8 Big Lines From Obama's Farewell Speech to UN

He warns of a 'nation ringed by walls'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2016 1:17 PM CDT
8 Big Lines From Obama's Farewell Speech to UN
President Obama addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama addressed the United Nations as president for the final time on Tuesday with a speech that urged world leaders make a "course correction" and be more open to refugees and less authoritarian. And he seemed to be take a shot, more than once, at Donald Trump's vision of a big, beautiful wall. Some lines from accounts by the AP, Politico, Reuters, ABC News and NBC News:

  • "Today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself."
  • “The world is simply too small to be able to build a wall and stop it from affecting our own societies.”
  • He also said, apparently in reference to Zika, that "mosquitoes don't respect walls."
  • "We must respect the meaning that people draw from their own traditions, from their religion, their ethnicity, from their sense of nationhood. But I do not believe progress is possible if our desire to preserve our identities gives way to an impulse to dehumanize or dominate another group."

  • "In countries held together by borders drawn by colonial powers with ethnic enclaves and tribal divisions, politics and elections can sometimes appear to be a zero sum game. And so given the difficulty in forging true democracy in the face of these pressures, it's no surprise that some argue the future favors the strongman. A top-down model rather than strong democratic institutions. But I believe this thinking is wrong."
  • "History shows that strongmen are then left with two paths. Permanent crackdown, which sparks strife at home, or scapegoating enemies abroad, which can lead to war."
  • "In a world that left the age of empire behind, we see Russia attempting to recover lost glory through force."
  • "Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel ...(and if) Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land."
  • Watch a video of the speech via USA Today.
(Read more President Obama stories.)

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