Obama takes on anti-Americanism, calls for new era

September 23, 2009

President Barack Obama began his first speech before the U.N. General Assembly by taking on the anti-Americanism that spread overseas in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq (six years before his presidency).

“I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust,” he told world leaders. UN-ASSEMBLY/

Misperceptions, misinformation, opposition to U.S. policies, and a belief that the United States acted unilaterally “fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism which, too often, has served as an excuse for collective inaction,” Obama said.

He called for embracing “a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”

Obama basically put on the line his hopes for a new chapter in U.S. relations with other countries, and made clear that he was breaking from the unpopular policies of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

He ticked off action taken on issues of friction, saying he has prohibited torture, ordered Guantanamo Bay prison closed and worked on combating extremism “within the rule of law.”

At home, Obama faces Republican and conservative critics who question whether he is tough enough on national security.

UN-ASSEMBLY/The Republican National Committee was quick with a response to Obama’s U.N. speech: “Last week President Obama backed off his pledge to protect America and our allies in Eastern Europe with a strong missile defense shield. This week, we are seeing the president back off his March pledge of providing the resources necessary for our men and women in Afghanistan.”

“The president has already lost credibility with his commitment to our allies, so why should we believe his words today before the United Nations?” the RNC said in a statement.

Obama is trying to change world perception of the United States. Republicans are trying to change American perception of Obama.

Do you believe Obama will succeed in reducing anti-American opinion abroad? Will Republicans succeed in turning American opinion against Obama?

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton (World leaders listen as Obama addresses U.N. General Assembly), Reuters/Mike Segar (Obama speaking at the U.N.)


20 comments

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I believe Republicans are trying to change American perception of Obama. I personally know Republicans who voted against Hillary (for Obama) because they believed a black man would never be President. I believe they are still in shock and are trying to discredit Obama, since it is all they have left to do against him.

Never before have I seen the amount of disrespect, irreverence, and contempt for an American President.

Posted by Ccampa | Report as abusive

The applause started when Obama told them what they wanted to hear,taking shots at Israel. This appeasement to these counties using Israel as a punch ball is not going to work.Obama can stand there all day and talk his head off they are not going take any notice.what he is doing is weakening his position when he has to negotiate in the future,and by putting Israel in the corned they will have no alternative but to retaliate.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Never before have I seen the amount of disrespect, irreverence, and contempt for an American President.

- Posted by Ccampa

Wow, were you alseep for the entire second term of the Bush administration? Bush was the go to punching bag for EVERYONE in the media.

Posted by hmmmm | Report as abusive

What do you mean? Obama’s speech WAS anti-American in itself. It was as if Hugo Cheavez was giving the speech.
Our enemies loved it.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

here here
and all that contempt is nothing more than treasonous.

Posted by Elly | Report as abusive

Maybe when these blind Democrat supporters of Obama wake up one day in a grass hut without a job and living off of food stamps they will realize what Obama has done to America.
All I know is the Bush years were better than this. 4.7% unemployment, low taxes, low inflation look pretty good right now. I think their brains have been aborted by the hollywood media.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Amazing. There is so much damage to repair from the Bush years.
Bush supporters keep looking back to ‘better days’ when unemployment was down and the economy was better. Jobs were plentiful and people seemed happy. Then Bush got into power and it all went to hell. 8 years of division, bad bad management, horrible foreign and domestic policy. Skyrocketing unemployment and massive wealth migration to the rich. Debt spending to the tune of 9 trillion dollars.
Now, after only nine months, everything Bush did is being blamed on Obama and the Democrats. It’s as though the conservatives were asleep the whole 8 years. Absolutely shameful delusion.

Posted by Marcus | Report as abusive

“Never before have I seen the amount of disrespect, irreverence, and contempt for an American President.

- Posted by Ccampa

Wow, were you alseep for the entire second term of the Bush administration? Bush was the go to punching bag for EVERYONE in the media.”

- Bush earned it.He was a failure on every count. Obama hasn’t been in office long enough to get anything past the Republican objectionists yet.
The Right is Wrong. No president has had such animosity directed at him for no reason. If McCain had gotten in and tried to do what Obama is doing you would be signing the praises as he were the second coming. Hypocrites!

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

“Wow, were you alseep for the entire second term of the Bush administration? Bush was the go to punching bag for EVERYONE in the media.

- Posted by hmmmm”

Yes, but that was from the Media and American citizens… not from other politicians. That Joe Wilson “You lie!” thing was amazing. No one talks back to the President like that.*

You have to respect the position if not the person. Impeach him, don’t berate him in the middle of a speech at the capitol.

*Though there was that time when Alexander Hamilton shot and killed then President Aaron Burr in a duel.

P.S. I wish the Republicans would spend more time trying to fix the government than sully the President’s image… they’re giving a lot of fuel to the foreigners with anti-American ideas.

Posted by William F. | Report as abusive

The comments by Robert are ludicrous and laughable. Anyone who knows anything about the current mess the US finds itself in knows that the problems started in the Bush era, and it fell upon Obama to correct them. It is about time the US joined the world as an equal partner, and not the bully Bush made it. Bravo Obama for your courage and wisdom.

Posted by Marvin | Report as abusive

The second Bush term, had given plenty of proof of ill will from “W” to NON-Americans, to Americans that had no “straps” from which to pull up their boots, to lie to the American government, and American people that there were no WMD,but still go forward with waging a war,sending off our loved ones on an ill-fated, deadly war. I am sorry to say, although unfortunate, President George W. Bush, gave of himself (all by himself) plenty of reason, on a daily basis, why he should be a punching bag for anyone.

Let’s see, the economy crashed after Obama was sworn in…No, after he was elected . . . Oh wait, that’s right, that happened in September 2009, on the PREVIOUS administrations watch. An administration that had EIGHT years, to have been aware, of what may occur. Oh heck, house sales skyrocketing, fat cats getting fatter, what the heck. But obviously, you are right, it’s all President Obama’s fault.

Posted by Jules | Report as abusive

America has a well-deserved bad reputation. Hell, for the last 120 or so years all America has done is meddle in other countries’ affairs. It set up dictators and then took them down, tried to make Americans out of people who didn’t want to be Americans, sold arms to warring factions within countries, sold arms to warring countries, supported tyrants and terrorists, etc., etc. On top of it all, the dumb American voters keep replacing Democrats and Republicans with more Democrats and Republicans and then stand around with their thumbs up their posteriors wondering why everyone hates America! My advice for Obama: remove all troops from every country around the world, make restitution to the Iraqis, stop selling weapons to other countries, abolish American terrorist organizations like the CIA, FBI, BATF, and IRS, and stop giving unwanted and unsolicited opinions to other countries.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

After spending four months in South America in 2007,I saw first-hand how others of the world viewed our country. Obama is Very wise to distance himself and his administration from says of W. Bush.

Posted by Brian D. Pound | Report as abusive

President Obama is reaching out to other world leaders and is succeeding in his efforts to get positive results. America is showing real leadership which was missing in the last eight years.His speech was outstanding in every sense of the word.

many of us perceive the world order that reigned until a couple of years ago is gone, and for good. The current US administration faces shivering challenges to divert the curse of their general malaise and dauting future threats with their economy, their currency and its social issues. Besides, unilateral and reckless financial and diplomatic US policies had turned the latest empire in a sort of world pariah.

When we commit an offense, we’re confronted with self-reflection and morally obliged to reform and improve. Mr. Obama discourse is timidly and strategically addressing this curse. Let’s just say at this point that this multipolar world in which we live now is watching closely.

Posted by Walter Stucchi | Report as abusive

I was younger I traveled the world. Everyone loved America and wanted act like an American or become an American.
Bush destroyed that love for USA. I’ve been a member of the Republican party for almost my whole life. It is no longer is the party it used to be and to compare 8 years to less than 9 months takes a fool or a High School flunky.
It is no wonder only 65% can apply for college, and of 35% that do, another 65% will not be excepted because they can’t think & understand what their reading (although they think they do). That leaves only about 12% smart Americans. Are you among them ? Thank you Obama for for trying to repair the damage done by 8 years of hypocrisy.

Posted by ddavid | Report as abusive

Robert, unemployment when Bush took office was 4%, that’s coming out of the Clinton years. Unemployment when bush left was near 7%. When Bush came in there was a $200 billion surplus, when he left a $482 billion deficit. That deficit number at the end of Bush’s term does not include spending for the war in Iraq.
Just a couple of facts to ruin your day, sorry.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

d david ,i grew up in Europe no body loved America,they accepted their generosity but thought that the Americans were to precocious, because they were not used to this amount of generosity,also they were jealous of the American economy.eric h you are good with the stats could you tell me what the numbers are now please,

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

So Brian my figure on Bush’s deficit was low, it did not include the $700 billion financial bail out. Add that to what Obama has spent and we’re pushing a trillion $, however I believe that what Obama has spent will EVENTUALLY come back. We are also now including the the cost of the Iraq war in the deficit number. That’s about another $700 billion ( http://costofwar.com/ )
We could have a kick ass single payer medical system with that kind of cash.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

eric h the latest report states that we probably will never get the money back from AIG,and if they can get away with it then Obama auto,s will try to pull the same stunt.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive