President Obama told a crowd at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser this evening that the world universally recognizes “that our leadership is absolutely critical” when it comes to global crises.
“It’s fair to say that America has the best cards when you look at other countries around the world. There’s no other country you’d rather be than the United States. We are best positioned. And what will determine success in the 21st century is all the stuff that we’re best at — knowledge, innovation,” Obama said at a private home in Tisbury, Mass., near where he’s vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard. “For the first time in 10 years, international investors now say the number-one place to invest is no longer China again; it’s the United States of America. Because they recognize that when you combine our incredible natural resources with a system — an economic system as dynamic as ours, and the incredible talents of our people, nobody can compete with us when we’re making the right decisions.”
“But, obviously, our economy doesn’t work in isolation. And we also are seeing around the world incredible challenges, many of them all coming to a head at the same time. The Middle East is just one of the major challenges we have,” he continued. “And before I came here, I had a chance to speak to the prime minister-designate of Iraq. I’m hopeful that now we have the opportunity to form a government in Iraq that can be an effective partner for us, but, more importantly, can form the kind of broad, inclusive government that serves as a basis for them to repel the terrorist movement, ISIL, that has been sweeping across the country.”
Obama acknowledged that “at the same time, we also have problems in Ukraine that we’re having to deal with.”
“Obviously, the situation in Israel and Gaza is something that we’ve all been watching, and deeply concerned about and engaged with,” he said.
“I do want to point out, though, at a time when the news seems filled with news of Ukraine and Gaza and Ebola and you name it, that in every instance people are constantly interested in finding out how can America help solve these problems. And there’s a reason for that. Because despite the complaints and the second-guessing, and the anti-American sentiment that you hear sometimes on television around the globe, when there’s an actual problem they all recognize we’re the one indispensable nation. They all recognize that our leadership is absolutely critical. And that’s true both for challenges and opportunities.”
The president said “the truth of the matter is, is that as challenging as some of the problems are around the globe, what we’re also seeing is unprecedented engagement in Asia, and our alliances have never been stronger there.”
“What we’re also seeing is, in Latin America, when I came into office there was a sense that somehow Chavez and other demagogues were going to be setting the agenda there. No longer. Now they all recognize that partnering with us is best for their people and the future of their children and their grandchildren.”
After months of lobbying from lawmakers, the Obama administration last week finally imposed visa sanctions against some human-rights abusers in Venezuela — not including the country’s leader, Hugo Chavez’s handpicked socialist successor Nicolas Maduro.
Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez also just went on trial on charges of inciting protests last winter. The former Chacao mayor and charismatic pro-democracy activist could face 10 years behind bars, and has already been held for five months after handing himself in to authorities in February.
Nearly four dozen people died, hundreds were injured and thousands were arrested in the pro-democracy demonstrations early this year.
“In Africa, we just recently had an incredible summit — unprecedented — 50 world leaders who came. All of them just thrilled to be finding ways in which they can work with us to provide electricity to people who have never had it before; to grow crops that they haven’t been able to grow before; to feed themselves; to create commercial partnerships,” Obama continued.
“And so I guess the point is this — that in the same way that through persistence and a steady hand we’ve been able to guide ourselves out of the economic crisis that we were in five years ago, I have no doubt that we’re going to be able to guide the world, as a country, through some of the rockier times that we’re going through internationally. But all of that requires some seriousness in Washington.”