned.

  185. Stubborn, irrationality, narrow mindness, loss of leadership is the resolve of president Obama and EU leaders that Syrian civil war can end only if president of Syria Bashar al-Assad is removed. Obama/EU leaders did not learn of their colossal mistake as Vladimir Putin pointed out: ISIS is the only organization that will replace Bashar al Assad if toppled. Assad has the infrastructure, police and leadership necessary to settle Syrian refugees in their homes and resurrect Syrian economy. It is cheaper than bringing a million refugees to EU and US.

  186. In other words everyone is to blame but Obama. One might ask how removing Assad would have a better result than removing Hussein or how it would even be done? Obama forswears the use of force to the elevation of diplomacy but they are two sides of the same coin. If you cannot back up what you say with the threat of force, who will listen to you? Certainly Assad did not but only doubled down when Obama drew a red line on the shifting sands of diplomacy but then failed to follow through thereby creating an opportunity for Putin, who acts first and then talks. Now Obama lectures the UN General Assembly on the value of diplomacy though he himself is clueless on how to exercise it.

  187. Saw part of this speech, and it was a good one, and I think the President is mostly right. The world needs to pull together in several ways, like it or not. Primarily the environment should be the concern, because without it we all die. That is, if it changes enough, it'll eliminate humanity, and we'd rather avoid that.

    Secondarily it's vital to limit population growth, by as humane means as possible. Once humane means are exhausted, inhumane means will need to be used, because overpopulation is the basis for all the problems humanity faces.

    Tertiarily, it's going to be necessary to eliminate fundamentalism. This will require eliminating the most dangerous fundamentalists first, like the Daesh and the taliban and such murderous barbarians. I'm sorry about this but they just all have to be turned into fertilizer, it's not possible to turn them civilized and they can't be left alive to do as they please. Anyone who jaunts off to Syria to join them must die also, and this will help out with problem #2 above.

    The main thing is that the world needs to band together and work on this jointly, leaving out all the psychotic little dictatorships which will also need to be done away with, like Assad's unholy reign. We, the civilized world, can do something about the barbarians, but only if we act decisively and pragmatically. Issuing warnings and such will not work.

    Good luck all, it's iffy whether humanity will make it through the next century or two, but there's hope.

  188. “dangerous currents risk pulling us back in a dark more disordered world.”

    Diplomacy without the genuine threat of force is little more than chit-chat. The President has proven he has no stomach for genuine diplomacy since he drew his infamous, "red line" in Syria, and then balked.

    That the rest of the world has taken his previous rhetoric at it's worth is no one's fault but President Obama's.

    No dangerous current threatening to bring about a more disordered world exists today than the leaky-as-a-sieve Iran nuclear deal.

  189. Putin's view that Assad's atrocities are pure propaganda is worrying, Sure, support Assad's military in the fight against ISIS and co - but then retire him out to a dacha with a high security fence while he awaits trail for the war criminal he is. Denying the atrocities makes Putin a willing collaborator, surely?

  190. Go look up what Lincoln did when faced with civil war.

  191. Obama is the one steering us into the dark abyss. He has provided no leadership and has actively undermined American leadership throughout the world. It's all fine and well for him to bemoan the state of the world, but he has yet to show he has any understanding of what it would take from the US to help the world get out of it.

  192. With 21st-C wars now 'un-winnable' and such tragedies as migrants' crises and war-related terrorism as rife, the UN General Assembly (GA) cannot ad-infinitum continue plodding the traditional/failed route of relying on divisive national political powers to attain worldwide war prevention.

    Also now, irrevocable 21st-C worldwide use of smart phones, social media, Internet, 24-hours TV news coverage, etcetera have indeed made all wars futile -Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, etc. (Pro-war politicians ignore this!)
    These 21-st C realities also now make complete worldwide war prevention very feasible.

    The GA can now make it IMPOSSIBLE for any national political leader to initiate war: by helping to create a new worldwide apolitical and independent multi-level body only for impartially resolving, between national political leaders, their inevitable and difficult political contentions -the cause of all wars.
    (The body's adjudications can also be stringently enforced worldwide without armies. But the leaders' must first forgo their current exclusive war-initiation 'priviledges'.)

    Attaining enforceable worldwide war prevention is this simple!

    However, the UN GA cannot continue to ignore this possibility by its continual failed and dangerous reliance on national political leaders with their divisive interests. It cannot continue to lead the world on its badly-worn and consistently unproductive path of always relying on national politicians for this vital need.

  193. Many people claim that Obama's strategy has been a disaster. Let's throw in with Putin because neo-soviet totalitarianism looks like a great way to go. About a year ago I had the opportunity to hear a member of the Council on Foreign Relations who is also a respected professor of international relations give a talk on the Middle East and the rise of ISIL. He laid out three potential courses of action. Go all in with strong military intervention. Sit on the sidelines and watch catastrophe unfold. Do a part-way kind of thing (Which he predicted would happen and has). The problem, he told us, was that none of these options is any good. Not one. The US won't stand for another all-out invasion in the ME. Complete lack of involvement is impossible. And the middle way is ineffective. He basically told us that there are no good alternatives and this will be a very long drawn out process. This guy is an expert. Our highly intelligent and competent President consults with experts.Who knows how to stabilize a chaotic region and stem the humanitarian crisis and protect civil liberties without violating the sovereignty of other nations? Maybe Putin does because he's a dictator and not the least bit concerned with any of those factors except possibly regional stability.Our leaders have a much tougher path precisely because we care about all of those issues.Do we abandon our commitments because they're hard and look to dictators for the way forward?Who are we then?

  194. There is nothing neo-Soviet about Putin. He has done nothing remotely socialist since coming to office. What he is is a nationalist, and a very, very popular one. He is not a dictator since he was elected over and over again by huge majorities. We pretend to care about the Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, etc. but the reality is that we don't. We just want to control the resources. Period.

    Trying to control the lands of foreigners is ever stupid, that is why we will always fail.

  195. Obama once again standing on the right side of history, asking anyone with an ounce of sense, compassion, or intelligence to join him.

    Meanwhile, the right-wingers in America, along with their moral allies like Putin, China, right-wing hardliners in Iran, and fundamentalist Islamists throughout the middle east, continue jumping up and down in outrage that someone would have the gall to speak the truth.

    Its sad that so many so-called conservatives are so blinded by racism they cant even support their own President when he is clearly the greatest leader of the modern age.

    It is an amazing time right now, with Obama in the White House and Francis on the Papal throne. Two of the most intelligent, ethical, honest, and compassionate leaders in history leading two of the largest and most powerful institutions in history.

  196. I have more than an ounce of those things and yet I disagree with much of what you wrote and most of Mr Obama's policies.
    Normally I wouldn't take the time to respond to someone who absurdly blames criticism of the president on racism (presidents before Mr Obama were never challenged and only given total support by those who were ideologically opposed to them? In what world), but your comment deserves extra attention.
    I can assure you that neither Putin, China, Iran nor Islamofacists have an ally in 99.99% of American conservatives, moral or otherwise. To state as much is ludicrous. While they may disagree on Obama's methods or policies, surely there is no love lost for those entities.

    On the contrary to what you believe so fervently, I find Mr Obama's presidential leadership the poorest I've seen in my lifetime. He is petty, possesses and overabundance of idealism, favors form-over-substance, is thin-skinned, and lacks resolve to make really hard decisions on foreign policy. He would very much rather speak about something, which he is, admittedly, very successful at, than take a stand. Unfortunately, mere words do nothing. Never mind his soft spot for Muslims (understandable but oddly manifested), underlying his left-leaning ideological dogma is a strange, overly-critical view of the US which is unsettling for an American head of state. So while I agree in principle with much of what he brought to the UN, I am doubtful his actions will ever live up to the rhetoric.

  197. I voted for Obama twice but laughed out loud when you wrote that he is one "of the most intelligent, ethical, honest, and compassionate leaders in history." Are you kidding me? Do you know history at all? And please check his record on drone strikes before you call him compassionate. The guy and his advisors have had a train wreck of a foreign policy in the Middle East, and his ridiculous wavering on Syria a few years ago has helped exacerbate the current disaster there.

  198. It might be nice if he admitted America's complicity in creating a lot of the mess. But whatever the warts, the US is still the country of hope. It needs to try to live up to that ideal. And it's difficult.

  199. Leading from behind again...

  200. Putin, Assad, are thugs and criminals not unlike George W. Bush and Cheney. They all should be on trial for murder. We all know that is a fantasy. It will never happen. At least Obama can call out Putin for what he is. I don't think he cares one bit. Sociopaths and psychopaths are blessed with this gift.

  201. I'm curious as to why you find Obama blameless whilst convicting Bush. Mr. Obama has bombed (deep breath) Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia ... a record certainly unmatched by his predecessor.

  202. Don't confuse them with logic.

  203. So are magical thinkers.

  204. Obama: it doesn't matter how the Syrian war started, it matters that there are now over 100 opposition groups, not counting ISIS. and the reality is UN rules, international diplomacy and elections are not going to end the war. The war will only end when a ruler has the organization, police and military to annihilate the myriad of violent armed opposition groups.

  205. We must have hope that this dialog will reveal the strength of human intelligence gathered in numbers, allowing honesty for admitting our individual mistakes and unrealistic beliefs. I heard Putin's talk partially, and believe he has has asked for an honest dialog which is long overdue.

    If fanatical factions cannot be tamed with dialog, we are forced to use the justifiable evil of monotony: it's called violence.

  206. For those who decry Obama's handling of the Syrian crisis, do you honestly think all that is happening would have happened if Bush had not opened the Pandora's Box in the Middle East. The wrong country was invaded, it's secular strongman, Saddam Hussain was toppled and killed, another strongman Gaddaffi was killed, and now another secular strongman Assad is on our toppling list. I am definitely not defending these monsters but at least there was relative peace and prosperity for their people and Middle East as a whole was stable. Just looking at the disparate countries now in turmoil, shows how wrong we were in assessment of the situation in the Middle East. For all the displacements, murders, human misery, mayhem and chaos in The ME the countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan) which should have been our focus has quietly faded away. Insurgency rose everywhere and the Taliban morphed into the deadly ISIS. In countries, where the strongmen had kept these possible insurgencies under wraps became spawning grounds for these murderous thugs. Meanwhile the country, Saudi Arabia which is directly responsible for spreading the toxic seeds and governed by an extreme regime, which openly violates human rights, demeaning women gets our support. Seven years of Obama you say. The fact is even two or three generations of humans cannot overcome the toxicity Bush and his cronies unleashed.

  207. ""The fact is even two or three generations of humans cannot overcome the toxicity Bush and his cronies unleashed.""

    Yes, we know.... you'll still be blaming Bush 20 years from now, while desperately papering over the same crimes committed by Team Blue. we already know of how shallow your actual foreign policy sincerity is.

  208. Chaos has always lurked just beneath the surface in the Middle East, held in check by the oppression and brutality of tyrants. The removal of Saddam Hussein unleashed the chaos in Iraq, empowered Iran, and encouraged people in Libya and Syria to rebel against their own tyrants. Add radical Islamists who want to take political control to the mix, and you get the chaos we see today. As Obama suggested, the root causes are too deep and complex for the US to resolve alone. Americans should appreciate his prudence.

  209. I will as soon as he is.

  210. Eventually, Assad will be dead.
    So will Khomenei.
    So will Putin.
    Let's pave the way for a better world without them and their influence.

  211. But I gather you expect Obama to be hanging in there in 2140.

  212. Difference being, the other are not obligated to leave (Khomenei,Assad ) or change the rules when it's time to go (Putin).

  213. Like the U.N., itself, Obama's name dropping rant, even in triplicate, is hardly forceful. NYT, please, either photograph the effects of his force or quit misusing the term.

  214. It takes a special kind of person to be president of the U.S. Someone that is able to shamelessly rebuke other nations for their violent ways, while droning civilians into dust in any number of countries. Who can sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and watch them attack Yemen unilaterally (killing civilians), yet can, at the same time, criticize Syria for their bombing. Who can talk about international rules - and ignore the torture crimes of not only Bush/Cheney but many who still serve in his own administration, as well as the unprovoked attack on Iraq. Who speaks about territorial integrity, but through his own brilliant actions turned Libya into a chaotic disaster, with many civilian deaths, courtesy of the U.S. military-industrial complex. I could go on and on. Obama talks about dictatorships, yet fully supports Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

    I understand that for a great many Americans, it's easy as pie to listen to him and see things in very black-or-white terms - it's a lot easier that way than having to deal with complexity and contradiction and complete cognitive dissonance. But I would imagine for most of the people in the audience in the U.N. (surely as corrupt as their United States counterpart) - this must be a big joke. How do they keep from laughing.

    For the U.S. to actually have some moral authority in the world, it might be a good idea to perhaps start behaving morally.

  215. What else would we expect but the standard Liberal Progressive diatribe of Chamberlain and Woodrow Wilson. He should have titled his speech: "Can't we all just get along?" His solution to world problems dealing with terrorists and tyrants is diplomacy (which never works except to prolong the disaster or give the enemy a better foothold before the next President has to clean it up and millions of lives are lost in the process).
    How he can even have the audacity to show his face at the United Nothing and discuss Syria and point fingers ? It only speaks to his blindness and arrogance. If he is not the cause of the Syrian fragmentation and societal collapse, he is certainly not part of the cure. He has given Russia and Hezbollah a huge hold in Syria; ISIS is now thoroughly embedded. And his answer is to bomb a couple of ISIS chicken coups and talk (oh yeah, and give Iran the bomb). And then open the doors wider to Muslim immigration. Remember who these people are; they are losing side in the never ending Islamic wars against each other.

  216. I am sorry to say this as an American. But the US has contributed most to this breakdown of international order and instability. Their attempt to overthrow Assad is the latest example. Previous disasters being the regime changes in Iraq and Libya.

  217. Just who in the White House was pushing for regime change in Libya and Syria? Was this really Obama's idea and his initiative or was this follow-through on the neocon crusade to remake the Middle East? He is stuck trying salvage this foreign policy, while having to pointedly ignore the humanitarian disaster that is the fallout of this recklessly violent ideology of regime change in the Middle East. And why does the media whistle the same tune?

    Also, while dictatorships are indeed undesirable, it is illogically hypocritical that the US supports dictatorial theocracies (i.e.: Saudi Arabia, etc...) while seeking to topple secular governments. Why does religion or monarchy make human rights violations more politically palatable and acceptable?

  218. Obama is well into his second term. At some point his failure to pursue a different policy makes him just as culpable as the Republicans.

  219. How can we expect President Obama to represent The United States interests abroad when we can't agree as a nation what that looks like?

  220. Judging by the collapsing stockmarkets world wide today it is obvious that the common man is not impressed here.

  221. "The common man" does not play the stock market. Wall Street investment bankers do. Wall Street is DEAD. We need a "New Deal".

  222. The common man is not a stock holder. We need to address wanton greed... And humans have to learn to cooperate...They also have to learn to how important it is to stop wanton procreation...Burgeoning human populations drive every issue further from resolution.

  223. Pathetic speech by Obama. And I'm a supporter of his, voted both times. How did his regime change work out in Lybia? Or attempted regime chnage in Syria? Or his hailing Morsi as a paragon of Democracy?

    At least it wasn't as emebararsing as Ban's, that we in the West owe a "life of happiness" to Middle Eastern Muslim migrants out of our taxes.

  224. Wait, you voted for Obama?

    I respected my race and MLK's legacy too much to trust Obama with my vote.

  225. "The objective was to make a more pliable, grateful atmosphere for western oil interests and Israeli domination. "

    I agree with most of what you said until you through Israel into the equation. Israel doesn't want that kind of domination. They just want to exist peacefully without having to deal with terrorists who want to drive them into the sea.
    It's a matter of self preservation and they're certainly not interested in any other country but their own.

  226. Israel ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank by building Jewish settlements and maintaining 500 check points throughout the West Bank is a matter of self preservation?

  227. The thieves who steal always want to live peacefully - as long as they get to keep what they stole.

  228. You got to love it.... Blame others for the mess we started. Isis, Iraq, and even Syria, can be laid at our door steps. Isis and Iraq fall on prior administration and their will to totally disregard diplomacy and international law. Syria, falls on Obama who backed out of what would have been a combined effort by the french and american military to oust Assad, back when said dictator used chemical weapons. As for the refugee crisis comments, aren't we building a wall to separate ourselves from Mexico much like the hungarians? But hey this is politics as usual, and there is no reason to go further to see why are democracies and our politicians are failing around the world and why the number one political party in the world is abstention!

  229. I agree with many of your points but you are going to give Russia a pass on this? Really?

  230. What I love, or really don not, is how some can be so simplistic in their thinking with always the US as the bad guy. The West did not create ISIS. The US did not create ISIS. That evil came out of hiding from the dark caves of radical islam. Its a very old beast and one that is not created by outside forces but rather its born of perverted internal voices inside some Muslim hearts.

  231. Whatever our mistakes, and I believe like you that both the Bush and Obama administrations have made many in different ways - the ultimate and bulk of the blame lies on the doorstep of the murderers, would be conquerors and a culture where the penalty for a difference in opinion is too often slaughter. It is not us nor Russia either. No one made Saddam invade Kuwait. No one made ISIS burn, behead and destroy their own culture. We have handled it barely, but there is the possibility of redemption for our mistakes and even transgressions; none for their murders.

  232. Obama warned of "major powers that want to ignore international rules and impose order through force of military power."

    That does seem to be a perfect description of the US for many years now.

  233. If conservatives were in charge right now, how many wars would we be directly involved in with combat troops?
    Should we take on China as well over those islands?
    How about N. Korea and its nukes that it is not giving up?
    Maybe Cuba, since 50 years of embargo haven't worked, instead of establishing diplomatic relations, may be we should try Bay of Pigs again?
    Where else?
    Conservative dogma tells us that a war is always the best solution, why have the most powerful military in the world if you don't use it, and that negotiated solutions are always cowardice.
    Gee, that philosophy worked out so well in Vietnam and Iraq didn't it?
    The reality is that the world is far better off with the policies pursued by Pres. Obama than those pursued by Pres. Bush.

  234. Only 250,000 dead so far in Syria under the Obama do nothing policy. How many dead so far this year in Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria? American soldiers may not be getting killed under our weakness policy but the world is surely suffering.

  235. Do you have any evidence that a more active U.S. policy could have prevented any of these tragedies, or made them less deadly? How many died in Iraq after the U.S. did commit troops? Syria is not Kosovo, nor is Yemen or Iraq.

  236. That war is always the best solution and negotiated solutions are always cowardice are not "conservative dogma". You're conflating conservatism with the reactionary GOP - who are not, by definition, conservatives.

  237. Obama stands, alone, embarrassed, and embattled, at the UN. He stands there flatfooted by Putin again, this time over the alliance against ISIS the US has rather pointedly been left out of. One of the few cheerleaders left seems to be the times, hopping in with the "forceful defense" and the "rebuke" language.

    Still, Obama stands alone, symbolic of the international isolation of the United States unmatched since the Carter years.

  238. I case you missed it the US was one of the key countries negotiating with Iran to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon. Not sure where you're getting your opinions from, but they are not based on fact.

  239. As others have written, Mr. Obama's foreign policies differ only in degree from those of his disastrous predecessor. Like President Bush, Obama believes that America is an exceptional nation, whose God-given mission is to bring democracy to the rest of the world, even countries that are far from ready for it. Hence, the overthrow of Quadaffi in Libya, the attempted ouster of Assad in Syria, and the destabilization of the former Ukrainian government, which, ironically, was democratically elected.

    Unfortunately, with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders, there is no other candidate on the Democratic or Republican side, who seems willing to alter these policies. Instead, they seem eager to ramp them up.

  240. We help turn Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen into a boiling river of blood, destroying the countries--then have the nerve to act like we're helping the situation. I am ashamed of America's leaders.

  241. A boiling river of blood that moved into a dry riverbed of American presidential abandonment and I'll raise you one...that began WWIII.