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President Obama’s speech to U.N. about ‘constraints’ for United States is getting a lot of attention

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President Barack Obama often touts the “historic” significance of actions he has taken as president and he certainly lived up to that billing Tuesday when he went before the United Nations and likely became the first president in U.S. history to call for LESS freedom.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Obama said “powerful nations” — see the United States — need to “accept restraints” and give up “some freedom” in exchange for security.

A remark that has Benjamin Franklin rolling over in his grave, having sufficiently warned us: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

In prescribing his perceived path to security, the president spoke of the “promise” of the U.N.

“We have to put our money where our mouths are,” Obama said. “And we can only realize the promise of this institution’s founding to replace the ravages of war with cooperation if powerful nations like my own accept constraints.”

“Sometimes I’m criticized in my own country for professing a belief in international norms and multilateral institutions, but I’m convinced in the long run giving up some freedom of action, not giving up our ability to protect ourselves or pursue our core interests but binding ourselves to international rules, over the long-term, enhances our security.”

After nearly eight years of working to constrain America’s role and influence in world affairs, of choosing to follow, rather than lead, at least Obama is consistent.

Tom Tillison


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