NEW YORK — Addressing the United Nations on Tuesday, President Obama shot back at his Russian counterpart and stated, in no uncertain terms, that America will continue to be a global leader.
“The danger for the world is that the United States … may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill. I believe that would be a mistake,” Mr. Obama said. “I believe America must remain engaged for our own security. I believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree, but I believe that America is exceptional — in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all.”
His comments were a direct response to the recent New York Times op-ed article by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who blasted “American exceptionalism” and added that nations must be considered equals.
The two nations are working together on a diplomatic solution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stockpiles, but the U.S. and Russia remain deeply divided on whether military force should be taken if Syrian President Bashar Assad fails to live up to his end of the deal.
Mr. Obama again called for a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force if Syria doesn’t cooperate, but such a measure will continue to meet stiff resistance from Russia.