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tv   The Rundown With Jose Diaz- Balart  MSNBC  September 28, 2015 6:00am-8:01am PDT

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the u.n. today along with several world leaders in what promises to be a dramatic and intriguing day. i'm joined by chris jensen. good to see you. >> good to be here. >> what do we expect the headlines to be today? >> first of all, i see chuck todd there, come on down, my friend. >> is he mic'd and ready to go? come on in. >> this is something we haven't seen in arguably a decade. first the gathering the leaders. it been called like this big geo political show and that's also why it's been criticized as a show but this time there are seary seario searious -- serious issues on board here. last year the president talked about ebola and the iranian nuclear agreement. he can toot his horn a a little
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bit. when now he's putting together this little group of iran and syria and iraq and they're going to lead. they have a profound disagreement about the role of assad in syria, whether as vladimir putin believes, he is really the one who is going to help us fight isis or the united states' position, he is the key part of the problem to lay the groundwork for important and very provocative discussions. >> great to see you chuck todd. there th alliance, syria, russia, iran, unexpected as far as the americans are concerned. kind of caught us by surprise on this. >> when you look at the
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president and you look at his foreign policy legacy, putin and syria hats has and it always seems as if putin always figures out how to get the last would when the president was ready to go in and build an international coalition, we were in st. petersburg, there was a meeting at the g 20 and and there was almost this dinner debate that took place and essentially putin got the president to back down on bombing syria smt now they're about to back down. and the timing of this, the
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president and senior administration officials say, look, you also have to psh put frfrmt -- can you get rid of isis without getting rid of assad? that's the fundamental question. >> there is one thought that you cannot deal with ice is and if you get rid of assad, isis's ability to recruit goes down. but this idea interesting, by
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the way, to bring this back to what i want to promote. >> please do. >> hillary clinton basically acknowledges our syria policy has been a fillier. at this point i think the president would agree with that. >> howe do you go forward in what can realistically be achieved in this meeting? they haven't each other a where it seems at least in the serious situation, it's complete. >> clearly put season coming in, he's trying to establish himself as a different kind of leader, almost as an alternative, it changes the ground rules. you know, i spoke to a high-level administration official just this morning and i said what can come out of this meeti
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meeting -- believe me, on friday when we were talking to administration officials, i think they felt something my happen here. >> i get the sense and you're there with them every day and i'm not anymore, buttism get the sense they're essentially about to concede, all right, assad can stay. >> we're already hearing that. >> when you really think about the president drawing a red line, what a retreat be sure to check out chuck todd's new show premiering here today at 5:00 eastern. joining us, congresswoman
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layton. do you agree that is indeed a step that is a positive one? >> i think that what we've seen so far is a concession after concession on the part of the united states and very little concession from the iranians. definitely the iranians got the better part of this deal and it shows that the public hats been rejecting the iranian deal, congress rejects this iranian deal as well. we have no snap-back sanctions, all options are on the table. all of that is fantasy. in fact, iran can self-inspect, as they just did, just a few days ago. and 24 days to inspect any site is what it comes down to. we're going to let them cheat incrementally because if we take them to this joint commission that we've set up, then so obama
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is going to brag about it eand row han lanny is going to brag but b it but it's a bad deal all the way around. >> on sunday he made light of the republicans saying they don't even know where. >> think think that's just the least of it. in iran they continue with death to america, death to israel. that has not changed. the supreme leader shape tonight abo we can eliminate it in a shorter amount of time. the democrats were with us against this deal as well. so opposition was bipartisanship
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and approval was only partisanship. >> limited bipartisan but it was. limited. let's talk about vladimir putin and his meeting with president obama later today. on "60 minutes" he talked about russia's support of the syrian regime. listen to this. but we are considering intensifying our work with both president assad and with our partners in other chris. >> so the support of syria by russia continues. is there anything that you think could occur as far as a break through with the united states? >> we've let this slide -- i think they stopped counting at
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250,000 deaths, the cluster bombs. but we ignored that and the slaughter has gone on. how has it gone on? with russia's help. russia has been arming assad to the teeth and now we've got this unholy alliance of iraq where we spread so much. >> well, i think this is going to leave asad in power, consolidate him more and russia has been at the center of this problem and america has been at the sidelines. it's been a real decline in america's leadership in the world and congress is a prime california of it. and we're getting, by the way, new aim js of pope francis this morning talking to reporters on his plane after wrp -- when a
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priest abuses, it is very important of the location because that is to make that grow toward god, toward good. and promised to hold those responsible accountable. father, thank you for being with me. >> great being with you, jose. >> what do you make on the latest address on the sex abuse scandal in the church? >> for me specifically yesterday morning, it was i think it was one. strongest messages we ever heard from a roman pontiff make on the sexual abuse crisis, specific when i when he told the victims that were with him rngs sewer
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viefrs. he said police por give me that the times that the church did not listen to you. please forgive us. if the church listened to you, it did not believe you but i want you to know that the pope hears you and the pope believes you temperature it was extem lip trong and it paf what. >> what some are calling the francis effect, we've seen p seeing a the number of young men enrolling, up 20% from last year. what do you think are inspiring temperature? we kn we that wants to serve others and use ul of their efforts and gifts in the of others. i think the message of the holy father is specific in inspiration. he called the fuch to in a time
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when in. parts of our country we have such levels of poverty, inciting young men to hp those who are poor is a have sp we need to forget those who many times in our society are forgotten. that was a key part of it. tell me what you got out of that. >> you know, the pope came to america as a sochb immigrants. we can't forget that his parents ended up going into the buenos aires, emigrating from italy. it he's the first generation of his family to be
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dorncommonwealth request because he suffered this dwsh wp so he's calling on all men and people of goodwill in the united states to embrace the immigrant. this is for the catholic church. it a mandate from jesus. in matthew 25, he ace -- says we have a mandate to the lord and he's doing that. >> thank you for being with us. >> today is tax day for donald trump, who is set to unveil a plan to lower rates for lower and middle-income families, as well as corporations. we're going to get to the very latest on that plan in a live report. also hillary clinton loses even
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more ground to senator bernie sanders in the latest polling. after the break, i'm going to talk to the head of the democratic national committee. we'll be right back right here on "the rundown."
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presidential candidate donald trump is expected to unveil his tax plan today. he gave a few details last night on "60 minutes." >> who are you going to raise taxes on? >> if you look at actual raise, some very wealthy are going to be raised. so many people that are gettinggetting unfair deductions are going to be raised. it's going to be an incredible incentive to grow the economy and we're going to take in the same or more money and it going
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to be spectacular. >> but republicans don't raise taxes. >> i'm not going to raise taxes. >> alli joins us from trump tower this morning. >> you heard last night and you played part of the "60 minutes" interview, where he teased what we're going to hear. pelley did push him that republicans don't raise taxes but trump pushed back saying that despite those claims, he's a pretty good republican. what i hear often on the trail is his supporters don't care about the party delineation label, they care he's someone who is going to say what he means and means what he says. they really are sick of the people in washington that they feel get there and don't follow
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through and they think he's going to be someone who bucks that trend. >> this new poll shows he's still leading but he's fall i don't know -- fallen over the past two weeks. >> the campaign haven't said they're concerned. we seen ben carson creaming up, as well as carly fiorina. if you look at history and where trends were around this time in the last race, a lot can change before the first votes are cast. that's definitely something we'll be watching out here as well. >> ali vitale outside trump tower, thank you. >> an interview with former president clinton fell short of calling it a plot but he did say we're seeing scrutiny.
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here's a little bit more of what he said. >> i think that -- that there are lots of people who wanted there to be a race for different reasons. and they thought the only way they could make it a race was a full-scale frontal assault on her. so this e-mail thing became the biggest story in the world. >> and on sunday's "meet the press," hillary clinton confronted the politics behind the e-mail controversy. >> well, it is like a drip, drip, drip. that's why i said there's only so much that i can control. but what i have tried to do in explaining this is to provide more transparency and more information than anybody that i'm aware of who has ever served in the government and i'm happy to do that because i want these questions to be answered. >> a new nbc news/wall street journal poll shows that clinton has lost ground to bernie
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sanders, down from a 34-point lead over sanders in july. congresswoman, great to see you. normally we see each other in miami. >> miami, yes. >> this is great. what do you attribute hillary clinton's decline in the polls? >> let me say i always discount polls this far out. ultimately the race to the nomination is a delegate count battle and you have to win primaries and caucuses in order to achieve that. so it not really terribly important but, you know, this is an example of what happens in terms of a leveling off in a campaign as it wears on. you you're going to have a lot of movement among the numbers among all candidate opinion you see that on the republican side as well, on our side. once. we get closer to the actual primaries and caucuses, it's going to really start to focus
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on who's going to win and add up those delegates leading to the nomination. zwlu don >> you don't think this e-mail controversy, the drip, drip drip that hillary mentioned will have an effect? >> i think issues like finding a job, building the cornerstones of the middle class life, having a roof over your head, a secure retirement. when you contrast that with the republican craziness, and they're bleeding all over the place. a conservative like john boehner was right wing enough, even for them, and the audience cheered when it was announced that he resigned. meanwhile, on our side we're
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making sure that -- >> let talk about the pope's visit. what was that like? do you think it going to have any impact? >> one can always hope. one of the first things that happen in the wake of the historic address to the joint session is that a speaker, as i said, who already could have been characterized as very conservative is toppled and feels like he can't remain because he's not conservative or right wing or extreme enough for his conference, it doesn't really bode well. i certainly hope that we will avoid a government shutdown over defunding planned parenthood, that we'll be able to reautoize the export/import bank, which
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international and national businesses have clearly said repeatedly how important that is for our economy yet the republicans continue to focus on defunding planned parenthood, taking health care away from all americans, and what matters is how am i going to keep a roof over my head and get a good job? >> if vice president biden does decide to throw his hat into the ring, he would qualify for the debates next month? >> you have to be at 1% to qualify -- >> on three polls, right? >> on three national polls. the vice president is not a a candidate but he's been in -- >> if he were? >> if he were, had his name himself been in multiple national polls so we he would be past that threshold. >> so he would qualify automatically? >> we're not in a position to evaluate that and he's not a
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candidate. >> not yet at least, right? thank you for being here. >> on sunday hillary clinton addressed the topic of her e-mails and did so by saying she's being as transparent as possible. we of course talked about that with the congresswoman. after the break, we'll give live to upstate pork -- new york. and so it begins. -- nwith e*trade's investing insights center, you can spot trends before they become trendy. e*trade. opportunity is everywhere.
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she reached this deal in late july. she faces up to seven years in prison. the low end of the deal is 27 months and she'll face about $6,000 in fines. what we don't know is whether the state is going to ask the court to impose an additional fine on joyce mitchell for the amount of damage caused in that breakout by those two prisoners, richard matt and david sweat. $120,000 worth of damage. that was not a part of the plea deal. we'll have to wait to see if there will be some sort of surprise here when court gets under way in about half an hour. >> thank you very much. we are watching the house floor
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where president oba of the general assembly this morning. portions of the manhattan burrow of new york is shut down. people have become used to this one week every year when the general assembly comes to town. andrea, set the scene for us, especially stories that americans woke up to in the morning papers about aligns and what russia is up to in the middle east. >> reporter: what we are seeing here played out on the stage at the u.n. is a real drama between vladimir putin and barack obama, between russia and the united states. this is putin's big effort to return to the stage. he hasn't been here, brian, in ten years. and he's trying to reassert that
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russia is a world power and particularly over what the u.s. thinks is its big area, the middle east. he totally took the u.s. by surprise by cutting a deal with iraq, with our so-called allies in baghdad, and also with iran, with whom we've been negotiating for several years secretly and then publicly on this nuclear deal and without us even knowing about it cut an intelligence deal on syria and to gup against isis. his effort is to not on cut the
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u.s. out of the game keep april assad in power and distract everyone's attention from that little war going on in ukraine that he is responsible for. >> when do o'brien and putin meet? do both countries the u.s. said we're agreeing to this not because we want to but because putin asked to. it would be irresponsible to refuse to meet with him. at the same time the kremlin says, no, no, no, we didn't ask for this, the u.s. wand it. initial not only are they going to be talking about syria when
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they meet at 5:00 eastern tonight, their first formal meeting since edward snowden was given asylum in moscow. they met along the sidelines of other summits, including at normandy when they broke for 15 minutes during that lunch and were not even seen together but were backstage. president obama has not wanted to meet with podun the white house has sanctioned russia over cue crane and now russia has. so there a lot of issues but the bottom line is syria and the fact that you've got this ongoing civil war. the u.s. has acknowledged it has failed to train rebels, more than a handful for a half a
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balanced last year and it failed in its fle. >> andrea, are you of the camp that as long as they're talking, it can't be a bad thing? >> yes, pretty much so. i've seen over the years as you have that at least when they're in a room together, they're not either taking steps for a trade war, which hurts people in both countries, sore a real war. so it better to talk. they need to know each other. i think there's been criticism has put tch and not really seen the power play that putin has made. all oubive seers would say that putin has suffered, as the sanctions have bit i don't know and his friends and best business partners have suffered
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because of ukraine and the sanctions. everyone thought would begin. he took advantage of the u.s. military objectives against isis and assad and saw that as, i believe, the place to move in and certificate now the diplomatic power. >> final question before we move into the studio about security. every year we talk about it. every year people say i've never seen it this bad. this year there are 206 officials of various frn on a whim across town. this year people are seeing trash trucks, barricades, street closed down that they never
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have. is that your impression there from the east side of manhattan? >> reporter: we got here very early this morning before the final clamp down. you're going to see all these motorcades, they're all coming here for the general assembly and speeches. you have raul castro speaking here for the first time, poutin hasn't been here in ten years, this then that and you'll see who's friendly who whom and it sort of like a high school prom when you can look in on u.n. tv. so unless you're in this double bubble, eight noman's, no woman's land. i have to say it was even worse last week with the pope. now that you have the president of the united states here so even with the pope, it pretty intense. i think that i'm locked in.
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>> report from the bubble. andrea mitchell will be going back to you of course as the morning progresses and following and we have ian brem are with husband as a politics. i hate to talk politics on a day of foreign affairs but lit talk politics. what's at stake for barack obama? >> it's a tough report card as it is but nothing has been a a bigger failure than his syria policy. and they now acknowledge it. by the way, to promote part two of my interview with hillary clinton, she acknowledges it. this is just not worked, figuring out does atad go? do we isis with assad there or not? that is a the fundamental strategic question allies are having. it is amazing that putin is essentially forcing the united
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states and potentially president obama to change his policy saying maybe assad can stay. think about that. that's remarkable. and putin is as weak as ever at home but he doesn't act weak. that's part of his shtick and drives president obama personally, he feels that we in the media buy into the putin shtick too much but he's about to change policy on syria. >> a viewer's good for the pucks tuning in this morning -- for the folks tuning in this morning who might see the president's speech. >> he xi jinping to make
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changes. he's resurgent right now. his decision to insert military troops after americans have flailed for the last four years of war has set american policy in the region on its heels. it's not the americans saying we have to accept assad. it's clear we have to accept assad. that's been true for a while now. whatever we do must include moscow in dealing with syria and perhaps even in dealing with iraq. that's a very significant change to our policy. >> is this putin at his k.g. best? >> i was never going to say that. he definitely feels comfortable and confident. you saw it with the interview he just did with charlie rose on
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"60 minutes." you'll see it in a very big way when he gives a speech in a couple of hours. it's certainly better that he's talking or not talk bug the americans are not happy with the position that putin has put them in. >> he wasn't going to stand in the way had the president decided to do air strikes. i remember covering the g-20 when literally you had half the world's economic powers, one half was with bauobama, one hal with putin, they were debating it. he wasn't going to do anything but put up rhetorical complaints. >> putin would argue he pulled obama's keister out of the
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coals. this is a disaster for the obama administration. this is crisis management, it's trying to spin it. they didn't want the meeting, they didn't want our defense secretary talking with the russian minister of defense three times in the last few days to deconflict it, this is not an easy one to spin. >> what can the president drag out of his tool box to try to fix this today rhetorically or otherwise? >> he's got to insert the u.s. back in the game here. we're still the preimminent influence in the middle east buff he can't make it seem as if we're not at the negotiating table. and i think he's -- it's a way of saying, okay, we're now working together to try to diffuse had crisis. but i'll be curious does he -- does he come out today and say, okay, i no longer say assad must
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go. >> rewind one second. are we still the preeminent -- >> i don't know. we're going to find out. financially we still are. how many middle east economies would work without u.s. money? >> a little piece of business here. we have to fit in a break so we can come back and take the president's speech in its entirety to the u.n. on the east side of manhattan. we'll talk to andrea mitchell from inside the bubble again as as well. this is live special coverage on msnbc.
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and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night,blind. and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit your24info.com. ♪ everything kids touch during cold and flu season sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox. and welcome back to msnbc headquarters in new york and elsewhere really at this hour. in about 15 minutes president obama will speak to the united nations general assembly. really the first official act of his day, which will culminate with a meeting with putin of
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russia. more on that in a moment. let's go to our friend chris matthews in washington. chris, i'm told you have a special guest in the studio. >> i've got bill cullen with me, former secretary of defense from maine. isn't this a decision paint for the president where he has to decide like roosevelt and churchill did in world war ii, pick your worst enemy. is wasn't the soviet union then, it was nazi germany. doesn't he have to choose between going after isis or going after assad ? >> he has. president putin has played the russian card. he's put the president in a position either can you join me here in bringing about a peaceful solution and we'll talk about whether assad goes eventually but if isis is the number one enemy, i'll here, i'll show my support and frankly
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other countries, israel, and you've got the french attacking with aircraft. you have the president in a box, he has to say i'm with you. >> the president's plan, we can't even visualize it working. we don't expect the iraqi army to come through at all, we don't expect the moderate forces to do anything and the kurds are looking out for the kurds. multi-generational relationship between syria and russia and the former soviet union, dynamite relationship, much stronger than ours have been and the shi'a relationship right across the border that we helped create. so he is playing a natural hand here. >> he is. frankly the leaders in the
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region are looking to him as someone who can make a decision. you had the chinese president come to the united states but on after a display of military power. now you have president putin's display of military power -- >> after putting himself air power and ground forces into syria. >> into syria. now you have the two biggest leaders on a scene in a situation where the president looks weak because he has no support from congress. >> you start a republican but you're a civil servant, a good man. how would you advise the president? say okay, we have to put the focus where the american people want it, get rit of isis, because they're a thread to us. a or do you say we still want to get rid of assad? >> i think he's going to have to go with president putin and the others. i think he has very little room for maneuvering. >> and he'll face a rightest
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backlash here? >> he will. he will. but he has you've got a congress that can't reach a decision on a budget and what do you have to a -- saying probably the president is going to tilt against isis or isil, as he calls it. >> that's what you'll be watching for, chris, is the rhetorical hoops that perhaps he has to pass through to get there. >> yes. and that's going to be tricky at home because the right -- not just the right in the republican party but the right in his own party. you'll hear from joe lieberman and people like this because ne have a real problem with getting rid of assad long term. >> thank you very much. chris matthews, we'll check back in with you. let's bring this, chuck todd, into your wheelhouse. john boehner is leaving as speaker. what does that do to the
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washington component of whatever gets done and decided here in new york this week in foreign affairs? >> well, i don't know if it does anything other than embolden conservatives challenge the president. i think that's what boehner's -- that the vacuum that's created here. the next speaker is going to have the same problem. let me go back to the policy. this is a no-win policy. i know we're all sort of realizing he's going to have no choice but to accommodate russia and let assad stay and choose to fight isis now. the problem is, the argument -- and it is legitimate argument -- isis is able to recruit more fighters because of assad's presence. so can you really defeat isis if assad is there? that has been the conundrum. am i wrong? >> no. >> that's the conundrum here. you cannot defeat isis if assad is there, but you can't get rid of assad. >> we weren't defeating isis in
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syria anyway. and that is -- i mean the point is our top priority in the middle east according to obama administration is getting a conclusive iranian agreement together. we've done that. we haven't talk about iran so far today. of course the -- >> talking about assad allies. >> but the russians are in much better position now because of the iran deal. russians weren't just waiting around for obama to be weak. they were also waiting around for the iran deal to be concluded so iran could be unfettered in their activities in iraq and syria. domestic blowback is not just about being weak on russia, you just signed this iranian deal which is putting a constellation of interests which are anti-american in the region that you now have to sign up or tilt with. >> i can hear lindsey graham on the campaign trail right now. >> do you understand and agree with or find plausible these stories we've seen in papers and on the web that by the thousands
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isis' roles have expanded in recent days? >> yeah, i do. i don't think the islamic state is getting any stronger. i think they are being contained, they are the no going to be able to govern. they're running out of cash in iraq itself. the oil has been cut back. that sort of thing. but if you asked me is isis as an organization, which now has i think some 36 organizations that have declared fidelity in over a dozen countries around the world, they're picking up. when someone like chancellor merkel in germany says we're going to accept 800,000 refugees in eye sigh lum sta -- asylum s. syria is much less of an american national security issue than a european one. those numbers are tiny compared to what we will see. this policy in syria is going to lead to another million refugees leaving syria the next 12 months. that's clearly unstoppable. >> you brought up dominos earlier to me?
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what an awful game of dominos that you just described. the domino effect of all of this. >> it is an awful game of dominoes. one more break here. when we come back we're awaiting the president's speech. we'll also talk with senator chris koontz from foreign relations about what he makes of this conversation. that and more when our special live coverage continues. bill schafer saw opportunities in the midst of california's record breaking drought using a trick that golf courses have known about for years, his bay area company, brown lawn green, uses an organic grass coloring to make a dry dormant lawn look lush, healthy and green with no watering. we thought we'd be ready.
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they happen. last night's cps aired charlie rose' interview with vladimir putin and we have a portion of it where it deals with barack obama. we wanted to share. >> translator: i think we listen to each other in a way, especially when it comes to something that doesn't go counter to our own ideas about what we should and should not do. >> do you think he considers russia -- you said you're not a super power -- he considers russia an equal and considers you an equal, which is the way you want to be treated? >> translator: well, you ask him. he's your president. how could i know what he thinks? >> an animated vladimir putin in the interview last night. here in the studio we are joined by ian bremer and we've just been joined by senator chris koontz, from the state of delaware. more importantly for purposes of
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this conversation, foreign relations committee. first of all to you, ian, what did you make of vladimir putin not just that question, but his general attitude last night? >> the idea that he thinks he's reasonably treated by the united states not only is ludicrous to him but he's also been riding that at the polls domestically for a good year-and-a-half now. he's at 85%. i think that the idea that the russians just have been fundamentally considered a non-player on the global stage, whether we talk about nato enlargement, they feel they were lied to about that. talk about missile defense in eastern europe. talk about u.s. energy policy in the caspian. this has been a ritlitany of russian concerns. not all of those are true -- we wouldn't accept them. but we don't clearly go out of our way to say we kind of get you, russia. or mantra has not just been assad must go, but also our mantra has been we're isolating the russians. the russians are doing vastly
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more business with china soon to be the world's largest economy than since we started saying we're going to isolate the russians. if you're putin and asked that by charlie rose, you're bemused and i think he expressed that. >> senator koontz, welcome. first off, the tenor of our conversation has been really about the limits of what the president can say at the u.n. today. >> i look forward to a tough address by the president. my hope is that he will stand up to putin's aggression in ukraine and that he will be clear that he intends to be a tough enforcer of the deal with iran. we can work with russia and china to accomplish forward steps in global security like containing and limiting iran's nuclear weapons program, while at the same time recognizing that the murderous regime of bashar al ashad has to go. we face a very tough tactical decision here that i expect the president will have to speak to, which is whether we work to go after isis first and tolerate some sort of alignment of convenience for the short-term
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or whether we continue to go it alone and lead an international coalition that focuses on isis and asat at the same tisad at t. that will be very difficult to pull off and i look forward to what the president has to say about that more difficult challenge. >> leading the international coalition just gets more difficult with this russian effort. >> significantly. putin has been a very successful at inserting himself in the previous cycle of the syrian confli conflict. he at the last moment sort of secured a commitment from assad to give up his chemical weapons. but between then and now, russia played a very strikingly negative role in crimea and in ukraine, and the united states has had an opportunity to energize and engage, mobilize western europe in response to that. the refugee crisis flowing out of syria is a profound threat to western europe and to stability in the middle east. and saying that we're now going to somehow team up with assad or accept this new alignment with iran and assad is like saying we're going to join the arsonist
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in putting out the fire he helped create. it is a difficult strategic situation. but at the 070th anniversary of this u.n. we helped found and is headquartered here in new york, i think the united states is up to the challenge. congress has to play its role. irresponsible talk about shutting down the federal government at this moment is incredibly reckless and dangerous to america's national security. it's my hope that with speaker boehner stepping down, we will not have any more talk about federal government shutdown. >> you don't need to be a member of foreign relations to look back and see the seeds of this assad policy. you can just look back and see the dna chain of how we got to where we are today. we've all watched it almost in slow motion. >> yes. it's been a slow-motion failure to confront a very difficult situation. i do not think there were clearly better options. there were different options. but in a country that is still struggling with the very profound costs of the conflict
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in iraq and the conflict in afghanistan, while i might have closen a different path, going into syria in a bigger way earlier was something that was strongly resifted by many in my caucus and many in the country. i do ink this that we had no great options. the emergence of isis has made it much more complicated and i think the obama administration has led the efforts against isis in iraq and we will now have to see how they can tackle them in syria. >> chris matthews continues to join us and monitor this conversation in washington. chris, if you're this administration, how can you put any kind of happier face, happier tone behind this? because people who follow it only casually know what a disaster this has been. >> well, it's a difficult conundrum. the senator puts it well. i mean that's not just a conservative democratic position he gave us. that's a realist position. i think we have -- look at from the beginning. the russians were basically thrown out of the middle east
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back in -- under sadat when he first took over. after nasr. and they were gone, and now they're back. they're back because they enjoy one permanent enduring alliance -- that's with the assad regime and the assad family. they're going to stick with them. you can ask yourself if we had the same kind of steadfastness with our allies, if we'd gone and said stuck with mubarak a bit longer with be if we avoided getting involved with syria in terms of regime change, if we'd not gone into iraq how much better the situation might be. but the more conservative side, the more neocon side can argue since we did go into iraq we haven't done so well either. secretary cohen, you can do this both ways. but the hard way fight hard. that's the hard gear to find here as brian asked. >> i think what the president is privately going to do is talk with the successes he's had. for example, the climate change
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deal with china. with the deal with iran saying diplomacy has worked with china on a major issue as far as climate change. i've worked a major deal with iran in trying to stop the proliferation, and now i am prepared to work with russia and other allies in coping with stopping isis in the middle east. so i think he'll try to play his strengths to the extent they're seen as strengths. certainly not here at home because very few people in the congress have been supporting his position on climate change. very few people in congress have supported the iran deal but i think he'll try to play both of those and say i'm prepared to look at a diplomatic solution. if that meansvy to side with putin temporarily, i'm prepared to do that. >> the last thought, he never had a clear concept to sell the american people. there's the president and first lady coming up the elevator -- escalator. he never had anything clear. when he said we're defeating isis, no one believed this president. they thought he did a good job. many people did. maybe a minority but they
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thought he did a good job with the iranian deal but he didn't have anything to sell really with regard to syria. here we are going back into his most vulnerable point which is syria and his inability to put together the alliance, whereas here comes putin over the weekend basically that said i got a plan, and we don't. it is hard to fight with plan when you don't really have one yourself, brian. >> senator coons, you were shaking your head while chris was speaking. >> let's be clear -- putin's plan is simply trying to paper over the fact that assad has murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people. that's not a plan, that's simply trying to keep a toehold in a region of the world where if we were to somehow accept the idea of assad's legitimacy, we'd give up what's left of our moral legitimacy in the face of his crimes. i think it is important the president stand firm on his leader sh leadership successes in climate change and in challenging
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russia's aggression in europe. >> we are still looking at -- we were -- the phalanx of aides to the president and he came during our conversation swooping up the escalators from that ground level entrance. he will now be in a holding room prior to his time at the podium. and unlike some previous years, the first lady is with him. you see susan rice behind the secret service agent who's behind the president. basically the foreign policy team apparatus for the united states. and for all the reasons we've been discussing, there is a little bit more suspense this year prior to the president's remarks. none of that would the president prefer. the suspense is because the u.s. is in a bit of a box on this topic we've been discussing on the middle east.
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ian bremer, is there a voice in the administration that we may here more loudly, more clearly than anyone else? is this a time for someone in particular to come forward and shine and write the speech of a lifetime? >> secretary cohen is right. there are a lot of people that feel like they've had successes recently, the soon to be signed transpacific partnership which is the most landmark trade deal we've seen in decades. that's a big win. again they have the cuba opening. there are things they can talk about. but the real question is the one you brought up in the opening which is, is american influence globally in decline. it is. and that doesn't mean america's not the only super power. we still are. but the administration recognizes that it is. and they've articulated that in very difficult ways and it is hard on one land to stand up and say we're going to resolve all these problems an at the same time recognize that you're an increasingly non-polar environment, the middle east is a vacuum, pt chinese have radially different values and
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preferences than you do and they are prepared to advance them and the russians are undermining your role in very effective ways. western hemisphere feels pretty good. we don't have the geopolitical conflicts. that landmark deal is going to be signed in colombia between the government there and the farc. 50 years of civil war. it feels safe here so it is hard for the obama administration to give that statesman like strategic foreign policy when at home in congress and the constituents are saying we really don't want you spending a lot of time or money engaging in that. >> where do you put the health and relevance of the united nations at 70? >> i think that the united nations is incredibly relevant but the security council is a more of an institution. all of these outfits what they have done with incredibly difficult challenges reducing poverty, dealing with sort of childhood mortality, the food program. i mean if it wasn't for that, this refugee crisis we would have been hearing in the
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headlines years before we actually wound up here. those are wonderful things. but the security council doesn't work. it is unreformable and it is a reflection of the geopolitical environment that obama himself struggled so mightily to be able to speak to. >> andrea mitchell is back with us. andrea, same question. health and relevance of the united nations at 70. >> well, i would say that pope francis at 78 is a whole lot healthier and more relevant than the united nations at 70. i have to tell you that you and i have covered this agency for decades. and one has to ask when there was an associated press report last week that the world health organization, which was always highly regarded, totally blew the warnings of ebola and did not take action quickly enough to protect people from the ravages of ebola in africa, that's just one indicator. but the other indicator is the
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migrant crisis and the war that preceded it caused it. what did the united nations do, if anything, to try to ameliorate the civil war that's been raging in syria? arguably the united states has been not adept diplomatically, nor have any of the allies that we've all sort of ignored it until it hit europe's front door. but the bottom line is this war has been going on for years and years and the united nations is supposed to be a peacekeeping force. i think there's also been, let's say, a lessening of influence of the u.n. secretary-general. kofi annan was really the last secretary-general that had large influence and that was when he was personally committed to trying to stop the u.s. and great britain and the others from going into iraq. so is it's been that long since we've seen a very strong hand at the helm of the united nations. there have been charges of corruption, and also there's been so much opposition in congress to the united nations going back years and years that
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we have not even lived up to our minimal funding commitments. so we don't have as much leverage as we ought to have. the one area where the united nations -- or a break-away group from the united nations has been effective is the diplomacy of the so-called permanent five pl plus one members of the security council because it was that group with leadership from the u.s. lead negotiations with iran. for better or not we'll know years from now, but that's one thing the president is going to be pointing to, along with the cuba initiative, that has shown diplomacy can work. and cuba was negotiated with the help of the pope. not at all with the united nations. >> andrea, how will they ever -- you mentioned the critics in congress. it is a favorite whipping post. how will they ever get that back? will there ever be an event, a crisis, an initiative that will win the u.n. more friends,
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especially among conservatives and especially in washington? >> reporter: hard to say, because all the way back when jes jes jesse helms was leading the committee, madelyn albright had to go to a softball game, to north carolina, she was the ambassador to the united nations and she had to basically lobby him very effectively. as did richard holbrooke, the late diplomat, when he was ambassador. it was also in the hands of whoever was controlling the appropriations committee and at the time it was a republican and a very conservative one at that. it is very hard to imagine a scenario other than some major crisis, humanitarian crisis or a war where the u.n. showed its effectiveness. but it's been a long time since we've seen real effectiveness. it was a u.n.-led force and nato of course in libya, but we all know how that ended up with a dysfunctional state. so the toppling of gadhafi is
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hardly a way to argue for u.n. effectiveness. >> and the view of ban ki-moon, you think in plain english, is nice man, perhaps not as strong or effective a man as he could be. >> reporter: i think that's the case. i think it's also the times. we're back in super power diplomacy and in arm conflicts around the world and this multi-lateral organization which does so much good on the ground in terms of their humanitarian efforts in most places, in many unheralded ways around the world, just gets ignored and it is not front of mind until a crisis such as this migrant crisis erupts. >> andrea mitchell outside the u.n., we still have chris matthews, we have secretary cohen watching and listening in washington, and we have senator chris coons here with me in our
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new york studio. we are nearing the ends of braz brazil's time in front of the general assembly. and then what's become that very, very recognizable characteristic -- green stone backdrop we will see president obama and hear how he r rhetorically is going to get around the minefield we have just established. senator coons, since you are here, let's talk about the institution of the u.s. senate. the boehner effect. what do you think will happen? i mean there are still a lot of people who want us to know a government shoulddown is possible. >> government shutdown remains possible as long as there are senators running for president who think it's in their self-interest to take this fight all the way to the mat. i don't think we will see it this week, but we will adopt a short-term continuing resolution that will keep the government open only a couple of weeks
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while we try again to negotiate a bigger budget deal. i just don't see how this is in america's interest. as you and andrea were just discussing, the united nations which we helped create 70 years ago to contain the spread of nuclear weapons and to deal with a massive refugee crisis right after the second world war, seems to me more relevant than it's been in a while because it has helped with pulling together the world community to confront iran. it was u.n. security council resolutions that put in place the sanction system that congress then in a bipartisan and effective way pushed forward and this administration successful led negotiations, and the u.n., through unicef, the world food program, is doing more to deal with the human refugee crisis than any other entity. so it is not irrelevant, but it is aging. and in a deeply divided congress, one that is at risk of shutting down the government, we do need to find a way to come together and embrace the institutions that we help build. >> brazil's time has concluded.
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and you see the three gentlemen getting up foreign policy that elevated portion. secretary-general ban ki-moon is over there now thanking the president of brazil. let's listen in. we could hear the introduction of president obama. >> the assembly will now hear an address by his excellency, barack obama, president of the united states of america. i request the protocol for his excellence.
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on behalf of the jemgeneral assemb assembly, i have the honor to welcome to the united nations his excellency, barack obama, president of the united states of america, and to invite him to address the assembly. [ applause ] >> mr. president, mr. secretary-general, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlem gentlemen -- 70 years after the founding of the united nations, it is worth reflecting on what
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together the members of this body have helped to achieve. out of the ashes of the second world war, having witnessed the unthinkable power of the atomic age, the united states has worked with many nations in this assembly to prevent a third world war by forging alliances with old adversaries, by supporting the steady emergence of strong democracies, accountable to their people instead of any foreign power. and by building an international system that imposes a cost on those who choose conflict over cooperation, an order that recognizes the dignity and equal worth of all people, that is the
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work of seven decades. that is the ideal that this body at its best has pursued. of course, there have been too many times when collectively we have fallen short of these ideals. over seven decades terrible conflicts have claimed untold victims. but we have pressed forward, slowly, steadily, to make a system of international rules and norms that are better and stronger and more consistent. it is this international order that is underwritten unparalleled advances in human liberty and prosperity. it is this collective endeavor that's brought about diplomatic
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cooperation between the world's major powers. and buttresses a global economy that's lifted more than a billion people from poverty. it is these international principles that have helped constrain bigger countries from imposing our will on smaller ones, and advanced the emergence of democracy and development and individual liberty on every continent. this progress is real. it can be documented in lives saved and agreements forged and diseases conquered and in mouths fed. and yet we come together today knowing that the march of human progress never travels in a straight line, that our work is far from complete, that dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more
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disordered world. today we see the collapse of strong men and fragile states breeding conflict and driving innocent men, women and children across borders on an epic scale. brutal networks of terror have stepped in to the vacuum. technologies that empower individuals are now also exploited by those who spread disinformation or suppress dissent or radicalize our youth. global capital flow has empow empowered growth and investment but also increased risk of contagion. weaken the bargaining power of workers and accelerated inequality. how should we respond to these trends? there are those who argue that
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the ideals enshrined in the u.n. charter are unachievable or out of date. a legacy of a post-war era not suited to our own. effectively, they argue for a return to the rules that applied for most of human history and that predate this institution, the belief that power is a zero sum game, that might makes right, that strong states must impose their will on weaker ones, that the rights of individuals don't matter, and that in a time of rapid change, order must be imposed by force. on this basis we see some major powers assert themselves in ways that contravene international law. we see an erosion of the
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democratic principles and human rights that are fundamental to this institution's mission. information is strictly controlled. the space for civil society restricted. we're told that such retrenchment is required to beat back disorder, that it's the only way to stamp out terrorism or prevent foreign meddling. in accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like bashar al assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse. the increasing skepticism of our international order can also be found in the most advanced democracies. we see greater polarization, more frequent gridlock, movements on the far right, and
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sometimes the left, that insist on stopping the trade that binds our fa our fates to other nations, calling for the building of walls to keep o you the immigrants. most ominously we see the fears of ordinary people being exploited through appeals to sectarianism, or tribalism, or racism, or anti-semitism. appeals to a glorious past before the body politic was infected by those who looked different or worshipped god differently. a politics of us versus them. the united states is not immune from this. even as our economy is growing, and our troops have largely returned from iraq and afghanistan, we see in our debates about america's role in the world, a notion of strength
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that is defined by opposition to old enemies, perceived adversaries, a rising china, a resurge anlgeant russia, an ira that's incompatible with peace. we see an argument made that the only strength that matters for the united states is bellicose words and shows of military force. but cooperation and diplomacy will not work. as president of the united states, i am mindful of the dangers that we face. they cross my desk every morning. i lead the strongest military
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that the world has ever known and i will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies unilaterally and by force where necessary. but i stand before you today believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion. we cannot look backwards. we live in an integrated world, one in which we all have a stake in each other's success. we cannot turn back those forces of integration. no nation in this assembly can insulate itself from the threat of terrorism or the risk of financial contagion. the flow of migrants or the danger of a warming planet.
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the disorder we see is not driven solely by competition between nations or any single ideology. and if we cannot work together more effectively, we will all suffer the consequences. that is true for the united states as well, no matter how powerful our military, how strong our economy, we understand the united states cannot solve the world's problems alone. in iraq the united states learned the hard lesson, that even though hundreds of thousands of brave, effective troops, trillions of dollars from our treasury, cannot by itself impose stability on a
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foreign land. unless we work with other nations under the mantel of international norms and principles and law that offer legitimacy to our efforts, we will not succeed. and unless we work together to defeat the ideas that drive different communities in a country like iraq into conflict, any order that our militaries can impose will be temporary. and just as force alone cannot impose order internationally, i believe in my core that repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed. the history of the last two decades proves that in today's world dictatorships are unstable. the strong men of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow. you can jail your opponents but you can't imprison ideas.
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you can try to control access to information but you cannot turn a lie into truth. it is not a conspiracy of u.s.-backed ngos that expose corruption and raise expectations of people around the globe. it's technology. social media. and the irreducible desire of people everywhere to make their own choices about how they are govern governed. indeed, i believe that in today's world the measure of strength is no longer defined by the control of territory. lasting prosperity does not come solely from the ability to access and extract raw materials. the strength of nations depends on the success of their people, their knowledge, their innovation, their imagination, their creativity, their drive,
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their opportunity. and that, in turn, depends on individual rights and good governance and personal security. internal repression and foreign aggression are both symptoms of the failure to provide this foundation. the politics and solidarity that depend on demonizing others, that draws on religious sectarianism or narrow tribalism, or jingoism may at times look like strength in the moment, but over time, its weakness will be exposed. and history tells us that the dark forces unleashed by this type of politics surely makes all of us less secure. our world has been there before. we gain nothing from going back. instead, i believe that we must
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go forward in pursuit of our ideals, not abandon them at this critical time. we must give expression to our best hopes, not our deepest fears. this institution was founded because men and women who came before us had the foresight to know that our nations are more secure when we uphold basic laws and basic norms and pursue a path of cooperation over conflict. and strong nations, above all, have a responsibility to uphold this international order. let me give you a concrete example. after i took office, i made clear that one of the principle achievements of this body, the nuclear nonproliferation regime, was endangered by iran's violation of the mpt.
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on that basis, the security council tightened sanctions on the iranian government and many nations joined us to enforce them. together we showed that laws and agreements mean something. but we also understood that the goal of sanctions was not simply to punish iran. our objective was to test whether iran could change course, accept constraints, and allow the world to verify that its nuclear program will be peaceful. for two years the united states and our partners, including russia, including china, stuck together in complex negotiations. the result is a lasting, comprehensive deal that prevents iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while allowing it to access peaceful energy. and if this deal is fully implemented, the prohibition on nuclear weapons is strengthened,
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a potential war is averted, our world is safer. that is the strength of the international system when it works the way it should. that same fidelity to international order guides our responses to other challenges around the world. consider russia's annexation of crimea and further aggression in eastern ukraine. america has few economic interests in ukraine. we recognize the deep and complex history between russia and ukraine. but we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated. if that happens without consequence in ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered
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here today. that's the basis of the sanctions that the united states and our partners impose on russia. it is not a desire to return to a cold war. now within russia, state-controlled media may describe these events as an example of a resurgent russia. a view shared, by the way, by a number of u.s. politicians and commentators who have always been deeply skeptical of russia. and seem to be convinced a new cold war is in fact upon us. and yet look at the results. the ukrainian people are more interested in ever than aligning with europe instead of russia. sanctions have led to capital flight. a contracting economy. a fallen ruble. and the emigration of more educated russians.
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imagine if instead russia had engaged in true diplomacy and worked with ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected. that would be better for ukraine, but also better for russia. and better for the world. which is why we continue to press for this crisis to be resolved in a way that allows a sovereign and democratic ukraine to determine its future and control its territory. not because we want to isolate russia. we don't. but because we want a strong russia that's invested in working with us to strengthen the international system as a whole. similarly, in the south china sea, the united states makes no claim on territory there. we don't adjudicate claims.
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but like every nation gathered here, we have an interest in upholding the basic principles of freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. and in resolving disputes through international law, not the law of force. so we will defend these principles while encouraging klein and other claimants to resolve their differences peaceful peacefully. i say this recognizing the diplomacy is hard. that the outcomes are sometimes unsatisfying, that its's rarely politically popular. but i believe that leaders of large nations in particular have an obligation to take these risks, precisely because we are strong enough to protect our
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interests if and when diplomacy fails. i also believe that to move forward in this new era, we have to be strong enough to acknowledge when what you're doing is not working. for 50 years the united states pursued a cuba policy that failed to improve the lives of the cuban people. we changed that. we continue to have differences with the cuban government, we will continue to stand up for human rights, but we addressed these issues through diplomatic relations and increased commerce and people to people ties. as these contacts yield progress, i'm confident that our congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore. [ applause ]
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>> change won't come overnight to cuba, but i'm confident that openness, not coercion, will support the reforms and better the life the cuban people deserve, just as i believe that cuba will find its success if it pursues cooperation with other nations. now if it's in the interest of major powers to uphold international standards, it is even more true for the rest of the community of nations. look around the world. from singapore to colombia, to senegal, the facts show that nations succeed when they pursue an inclusive peace and prosperity within their borders and work cooperatively with countries beyond their borders.
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that path is now available to a nation like iran, which, as of this moment, continues to deploy violent proxies to advance its interes interests. these efforts may appear to give iran leverage in disputes with neighbors but they fuel sectarian conflict that endangers the entire region, isolates iran from trade and commerce. the iranian people have a proud history and are filled with extraordinary potential. but chanting "death to america" does not create jobs or make iran more secure. if iran chooses a different path, that would be good for the security of the region, good for the iranian people, and good for the world. of course, around the globe we will continue to be confronted with nations who reject these lessons of history, places where
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civil strife and border disputes and sectarian wars bring about terrorist enclaves and humanitarian disasters. where order has completely broken down, we must act, but we will be stronger whether we act together. in such efforts, the united states will always do our part. we will do so mindful of the lessons of the past. not just the lessons of iraq, but also the example of libya where we joined an international coalition under a u.n. mandate to prevent a slaughter. even as we helped the libyan people bring an end to the reign of a tyrant, our coalition could have, and should have, done more to fill a vacuum left behind. we're grateful to the united
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nations for its efforts to forge a unity government. we will help any legitimate libyan government as it works to bring the country together. but we also have to recognize that we must work more effectively in the future as an international community to build capacity for states that are in distress before they collapse. that's why we should celebrate the fact that later today, the united states will join with more than 50 countries to enlist new capabilities, infantry, intelligence, helicopters, hospitals, and tens of thousands of troops to strengthen united nations peacekeeping. [ applause ] >> these new capabilities can prevent mass killing and ensure that peace agreements are more than words on paper.
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but we have to do it together. together we must strengthen our collective capacity to establish security where order has broken down, and to support those who seek a just and lasting peace. nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested than in syria. when a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation's internal affairs. it breeds human suffering on an order of magnitude that affects us all. likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women, that's not a single nation's national security problem. that is an assault on all our
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humanity. i said before, and i will repeat -- there's no room for accommodating an apocalyptic cult like isil and the united states makes no apology for using our military as part of a broad coalition to go after them. we do so with a determination to ensure that there will never be a safe haven for terrorists who carry out these crimes. and we have demonstrated over more than a decade of relentless pursuit of al qaeda, we will not be outlasted by extremists. but while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in syria. lasting stability can only take hold when the people of syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully. the united states is prepared to work with any nation, including
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russia and iran, to resolve the conflict. but we must recognize that there can not be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo. let's remember how this started. assad reacted to peaceful protests by escalating repression and killing, that in turn created the environment for the current strife. so assad and his allies can't simply pacify the broad majority of a population who have beenut and indiscriminate bombing. yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out isil.
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but realism also requires a managed transition away from assad and to a new leader. and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the syrian people can begin to rebuild. we know that isil, which emerged out of the chaos of iraq and syria, depends on perpetual war to survive. but we also know that they gain adherence because of a poisonous ideology. so part of our job, together, is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. part of that effort must be a continued rejection by muslims of those who distort islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also involve a rejection by non-muslims of the ignorance that equates islam with terror. [ applause ]
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this work will take time. there are no easy answers to syria, and there are no simple answers to the changes that are taking place in much of the middle east and north africa. but, so many families need help right now. they don't have time. that's why the united states is increasing the number of refugees who we welcome within our borders. that's why we will continue to be the largest donor of assistance to support those refugees, and today we are launching new efforts to ensure that our people and our businesses, our universities and our ngos can help as well. because in the faces of suffering families, our nation of immigrants sees ourselves.
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of course, in the old ways of thinking, the plight of the powerless, the plight of refugees, the plight of the m marginalized did not matter. they were on the periphery of the world's concerns. today our concern for them is driven not just by conscience, but should also be driven by self-interest. for helping people who have been pushed to the margins of our world is not mere charity. it is a matter of collective security. and the purpose of this institution is not merely to avoid conflict, it is to galvanize the collective action that makes life better on this planet. the commitments we've made to the sustainable development goals speak to this truth. i believe that capitalism has been the greater creator of wealth and opportunity that the world has ever known. but from big cities to rural villages around the world we
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also know that prosperity is still cruelly out of reach for too many. as his holiness, pope francis, reminds us -- we are stronger when we value the least among us and see them as equal in dignity to ourselves and our sons and our daughters. we can roll back preventable disease and end the scourge of hiv/aids. we can stamp out pandemics that recognize no borders. that work may not be on television right now, but as we demonstrated in reversing the spread of ebola, it can save more lives than anything else we can do. together we can eradicate extreme poverty and erase barriers to opportunity. but this requires a sustained commitment to our people so farmers can feed more people, so entrepreneurs can start a
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business without paying a bribe, so young people have the skills they need to succeed in this modern knowledge-based economy. we can promote growth through trade that meets a higher standard. that's what we're doing through the transpacific partnership. a trade agreement that encompasses nearly 40% of the global economy, an agreement that will protect rights of workers and enables development to be sustained. we can roll back the pollution that we put in our skies and help economies lift people out of poverty without condemning our children to the ravages of an ever warming climate. the same eingenuity that producd the industrial age and the computer age allows us to harness the potential of clean energy. no country can escape the ravages of climate change, and there's no stronger sign of leadership than putting future
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generations first. the united states will work with every nation that is willing to do its part so that we can come together in paris to decisively confront this challenge. and finally, our vision for the future of this assembly, my belief in moving forward rather than backwards, requires us to defend the democratic principles that allow societies to succeed. let me start from a simple premise. catastrophes like what we are seeing in syria do not take place in countries where there is genuine democracy and respect for the universal values this institution is supposed to defend. [ applause ]
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i recognize that democracy is going to take different forms in different parts of the world. the very idea of a people governing themselves depends upon government giving expression to their unique culture, their unique history, their unique experiences. but some universal truths are self-evident. no person wants to be imprisoned for peaceful worship. no woman should ever be abused with impunity or a girl barred from going to school. the freedom to peacefully petition those in power without fear of arbitrary laws. these are not ideas of one country or one culture. they are fundamental to human progress. they are a cornerstone of this
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institution. i realize that in many parts of the world there's a different view, a belief that strong leadership must tolerate no dissent. i hear it not only from america's adversaries, but privately at least i also hear it from some of our friends. i disagree. i believe a government that suppresses peaceful dissent is not showing strength, it is showing weakness and it is showing fear. history shows -- [ applause ] >> history shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble. but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual is gone. that's why our strongest leaders
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from george washington to nelson mandela, have elevated the importance of building strong democratic institutions over a thirst for perpetual power. leaders who amend constitutions to stay in office only acknowledge that they failed to build a successful country for their people. because none of us last forever. it tells else us that power is something they claim for its own sake rather than for the betterment of those they purport to serve. i understand democracy is frustrating. democracy in the united states is certainly imperfect. at times it can be dysfunctional. but democracy, the constant struggle to extend rights to more of our people, to give more
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people a voice, is what allowed us to become the most powerful nation in the world. [ applause ] >> it's not simply a matter of principle. it's not an abstraction. inclues sive democracy makes countries stronger. when opposition parties can seek power peacefully through the ballot, that country draws upon new ideas. when a free media can inform the public, corruption and abuse are exposed and can be rooted out. when civil society thrives, communities can solve problems that governments cannot necessarily solve alone. when immigrants are welcomed, countries are more productive and more vibrant. when girls can go to school and get a job and pursue unlimited opportunity, that's when a country realizes its full potential.
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[ applause ] >> that is what i believe is america's greatest strength. not everybody in america agrees with me. that's part of democracy. i believe that the fact that you can walk the streets of this city right now and pass churches and synagogues and temples and mosques where people worship freely, the fact that our nation of immigrants mirrors the diversity of the world. you can find everybody from everywhere here in new york city. the fact that in this country, everybody can contribute, everybody can participate no matter who they are or what they look like, or who they love. that's what makes us strong. and i believe that what is true for america is true for virtually all mature democracies, and that is no
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accident. we can be proud of our nations without defining ourselves in opposition to some other group. we can be patriotic without demonizing someone else. we can cherish our own identities, our religion, our ethnicity, our traditions, without putting others down. our systems are premised on the notion that absolute power will corru corrupt, but that people -- ordinary people are fundamentally good. that they value family and friendship, faith, and the dignity of hard work, and that with appropriate checks and balances, governments can reflect this goodness. i believe that's the future we must seek together. to believe in the dignity of every individual.
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to believe we can bridge our differences and choose cooperation over conflict. that is not weakness, that is strength. [ applause ] >> it is a practical necessity in this interconnected world. and our people understand this. think of the liberian doctor who went door to door to search for ebola cases and to tell families what to do if they show symptoms. think of the iranian shop keeper who said after the nuclear deal, god willing, now we will be able to offer many more goods at better prices. think of the americans who lowered the flag over our embassy in havana in 1961, the year i was born, and returned this summer to raise that flag back up. [ applause ]
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one of these men said of the cuban people, we could do things for them and they could do things for us. we love them. for 50 years we ignored that fact. think of the families leaving everything they've known behind, risking barren deserts and stormy waters just to find shelter, just to save their children. one syrian refugee who was greeted in hamburg with warm greetings and shelter said, "we feel there are still some people who love other people." the people of our united nations are not as different as they are told. they can be made to fear, they
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can be taught to hate, but they can also respond to hope. history is littered with the failure of false prophets and fallen empires who believed that might always makes right, and that will continue to be the case, you can count on that. but we are called upon to offer a different type of leadership, leadership strong enough to recognize that nations share common interests and people share a common humanity, and, yes, there are certain ideas and principles that are universal. that's what those who shaped the united nations 70 years ago understood. let us carry forward that faith into the future, for it is the only way we can assure that future will be brighter, for my
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children, and for yours. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> well, he went wildly over a lot of time. these are supposed to be 15-minute addresses. he more than doubled that. barack obama just delivered a speech that could be subtitled "reasons to love democracy." chris matthews, there was a swipe at trump. he criticized those calling for the building of walls to keep out immigrants. he reminded nations chanting "death to america" does not create jobs. and he called isis an apocalyptic cult. what did you make of that speech? >> i thought, as you said earlier, this was going to be a real effort on the part of his speech writer and the president, they worked hard on this. i think a couple things. swipe the a donald trump, clearly. laying down of the marker for his negotiations with putin clearly there, saying h

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