President Obama Confronts Russia, China and Iran In Speech to UN

The president outlined threats against the world for the General Assembly.

Obama then called on Russia to ease tensions in the conflict in Ukraine, explaining “the world cannot stand by” as Russia looks to assert its influence across sovereign borders.

“The United States makes no claim on territory there,” Obama said. “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.”

Obama also took time to acknowledge past U.S. mistakes in involvement in historical conflicts, pointing to both Iraq and Libya as lessons learned, while defending use of military action against ISIS.

He then suggested an avenue of cooperation with Iran and Russia to bring peace to Syria, but only if the two countries support the removal of Assad from power.

"Assad and his allies cannot simply pacify the broad majority of a population who have been brutalized by chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing," Obama said. "Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required and that fighting will ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader.”

With Cuban President Raul Castro looking on, President Obama also hailed the warming of relations between the United States and Cuba, generating overwhelming applause from the audience as he expressed his belief that the embargo against the nation should be lifted.

“To move forward in this era,” Obama said, “you have to be strong enough to acknowledge that what you’re doing is not working.”