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Obama’s UN Speech: Packaging Neoconservative Values in the Language of Peace & Liberation

Photo from the United Nations Information Centres

The speech President Barack Obama delivered at the United Nations General Assembly was a neoconservative foreign policy speech, the kind of speech one might have heard President George W. Bush deliver in the midst of the Iraq War to defend decisions made by those ruling America.

Both Robert Kagan and William Kristol, leading American neoconservatives, argued in 1996, “Without a broad, sustaining foreign policy vision, the American people will be inclined to withdraw from the world and will lose sight of their abiding interest in vigorous world leadership. Without a sense of mission, they will seek deeper and deeper cuts in the defense and foreign affairs budgets and gradually decimate the tools of US hegemony.”

The hegemon or paramount power that neoconservative policy thinkers like Kagan and Kristol consider America to be passed on an opportunity to show “leadership” by striking Syria. Obama was acutely aware that the United States was not in control of the developing response to the crisis in Syria. His speech was an opportunity to reassert American power, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

“The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region,” Obama declared. “We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.”

“We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply, and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.”

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."