U.S. President Barack Obama said he, as the leader of ‘the strongest military that the world has ever known’, will not hesitate to use force, while referencing Russia, China and Syria.
Obama will hesitate to protect his country or allies
“I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known. And I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies—unilaterally and by force—when necessary,” Obama said, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.
The president also called for a ‘modern approach’ in resolving world’s problems, saying that the world cannot go back to the ‘old ways’ of ‘conflict and coercion’.
“But I stand before you today believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion—we cannot look backwards,” Obama said.
Obama dedicated a significant part of his speech to criticize Russia’s actions in the ongoing deadly war in eastern Ukraine. Obama said that it would be better if Russian President Vladimir Putin pursued a peaceful strategy.
“Imagine if instead Russia had engaged in true diplomacy and worked with Ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected—that would be better for Ukraine, but also better for Russia, and better for the World,” Obama said, emphasizing that he would not want to start another Cold War.
The U.S. President also urged China to resolve territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea because “like every nation gathered here, we have an interest in upholding the basic principles of freedom of navigation and the free-flow of commerce, and in resolving disputes through international law, not the law of force.”
Putin: Assad is the only one who is fighting ISIS
In his address before the UN General Assembly, Vladimir Putin said the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his militia are the only ones who is “truly” fighting ISIS in Syria.
Putin said that ISIS has grown in strength ever since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. He warned that the ISIS threat is now actively expanding to other regions, and added that the “situation is more than dangerous.”
Putin also said that ISIS recruits people from many countries, including European ones and Russia. He added that Russia has always fought against terrorism in all its forms, and confirmed that Moscow is providing military equipment to the Syrian government.
“We should acknowledge that no-one except for Assad and his militia is truly fighting Isis in Syria,” he said.
Putin also called for a broad international coalition against terrorism similar to the anti-Hitler coalition created during the World War II.
Vladimir Putin said that the current state of affairs in the world can no longer be tolerated, adding that terms in international law must be transparent, clear and be uniformly understood.
“We are all different and we should respect that. No one should conform to a single development model,” Putin said.
He also complained about the spread of “so-called democratic revolutions,” adding that it has led to violence, poverty and social disaster. Putin criticized policies based on “exceptionality and impunity,” hinting at the U.S. but not calling names.
Xi Jinping: the world should avoid past disasters
The world has to draw lessons from history in order to avoid repeating past disasters, the president of China Xi Jinping said in a speech after Barack Obama’s address to the UN.
The pace of evolution is now “accelerating”, with the move to a “multi-polar world” an “irresistible trend”, Xi said.
Xi also added that he believes in a “win-win” approach in international relations. He said that major powers should stick to the principles of mutual respect, with big countries treating smaller countries as equals. “The law of the jungle is not the way for countries to conduct international relations.”
Just three days ago, Xi concluded his visit to the U.S. During his first state visit to the U.S., Xi met with Obama with an aim to bring political stances of the world’s two largest economies closer.
The U.S. has been accusing China in cyber espionage as well as devaluation of China’s currency – yuan. However, the largest obstacle to warm relations between Washington and Beijing is the South China Sea, where China builds military bases on the islands and wants to control the movement of passing-by cargo ships.
However, Beijing has something to respond Washington with. China has been accusing the U.S. in destabilizing the situation in Hong Kong, supporting Uighur separatists and spreading American values across China.
How soon will China speak with the U.S. as equal?
This summer, Chinese education minister Yuan Guiren said that the West influences young teachers and students in Chinese universities, adding that it’s something the Chinese government opposes.
But before the visit of Xi, Beijing was quite friendly in its comments and statements. Xi announced that the two countries must build a new model of relations between major powers, which would exclude any kind of confrontation and disagreements.
In his very first speech in the U.S., Xi promised to not devalue yuan anymore and said that he is confident that the volatile period on the stock market is over.
Many experts believe that China will soon speak with the U.S. as an equal. Xi arrived to the U.S. amid strengthening of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as creation of a number of pro-Chinese financial structures, particularly the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS Development Bank.