Obama Criticizes Russia in Brussels Speech

Today President Obama gave a speech in Brussels addressing America’s relationship with Europe and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Early on Obama highlighted the fact that the Enlightenment, which began in Europe, gave rise to the ideas that inspired the American revolution. Obama then went on to say that in many ways the history of 20th century Europe represented the struggle between Enlightenment ideals and “an older, more traditional view of power” which “argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”

Obama made sure to point out that this ideological struggle continues today and that “we are confronted with the belief among some that bigger nations can bully smaller ones to get their way.”

Obama also said that the U.S. and its European allies would expand sanctions on Russia if “Russian leadership stays on its current course.”

Interestingly, Obama pushed back against accusations of hypocrisy relating to America's stance on the Russian invasion of Crimea:

Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate, not just around the world but in the United States, as well. I participated in that debate, and I opposed our military intervention there.

But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Obama chose not to mention that he was opposed to the scheduled withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in December 2011.

Obama is right that the U.S. sought to “work within the international system” ahead of the invasion of Iraq, although it didn’t get the level of international approval it sought. In fact, former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan said that the war was illegal.

Obama also had something to say to non-interventionists:

There will always be voices who say that what happens in the wider world is not our concern nor our responsibility. But we must never forget that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. Our democracy, our individual opportunity only exist because those who came before us had the wisdom and the courage to recognize that ideals will only endure if we see our self-interest in the success of other peoples and other nations.

Obama went on to say that there isn’t a military option in Ukraine. Of course, without a military option the U.S. is left with little else except sanctions (which are unlikely to work) and tools of an overly involved foreign policy.

What the U.S. could do, and what would improve the lives of Ukrainians and Russians, is open the borders. However, Obama has demonstrated throughout his presidency that he approves of the U.S. being involved in the affairs of other countries and is no fan of open borders

Watch Obama’s speech in full below:

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  • Almanian!||

    ideals will only endure if we see our self-interest in the success of other peoples and other nations

    *SPITTAKE*

    Uhhhhhhh - no.

    God, the President is an embarrassment. And dangerous.

    That is all.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Obama then went on to say that in many ways the history of 20th century Europe represented the struggle between Enlightenment ideals and “an older, more traditional view of power” which “argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”

    The irony, it burns...

  • LynchPin1477||

    If you like your traditional view of power...

  • Lonely Stalker||

    WHERE WE GO, WE WON'T FEEL THE BURNS!

  • Drake||

    I saw some of the speech on CNN in the lunch room. I don't know if it was the translator, or if Obama just forgot how to read. But he sounded fucking retarded as he stumbled through meaningless cliques that we supposed to be grandiose, but didn't work. The guy just never says anything meaningful. The audience looked bored and annoyed.

  • Winston||

    cliques

    Well I suppose international diplomacy isn't really all that different from high school.

  • Juice||

    We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain.

    Not for lack of trying, you disingenuous fuckstick.

  • Libertymike||

    Invading Iraq, in and of itself, is a claim on its territory.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Obama went on to say that there isn’t a military option in Ukraine. Of course, without a military [option] the U.S. is left with little else...

    Has the State Department tried writing a check?

  • GotOutOfCali||

    Including any statement made by Kofi Annan does very little to bolster one's point. Otherwise, it's patently obvious that the O is "addressing" an issue just for the sake of addressing it.

  • Volunteerstate?||

    Do you think the speechwriters gave any thought to how hypocritical Obama might sounds lecturing about the rights of ordinary citizens to govern their own affairs?

    I just can't imagine this not crossing the mind of someone policially astute enough to be a presidential speechwriter.

  • Rhywun||

    He's in Belgium. Perhaps they didn't think any Americans would notice.

  • Bam!||

    A weakly worded speech, who'd have seen that coming.

  • flye||

    Watch Obama’s speech in full below

    No. No I will not.

  • Rich||

    I made it as far as "momenttttttttttt".

  • Lonely Stalker||

    But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system.

    "work within" == "play the"

    We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory.

    "after ten years of a brutal blocade, we just went in and then sat there"

    We did not grab its resources for our own gain.

    We tried hard. We protected the oil ministry first. We hoped that this war would "pay for itself" and that Iraq would pony up reparation payments. Unfortunately we got our asses IEDed by radicals, that Shia dictator got voted in then he didn't even sign our SOFA.

    Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.

    We fucked up good and are covering up failure from hubris with retarded statements and flashy Petraeus smiles while pretending Abu Ghraib and frank wealth transfer to US corporations didn't even happen. We still have good bases over there because it was all about Iran, you know and that game is still on.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Obama gives speeches?

  • RishJoMo||

    So why didnt I ever think of that?

    www.EliteVPN.tk

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