Today marks George W. Bush’s farewell address to the United Nations. Sadly, for his supporters, he wasn’t able to portray himself credibly as a great world leader — there is too much attention and concern over the US economic crisis and, according to a critical Iranian president, its effect on global markets.
Bush probably had hoped to focus in his speech to the annual General Assembly gathering of world leaders on joint efforts to convince Iran and North Korea to give up their nuclear programs as well as to promote his free trade agenda.
Instead he likely will be confronted by concerns about a $700 billion rescue for Wall Street. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is worried that this and other bailouts will reduce the ability of rich countries to aid the developing world.
Read Reuters’ report:
Instead, Bush used his address to finger Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. Other foreign leaders, however, kept focus on the economy.
From the BBC:
There is an unusual air of anxiety at the UN this year, BBC’s Bridget Kendall reports.
Leaders have been hastily rearranging meetings so that they can focus on the financial crisis.
African leaders are concerned that the crisis means less funding for fighting poverty.
Friction between Russia and the West, mounting violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and concerns over nuclear work in North Korea have all added to a sense of crisis, our correspondent says.
Opening the assembly, the UN Secretary General said the financial turmoil put at risk the achievement of the UN-agreed Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 to halve global poverty by 2015.
He also said the crisis demands a new approach with less “uncritical faith in the ‘magic’ of markets”.
“The global financial crisis endangers all our work — financing for development, social spending in rich nations and poor, the Millennium Development Goals,” he told world leaders.
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