tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 20, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PDT
did he act alone? that's the main question law enforcement and intelligence officials try to answer as they focus on rahami's trips overseas. the first charges of attempted murder filed. he's being held on more than $5 million bail and campaign blame game. donald trump and hillary clinton claim if the other is elected, isis wins. our team of reporters following all the latest developments for us this morning. let us start with ayman mohyeldin. he's in elizabeth, new jersey, outside rahami's home. bring us up to speed on the latest on the investigation, sir. >> reporter: yeah, i'll tell you about the investigation in just a second but a few minutes outside, we're outside of the family home and also outside of that fried chicken restaurant that the family owned as well where ahmad, the son, obviously, also worked and then a few minutes ago, we saw the father come out. the father known as raha ahmad
rahami. we know at least the father is here at the family home. he's not left the area. he's not left, at least, the family home since this morning when we first arrived here. in terms of the investigation, as you mentioned, craig, the central question is going to be about whether or not ahmad rahami acted alone, whether or not he had kblaccomplices. and law enforcement said he was surprised he found him in that state yesterday, being he was exhausted, by himself, and wet because it was raining. in fact, the person who led him to the police was a bar owner i spoke to last night and here's what he said to me. >> he didn't have any kind of expression that somebody saw him. like, okay. move outside, you know? move to the other side.
and coming back, said, this guy looks so similar to the guy just watching the tv. >> reporter: so this bar owner, harry baines, told us he approached ahmad rahami, he was a bit dishevelled and exhausted, sleeping. moving away from the front door, rolled away and said thank you and kept to himself and then went back to the store, look the picture up one more time, discussed it with a friend and then at that point called the lyndon police who engaged the suspect leading to his capture ultimately. we know he was taken alive. he was alert, conscious. so we do know he has the ability to cooperate with law enforcement. whether or not he is cooperating with law enforcement, that is not yet clear, craig. >> morgan radford standing by for us. ayman, thank you. morgan at university hospital in newark where a police officer and that suspect that ayman was just talking about are both being hospitalized after that
shootout. let's start with the latest on their condition. what do we know about that, morgan? >> reporter: well, craig, so far, we do know that the suspect is inside. he had surgery yesterday. as he's recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, but craig, he's in the same hospital as the officer that he shot. that's officer peter hammer. he's the one that was sitting in his patrol car when the bullet grazed his head and then the suspect fleeing on foot. he's expected to be released later today but officer paideia shot in the stomach as found, as you heard from the bar trend te found 10:00 yesterday morning and when rahami leaves this hospital, he's only be charged for the attempted murder of those two cops i just mentioned. not yet charged in those bombings yet. he's still a suspect in the u.s. attorney's both for new york and here in new jersey. they expect the federal charges of terrorism to come in the next few days. meanwhile, we're staking outside
of this hospital to wait what we hear from fbi investigators already inside, craig. >> morgan radford, thank you so much. i want to bring in nbc terrorism expert malcolm nance now. so far, we do not have a motive in these attacks but it would seem as though the execution was a bit amateurish but the bombs themselves, a bit sophisticated. what does that tell you? >> very interesting. you're right, the bombs themselves, certainly the pot style bombs we saw, the pressure cooker bombs, very unstable. it requires you go to school and learn how to build that type of explosive. >> you couldn't get that on the internet. >> you could get it on the internet but you'd lose your arm, hand, or eyes. that's how we find most bomb makers after they explode these explosives. and also, his pipe bombs. he sort of stepped up from baby explosives, black powder, moved
on to flashless powder and then this very sophisticated powder. he had to have tested these somewhere. the key to this plot, we don't know where the bomb lab is because if it was inis parents house on the second floor, they would have evacuated the entire streets. so where did he do it? the tag tiering, absolutely amateurish and that's why it's a failed attack. >> the targets, chelsea, why? >> kwogood question. i know the exact spot where he delivered the first across from peloton bicycles. he could have gone one block over in madison square park and been in a highly densely packed area on a saturday night with all the people coming in and out of 23rd street station. he didn't choose to do that. time square or anywhere else. so either he had reticence like he didn't want to create casualties or it was a
demonstration to the world of his ability to build this or he was just incompetent and scared and just dropped them where he thought would do the least damage or could be hidden. >> let's talk about the travels to afghanistan and pakistan. obviously, investigators looking at these travels. what might they be looking for. >> the indicators are right off the bat, where he traveled in pakistan. granted, he may have had relatives in parts of pakistan, but at one point, he went away for a year. but two most interesting places for me are kweta, where he went to the city which is the heart of the taliban's shura in quera. virtually all groups have representation this that city and training sites. karachi, very interesting thing about him. he cut his beard and he looks exactly like one of the 9/11
plotters. it was almost like a homage, a grooming of himself. muhammad operated out of karachi where you have a lot of sectarian violence between sunni and shia muslims. maybe that's where he practiced the craft before coming back. that's all speculative. we really have to find out precisely what he was doing there and why he had this sudden transformation. >> and the last two or three minutes while we were having this conversation, our justice correspondent pete williams has gotten some new information. and i'm just going to read it out loud here as i go through it. one of the strangest aspects of this unexploded device on 27th street. this was obviously the device that did not go off. there was a note attached to the device, apparently, raising a question. raising a number of questions. one of them being, why would anyone leave a note? it would be destroyed when the bomb went off. a law enforcement official describing this note, quote, a
hodgepodge, a rambling disconnected choppy series of references to past events. we have, pete, in washington, dc. malcolm, stand by for me. our justice correspondent, pete williams. pete, i was reading your note here. can you jump in and give us a little bit more context? >> i think you've accurately characterized what i've been told, craig. this is a puzzle. why would a bomber leave a note with a bomb, assuming that if the bomb went off, the note would be destroyed? it's a fair question. it raises the question of whether that device, the one that you're looking at right there on 27th street. now, i don't know if a piece of paper in that pictu is "t note" but we know there was a note found with the device. so why would you do that? it suggests that perhaps the intention was that was never supposed to go off but it was supposed to be a hoax device.
now, the investigators that have looked at this say that it was a functioning device. as a matter of fact, they took many hours to try to render it safe so that it could be sent to the fbi lab and examined by analysts up there for fingerprints and by the way, it's on that device they found the important piece of information that put them on to rahami in the first place, the fingerprint on it. but setting that question aside and whether the thing was supposed to go off or not, the note is, as you say, not a well written narrative. just a whole bunch of things strung together. mentioning the ft. hood shooting in texas and that was inspired by anwar al al-awlaki, the boston marathon bombs, tsarnaev, watched anwar allwar al al-awla.
that is a thing that's sort of pointing in the direction of al qaeda, with that plus the fact the bombs built more or less on the lines of instructions given in the al qaeda magazine "inspire." also followed by the boston marathon bombers. so this was all just part of the puzzle here as investigators try to figure out what the influences on rahami were. a lot of people wondered about isis but investigators say so far, they found nothing about isis at all in any of the communications that rahami had looked at. a couple of other quick points, his wife was not in the u.s. when the bombs went off. they say that she had left at some point before. they weren't sure exactly how
many days before, but they don't consider that suspicious. the timing of it. they try to find her and say they know where she is and hope to question her in the next day or so. the question about the bombs that were left in elizabeth, new jersey, that the fbi was trying to disarm yesterday and in the process of which one went off, that was one device and the question that is unanswered and you're looking at the video now that shows how it went off when they were trying to disarm it near the train station there. the question is, was that another planted device or were they stuck in that garbage can near the residence where he lived because he was trying to get rid of evidence as the heat was on him and, of course, that is an unanswered question, something they're trying to figure out. the total number of bombs that he built, they say, or devices, is five. the one in seaside park, two in new york and then the one in,
four, rather, one in elizabeth. >> pete? >> yeah? >> i want to pick up on something initially malcolm raised a short time ago. any idea, at this point, where these bombs might have been made? >> no. >> okay. all right. our justice correspondent pete williams in washington with some breaking news. a note found with that unexploded device here in new york city on 27th street. malcolm nance, odd to say the least. >> very early on. glad he brought out the evidence because i knew about this evidence two days ago but it was all unconfirmed. most importantly is, we had our suspicions that the 27th street bomb was designed to be found first. and that bomb would be found and everybody does a bomb evacuation for a block rim tperimeter and it into the second bomb. the second bomb was command
detonated. that was detonated through a cell phone. which, by the way, had his phone numbers in it and photographs of his family. which is how we tracked him down so quickly. so perhaps that's it. but what i also see with the ramblings, we had indications early on that this guy was probably not isis meaning towards al qaeda. remember i said the grooming. sounds funny. but that's what we do in intelligence. we look at every aspect of this. >> hang on a second. i want to call our viewers attention to president obama making his way up the escalator there at the united nations. he is expected to address the assembly roughly 15 minutes from now. along with first lady michelle obama. you can see the officials greeting them there at the u.n. we are told by our folks on the ground that he will be speaking in roughly 15 minutes. also, secretary of state john kerry trailing behind him there.
this is a highly anticipated speech for a number of reasons. president obama expected to spend some time talking about the civil war in syria. also, expected to spend some time talking about the refugee crisis that that war has created. some 5 million syrians have left that country over the past few years, creating a crisis that we have not seen globally since the end of world war ii. president obama, again, you can see the live pictures there of the president and his entourage arriving at the united nations. ron allen standing by for us there at the u.n. ron, what else can we expect to hear from president obama today? >> well, craig, this is his farewell address. one of his last appearances on the world stage. and he'd like to talk about what he sees as the progress that's been made over the last eight years around the world working
through the u.n. remember when he took office some eight years ago, the u.s. was quite isolated because of the iraq war. hundreds of troops on the ground that mostly the community did not support. the president will emphasize the progress that's been made on issues like nuclear proliferation. the iran nuclear deal. the centerpiece of that. the climate talks and the climate agreement in paris. all of which the u.n. played a role in. and you're right, the refugee situation is a huge issue. the president is convening a meeting of world leaders to focus on that to get member states and even private corporations in the united states to invest more money in helping refugees around the world to find places to be settled and jobs, education, so on and so forth. that's the main focus that he wants to keep here. but as is always the case, the world is a very busy place and syria is probably near the top of his agenda. he's going to talk about it but given the strike, humanitarian
convoy near aleppo. given the fact that the cessation of hostilities agreement has all but fallen apart. the urgency of that will certainly draw mr. obama's attention. also, the attacks here in the united states. he spoke about this yesterday but i think the way the president sees that, it's all connected to isis and the global war on terror. and that will also certainly be one of the topics that he's going to discuss. interesting to see how tightly he focuses on syria because, again, the awful humanitarian disaster yesterday is really front and center. and the russians and the united states are very much at odds blaming each other for that and very much at odds blaming each other for the collapse of the cease-fire agreement that was supposed to really have a pivotal moment yesterday after seven days, but again, the first eight convoys are just getting in and it's essentially fallen apart. so again, we expect the president to speak in about, oh, 10 to 15 minutes, about 35 or 40
minutes or so. we expect him to give a very warm welcome because this is his last time here. he's been here every year he's been in office and i expect him to get a very warm welcome and for the nations of the world to recognize this is his last time here but again, the urgency of many world crises will be very much at the top of the agenda. >> ron allen for us there at the united nations ahead of president obama's speech. again, we are expecting that the president will take the podium roughly ten minutes from now. we will carry that speech in its entirety right here on msnbc. for now though, we'll take a quick break. nah, i'd never with a kid in the car. it's ok. i'm not here. [sfx: phone vibrating multiple times] i'm there. [sfx: tires screeching]
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secretary of state john kerry was also in tow. the president set to make his final address there before the general assembly. this will be the eighth time he has spoken before the body. we are told that he will begin making those comments roughly ten minutes from now. right now, the president of chad is speaking. top of the hour as the the president of brazil. we're told that president obama. there's the president of chad. we apologize for butchiering th name of that last bassad basbas. i appreciate you covering some moments for us. what do you think we need to hear from president obama today and do you suspect that he will, in any way, shape, or form take a veil or not so veiled swipe at the republican nominee for
president? >> well, trashditionally, this a bipartisan speech but i think his message is let's all band together to fight isis and something about the refugee crisis, biggest refugee crisis since world war ii, especially in syria. i think he'll have to address the collapse of the cease-fire in syria. but this is mainly the president's swan song. he's very popular overseas. 200 countries at the u.n., general assembly. i remember these days or the apex of the u.n. and the u.n. is basically, craig, a third world institution. even though the big powers run things. britain, france, russia, this is where the chads of the world shine. and this president, one of their good legacies is going to be he improved the relationship with cuba, with myanmar, laos, the iran deal.
i think he's going to basically say, i've made the world better and i think history is going to judge his foreign policy on a more positive note as we mo ve on. >> president obama, again, first address, this assembly back in 2009. here's just a snippet of what he had to say then. take a listen. >> i am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. now, these expectations are not about me. rather, they are rooted, i believe, in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences. and outpaced by our problems. but they are also rooted in hope. the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that america will be a leader in bringing about such change.
>> ambassador, first of all, it continues to strike me how quickly the office ages you, i suppose. he said he was well aware of the expectations. has he met those expectations? >> i think he has. i think his legacy will be a good one. look at what he's done through the u.n. system on climate change. i think the u.n. secretary general helped but it was president obama and his agreement with china and his various initiatives to put climate change. we have an international coalition. isis, the international coalition, i think, was built a lot through european countries, nato countries, but also, the united states. obviously, there's some issues there. a lot of other mentions that i said, improving relationships with rogue states that had u.s. had no relationship with like
iran, like cuba, like burma. >> not north korea though. >> north korea won't be another term. i think the administration tried but it's one of the cases where i think both sides realized the next administration of the united states is going to have to deal with that. it's an intractable issue. >> really, before i let you get out of here, yesterday on the campaign trail, we heard both donald trump and hillary clinton electing the other would be a win for isis. you are still quite plugged in globally. is there any truth to either of those claims? >> well, i think the international community, i travel. they're scared of donald trump. they think he's not equipped to have the foreign policy credentials to be president and yes, i'm a strong supporter of hillary clinton. she has commander in chief background. she's been secretary of state. she's dealt with terrorism as a senator.
i think there's a lot of apprehension and isis is something that we have to be concerned about and we have to have international coalitions to fight it. if donald trump is president, i mean, who's going to join us? the problem is he's insulted the brits, nato, china, mexico. you've got to have the u.n. and the 200 or so countries of the u.n. behind you and i worry that without electing hillary clinton, we're going to be in bad shape internationally. >> former u.s. ambassador, former governor of new mexico, bill richardson, we'll let you get over to the u.n. thank you so much for your time, sir. 49 days to go. election day. presidential candidates taking every turn, every opportunity, rather, to look presidential. we'll tell you which leaders hillary clinton and donald trump are meeting with during the united nations general assembly. again, president obama expected to make his comments in a few moments.
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as promised, barack hussein obama getting ready to address the united nations. this will be his eighth and final time and he's being introduced right now. >> mr. president, mr. secretary general, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen, as i address this hall as president for the final time, let me recount the progress that we've made these last eight years. from the depths of the greatest financial crisis of our time, we coordinated our response to avoid further catastrophe and return the global economy to
growth. we've taken away terrorists' safe havens, strengthened the non-proliferation regime, resolved the iran yian nuclear issue through diplomacy, opened relations with cuba and ended latin america's longest war and welcome a democratically elected leader of myanmar to this assembly. our assistance helping people feed themselves, care for the circumstances power communities across africa and promote models of development rather than dependence. and we have made international institutions like the world bank and the international monetary fund more representative while establishing a framework to protect our planet from the ravages of climate change.
this is important work. it has made a real difference in the lives of our people. and it could not have happened had we not worked together. and yet, around the globe, we are seeing the same forces of global integration that have made us interdependent also expose deep fault lines in the existing international order. we see it in the headlines every d day. around the world, refugees in flight from brutal conflict. financial disruptions continue to weigh upon our workers and entire communities. across vast swaths of the middle east, basic security, basic
order has broken down. we see too many governments muzzling journalists and quashing dissent and the flow of information. using social media to prey on the mind of our youth, endangering open societies and spurring anger against innocent immigrants and muslims. powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law. and this is the paradox that defines our world today. the quarter century after the end of the cold war, the world is by many measures, less violent and more prosperous than ever before. and yet our societies are filled with uncertainty and unease and
stri strife. despite enormous progress, as people lose trust in institutions, governing becomes more difficult, intentions between nations become more quick to surface. and so i believe that at this moment, we all face a choice. we can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration or we can retreat into a world sharply divided. and ultimately, in conflict along age old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion. i want to suggest to you today that we must go forward and not backward. i believe that as imperfect as
they are, the principles of open market and account governance, we remain the human progress in this century. i make this argument not based on theory or ideology but on facts. facts that all too often, we forget in the immediacy of current events. here's the most important thing. the integration of our global economy has made life better for billions of men, women, and children. over the last 25 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut from nearly 40% of humanity to under 10%. that's unprecedented. and it's not an abstraction. it means children have enough to
eat. mothers don't die in childbirth. meanwhile, cracking the genetic code promises to cure diseases that have plagued us for century. the internet can deliver the entirety of human knowledge to a young girl in a remote village on a single handheld device. and medicine and in manufacturing and education and communications, we're experiencing a transformation of how human beings live on a scale that recalls the evolutions in agriculture and industry and as a result, a person born today is more likely to be healthy, to live longer, and to have access to opportunity than at any time in human history. more ov moreover, the collapse of communism and colonialism allow people to live with the freedom to choose their leaders. despite the real and troubling
areas where freedom appears in retreat. the fact remains that the number of democracies around the world has nearly doubled in the last 25 years. in remote corners of the world, citizens are demanding respect for the dignity of all people no matter their gender or race or religion or disability or sexual orientation and those who deny others dignity are subject to public reproach. an explosion of social media has given ordinary people more ways to express themselves and has raised people's expectations for those of us in power. indeed, our international order has been so successful that we take it as a given that great power is no longer fight world wars, that the end of the cold war lifted the shadow of nuclear
armageddon. that the battle fields of europe has been replaced by peaceful union. that china and india remain on a path of remarkable growth. i say i say all this not to whitewash the challenges we face or to suggest complacency. rather, i believe that we need to acknowledge these achievements in order to summon the confidence to carry this progress forward. and to make sure that we do not abandon those very things that have delivered this progress. in order to move forward though, we do have to acknowledge that the the existing path to global integration requires a course correction. too often, those trumpeting have ignored equality in and among
nations, enduring appeal of ethnic and sectarian identities. have left international institutions ill equipped, underfunded, underresourced in order to handle transnational challenges. and as these real problems have been neglected, alternative visions of the world have pressed forward. both in the wealthiest countries and in the poorest. religious fundamentalism, the politics of ethnicity or tribe or sect, aggressive nationalism, a crude populism. sometimes from the far left but sometimes from the far right to restore what they believe was a better simpler age free of outside contamination. we cannot dismiss these visions,
they are powerful. they reflect dissatisfaction among too many of our citizens. i do not believe those visions can deliver security or prosperity over the long-term. but i do believe that these visions fail to recognize that a very basic level, our common humanity. moreover, i believe that the acceleration of travel and technology and tell communications, together with a global economy that depends on a global supply chains making it self-defeating ultimately for those who seek to reverse this progress. today, a nation by walls would only imprison itself. so the answer cannot be a simple rejection of global integration. instead, we must work together
to make sure the benefits of such integration are broadly shared. and that the disruptions, economic, political, and cultural that are caused by integration are squarely addressed. this is not the place for a detailed policy blueprint but let me offer in broad strokes areas where i believe we must do better together. it starts with making the global economy work better for all people and not just for those at the top. while open markets, capitalism have raised standards of living around the globe, globalization combined with rapid progress and technology has also weakened the position of workers and their ability to secure a decent wage.
and advanced economies like my own, unions have been undermined and many manufacturing jobs have disappeared. often, those who benefit most from globalization have used their political power to further undermine the position of workers. and often suppressed and the growth of the middle class held back by corruption and underinvestment. policies pursued by governments with export driven models threaten to undermine the consensus that underpins global trade. and meanwhile, global capitalists not accountable. nearly $8 trillion stashed away in taxes and the shadow banking system that grows beyond the reach of effective oversight.
a world in which 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as much as the other 99% will never be stable. i understand that the gaps between rich and poor are not new but just as the child in a slum today can see the skyscraper nearby, the technology now allows any person with a smartphone to see how the most privileged among us live. and the contrast between their own lives and others. expectations rise then faster than governments can deliver. and a pervasive sense of injustice undermine people's faith in the system. so how do we fix this imbalance? we cannot unwind integration anymore than we can stuff technology back into a box nor can we look to failed models of the past.
the we start if we start going to beggar thy neighbor policies, these approaches will make us poor collectively and more likely to lead to conflict. and the stark contrast between, say, the success of the republic of korea and the wasteland of north korea shows that central planned control of the economy is a dead end. but i do believe there's another path. one that fuels growth and innovation and offers the clearest route to individual opportunity and national success. it does not require succumbing to a soulless capitalism that benefits only the the few. but rather, recognizes that economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor and growth is
broadly based. and that means respecting the rights of workers so they can organize into independent unions and earn a living wage. it means investing in our people, their skills, their education, their capacity to take an idea and turn it into a business. it means strengthening the safety net that protects our people from hardship and allows them to take more risks, to look for a new job or start a new venture. these are the policies i pursued here in the united states and with clear results. american businesses have created now 15 million new jobs. after the recession, the top 1% of americans were capturing more than 90% of income growth, but today that's down to about half. last year, poverty in this country fell at the fastest rate in nearly 50 years. and with further investment in
infrastructure and early childhood education and basic research, i'm confident that such progress will continue. so just as i pursue these measures here at home, so has the united states worked with many nations to curb the excesses of capitalism not to punish wealth but to prevent repeated crises that can destroy it. that's why we worked with other nations to create higher and clear standards for banking and taxation. because a society that asks less of oligarchs will rot from within. that's why we root out tracking es elicit dollars. because it's more by hard work and not the capacity to extort
and bribe. that's why we have trade agreements that raise trade standards and environmental standards so that the benefits are more broadly shared. and just as we benefit by combatting inequality within our countries, i believe advanced economies still need to do more to close the gap between rich and poor nations around the globe. this is difficult politically. it's difficult to spend on foreign assistance, but i do not believe this is charity. for the small fraction of what we spent at war in iraq, we could support institutions so that fragile states don't collapse in the first place and invest in emerging economies that become markets for our goods. it's not just the right thing to
do. it's the smart thing to do. and that's why we need to follow through on our efforts to combat climate change. if we don't act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations and cities submerged and nations displaced and food supplies decimated and conflicts born of despair. the paris agreement gives us a framework to act only if we scale our ambition and a sense of urgency about bringing the agreement into force and help poorer countries leapfrog the energy. so for the wealthiest countries, climate fund should only be the beginning. we need to invest in research and provide marketing incentives to develop new technologies and make these technologies accessible and affordable for poorer countries. and only then can we continue lifting all people up from poverty without condemning our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair.
so we need new models for the global marketplace. models that are inclusive and sustainable. and in the same way, models of governance that are inclusive and accountable to ordinary people. i recognize not every country in this hall is going to follow the same model of governance. i do not think that america can or should impose our system of government on other countries. but there appears to be a growing contest between authoritarianism and liberalism right now and i want everybody to understand, i am not neutral in that context. i believe in a liberal political order. an order built not just through elections and representative government but through respect for human rights and civil society and independent judiciaries and the rule of law.
i know some countries recognize the power of free markets reject the model of free societies. and perhaps those of us who have been promoting democracy feel somewhat discouraged since the end of the cold war because we've learned that liberal democracy will not just wash across the globe in a single wave. it turns out building accountable institutions is hard work, the work of generations, the gains are often fragile. sometimes, we take one step forward and then two steps back. in countries held together by borders drawn by colonial powers with ethnic enclaves and tribal divisions, politics and elections can sometimes appear to be a zero sum game. and so given the difficulty in
forging true democracy in the face of these pressures, it's no surprise that some argue the the future favors the strong man. a top-down model rather than strong democratic institutions. but i believe this thinking is wrong. i believe the road of true democracy remains the the better path. i believe that in the 21st century, economies can only grow to a certain point until they need to open up because entrepreneurs need to access information in order to invent. young people need a global education in order to thrive. independent media needs to check the abuses of power. without this evolution, ultimately, expectations of people will not be met.
suppression and stagnation will set in. and history shows that strong men are then left with two paths. permanent crackdown which sparks strife at home or scapegoating enemies abroad which can lead to war. now, i will admit, my belief that government serves the individual and not the other way around is shaped by america's story. our nation began with a promise of freedom that applied only to the few but because of our democratic constitution, because of our bill of rights, because of our ideas, ordinary people were able to organize and march and protest and ultimately, those ideals won out. opened doors for women and minorities and workers in ways
that made our economy more productive. and turned our diversity into a strength. that gave innovators the chance to transform every area of human endeavor, that made it possible for someone like me to be elected president of the united states. so yes, my views are shaped by the specific experiences of america but i do not think this story is unique to america. look at the transformation that's taken place in countries as different as japan and chile. botswana. the countries that succeeded are ones as which people feel they have a stake. in europe, the progress of those countries and the former soviet bloc that embraced democracies
stand in clear contrast to those that did not. after all, the people of ukraine did not take to the streets because of some plot imposed from abroad. they took to the streets because their leadership was for sale and they had no recourse. they demanded change because they saw life get better for people in the balltics and societies more democratic and open than their own. so those of us who believe in democracy, we need to speak out forcefully. because both the facts and history, i believe, are on our side. that doesn't mean democracies are without flaws. it does mean that the cure for what ails our democracy is greater engagement by our
citizens, not less. yes, in america, there is too much money in politics. too much entrenched partisanship, too little participation by citizens, in part because of a patchwork that makes it harder to vote. in europe, a well intentioned brussels often became too isolated from the normal push and pull of national politics. too often, in capitals, decision makers have forgotten that democracy needs to be driven by civic engagement from the bottom up, not governments and experts from the top-down. so these are real problems and as leaders of democratic governments make the case for dpoik democracy abroad, we better strive to set a better example at home. moreover, every country will
organize its government informed by centuries of history and the deeply held beliefs of its people. so i recognize that traditional society may value unity and cohesion more than a diverse country like my own which was founded upon what at the time was a radical idea, the idea of the liberty of individual endowed with certain god given rights but does not mean ordinary people in asia or africa or the middle east somehow prefer arbitrary rule that denies them a voice in the decisions that can save their lives. i believe that spirit is universal and if any of you doubt the universality of that desire, listen to those everywhere who call out for freedom and dignity and the opportunity to control their own lives.
this leads me to the third thing we need to do. we must reject any forms of fundamentalism or racism or a belief in ethnic superiority that makes our traditional identities irreconcilable wi. we need to respect tolerance from all human beings. that's a truism that global integration led to a collision of cultures. trade, migration, the internet, all of these things can challenge and unsettle our most cherished identities. we see liberal societies express opposition when women choose to cover themselves. we see protests responding to
western newspaper cartoons that caricature the prophet muhammad. and in a world that left the age of empire behind. we see russia attempting to recover lost glory through force. asian powers debate competing claims of history. and in europe, and the united states, you see people wrestle with concerns about immigration and changing demographics and suggesting that somehow, people who look different are corrupting the character of our countries. now, there's no easy answer for resolving all these social forces. and we must respect the meaning that people draw from their own traditions, from their religion, their ethnicity. from their sense of nationhood, but i do not believe progress is
possible if our desire to preserve our identities gives way to an impulse to dehumanize or dominate another group. if our religion leads us to persecute to those of another faith, if we jail or beat people who are gay, if our traditions lead us to prevent girls from going to school, if we discriminate on the basis of race or tribe or ethnicity, then the fragile bonds of civilization will fray. the world is too small. we are too packed together for us to be able to resort to those old ways of thinking. we see this mindset in too many parts of the middle east. there, so much of the collapse
and order is fueled because leaders saw legitimacy not because of policies or programs but by resorting to persecuting political opposition or demonizing other religious sects. by narrowing the public space to the mosque where in too many places, perversions of a great faith were l totolerated and th forces built up for years and now at work helping to fuel those serious tragic civil war and the evil menace of isil. the mindset of sectarianism and extremism and blood letting and retribution that has been taking place will not be quickly reversed. and if we are honest, we understand that no external power is going to be able to force different religious communities or ethnic communities to coexist for long.
but i do believe we have to be honest about the nature of these conflicts and our international community must continue to work with those who seek to build rather than to destroy. and there is a military component to that and it means being united and relentless and destroying networks like isil who show no respect for human life. but it also means that a place like syria where there's no ultimate military victory to be won, we're going to have to pursue the hard work of diplomacy that aims to stop the violence and deliver aid to those in need and support those who pursue a political settlement and can see those who are not like themselves as worthy of dignity and respect. across the regions conflicts, we have to insist to recognize a common humanity and that nations end proxy wars that fuel