By Jueseppi B.
United States President Barack Obama spoke for more than half-an-hour on Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, and the biggest part of his speech was dedicated to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict over the strategic Crimean peninsula.
“Together we have isolated Russia politically, suspending it from the G8 nations and downgrading our bilateral ties,” Obama said. “Together we are imposing costs through sanctions that have left a mark . . . And if the Russian leadership stays on its current course, together we will ensure that this isolation deepens.”
POTUSA Obama set the stage for Wednesday’s speech before a predominately younger crowd at The Center for Fine Arts in the heart of Brussels by recalling Europe’s vast history where, he said, a now internationally-accepted set of ideals first emerged “through centuries of struggles, through war and enlighten, repression and revolution.”
Those ideals, he added, include “The belief that through conscious and free will each of us has the right to live as we chose,” and “The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be to protect that understanding.”
“Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power,” POTUSA Obama added, before later calling out Russia specifically for its recent annexation of Crimea.
“Once again,” he said later, “we are confronted with the belief among some that bigger nations can bully smaller ones to get their way. That recycled maxim that might, somehow, makes right. So I come here today to insist that we must never take for granted the progress that has been won here in Europe and advanced around the world, because the contest of ideas continues for your generation, and that’s what’s at stake in Ukraine today.”
The need to condemn Russia internationally, President Obama said, is not self-serving.
“To be honest, if we define our interests narrowly, if we applied a cold hearted calculus, we might decide to look the other way,” he said. “Our economy is not deeply integrated with Ukraine’s. Our people and our homeland face no direct threat from the invasion of Crimea. Our own borders are not threatened by Russia’s annexation. But that kind of casual indifference would ignore the lessons that are written in the cemeteries of this continent. It would allow the old way of doing things to regain a foothold in this young century. And that message would be heard not just in Europe, but in Asia and the Americas, in Africa and the Middle East. And the consequences that would arise from complacency are not abstractions.”
At the same time, though, the President did not defer allegations that his own country has acted hypocritically when it comes to Crimea following decades of US-led military operations overseas. The president specifically cited the Iraq War, and acknowledged that it was the subject of vigorous debate both in America and abroad.
“But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system,” he said. “We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead we ended our war, and left Iraq to it people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decision about its own future.”
“Of course, neither the US nor Europe are perfect in adherence to our ideals, nor do we claim to be the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong in the world—we are humans after all, and we face difficult decisions about how to exercise our power.” The difference, he decried, as that the US “welcome[s] the responsibilities that come with global leadership.”
“These Ukrainians rejected a government that was stealing from the people instead of serving them, and are reaching for the same ideals that allow us to be here today,” he added. “None of us know for certain what the coming days will bring in Ukraine, but I am confident that eventually those voices — those voices for human dignity and for opportunity and individual rights and rule of law — those voices ultimately will triumph.”
On Wednesday President Obama said that the interim Ukrainian government will continue to receive not just financial aid, but the backing in spirit of the US and its allies.
“That’s the question we all must answer: What kind of Europe, what kind of America, what kind of world will we leave behind? And I believe that if we all hold firm to our principles and are willing to back our beliefs with courage and resolve, then hope will ultimately overcome fear, and freedom will continue to triumph over tyranny. Because that is what forever stirs in the human heart,” he concluded his address.
President Obama Speaks To Europe
Published on Mar 26, 2014
President Barack Obama’s full address in Belgium about the importance of Europe staying united in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Remarks by President Obama, His Majesty King Philippe, and Prime Minister di Rupo of Belgium at Flanders Field Cemetery
Raw: Obama Honors American WWI Dead in Belgium
Published on Mar 26, 2014
President Barack Obama paid tribute to American troops who died a century ago in the struggle to save Europe in World War I. Obama laid a wreath at a memorial at Flanders Field in Belgium. (March 26)
President Obama Visits WW1 Battlefield Flanders Field
AFN: President Obama visits Flanders Field Cemetery in Belgium. President Obama visits Flanders Field Cemetery with Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo of Belgium and His Majesty King Phillipe to participate in a wreath laying and tour the grounds. Following the tour, the President, Prime Minister Di Rupo and His Majesty King Phillipe will deliver statements at Flanders Field Cemetery.
Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War I cemetery on the southeast edge of the town of Waregem, Belgium. This is the only American World War I cemetery in Belgium and 411 American servicemen are buried or commemorated there.
Press Conference by President Obama, European Council President Van Rompuy, and European Commission President Barroso
VIDEO: Ambasciata USA has been busy preparing for the President’s visit to Rome. Check it out
#ObamainItalia. Con il Presidente Obama per le strade di Roma…
Published on Mar 24, 2014
Tra pochi giorni, il Presidente Barack Obama sarà in visita ufficiale in Italia.
Prima dell’arrivo gli abbiamo fatto conoscere Roma… virtualmente!
E voi, cosa vorreste fargli conoscere dell’Italia?
Pubblicate una foto del luogo più bello della vostra città, magari un bel selfie! Utilizza l’hashtag #ObamainItalia, oppure mandaci il link in un commento qui sotto: ne faremo un album memorabile, con un ospite speciale!
President Obama travels to Rome, Italy and takes part in an arrival ceremony
On Thursday, the President will visit the Vatican where he will meet with His Holiness Pope Francis followed by a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Afterwards, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy at the Quirinal Palace. Later, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy at Villa Madama. In the evening, the President will tour the Colosseum and meet with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome.
- In the morning, President Obama has an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City
- President Obama participates in a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin
- In the afternoon, President Obama takes part in an arrival ceremony at Quirinale Palace
- President Obama participates in a meeting and working lunch with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
- President Obama participates in a meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy at Villa Madama
- President Obama participates in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy
- President Obama takes a tour of the Colosseum
- In the evening, President Obama meets with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, the Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome
- President Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. embassy
Participate in the President’s Trip