U.S. Foreign Policy: Summary of July 7, 2009, President Barack Obama’s Speech at the New Economic School in Russia

In his speech at the New Economic School in Russia, President Barack Obama addressed similar themes that he spoke about in Egypt—reversing the spread of nuclear weapons and preventing their use, isolating and defeating violent extremists, explaining the United States’ interest in democratic governments that protect the rights of their people.

In describing the interest of the United States in democracy, the President mentioned some qualities that he viewed as important for a democratic government to possess:  freedom of speech and assembly, rule of law and equal administration of justice, independent media [Note: problems with the media in the United States was not mentioned.], and competitive elections.

At the New Economic School, the President discussed his views on Russia, and described his position on the issue of global prosperity and sovereignty.

Russia

The President stated his desire to see a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia.

Global Prosperity

Moreover, the President discussed the interest of the United States in the prosperity of the world. The President stated that no nation can serve as the sole engine of global growth. The President asserted that a properly regulated free market system is the greatest force for creating and distributing wealth. [In the United States, wealth is concentrated in the hands of a select few.]

The President noted that economic success depends on the rule of law and that people should not have to pay a bribe to do business or to get an education.

Sovereignty

The President noted that state sovereignty is the cornerstone of international order. The President explained that states have the right to choose their leaders, set secure borders, and establish their own foreign policy. The President asserted that these principles should apply to Georgia and Ukraine.

The President explained that the United States does not impose security arrangements on another country. The President stated that the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) imposes requirements for membership. The President noted that NATO should be seeking collaboration with Russia not confrontation. [Note:  Merely having NATO in close proximity to Russia could make trouble for Russia. Treaty signatories promise to “safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.”]

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