NEW YORK – President Barack Obama summoned the world to a “a new era of engagement” in his maiden address to the U.N. General Assembly, offering a litany of policy shifts intended to show that the United States had no interest in a go-it-alone stance on international issues.
“The time has come for the world to move in a new direction,” Obama told U.N. delegates. “Our work must begin now.”
But the president also took a tough stance, saying in essence that he expected plenty in return for reaching out.
“We have sought in word and deed a new era of engagement with the world,” Obama said, echoing the cooperative theme he promised as a candidate and has since used as a pillar of his foreign policy. “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility.”
Obama said he understood “an almost reflexive anti-Americanism” in recent years, but said that cannot be the template for America’s relations with the world.
“Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone,” Obama said.
It came in Obama’s first speech to this world body, a forum like none other for a leader hoping to wash away any lasting images of U.S. unilateralism under George W. Bush.
“In an era where our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game,” Obama said. “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. That is the future America wants.”