President Obama didn't break any dramatic new ground in his address to the U.N. today, but he did set high goals and an optimistic tone for the year ahead. "The door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it," he said. "But the Iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment, and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program." He also set his sights on progress for Israel and Palestine, calling for Israel to extend the soon-to-expire moratorium on settlements in Palestinian territory (though the Israeli delegation was not in attendance at the speech — they reportedly skipped to celebrate Sukkot). Obama charged both sides with the responsibility of growing up:
"This time, we should draw upon the teachings of tolerance that lie at the heart of three great religions that see Jerusalem's soil as sacred. This time we should reach for what's best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations — an independent state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel."
Obama also declared that the world's economy has weathered the worst of the storm. "There is much to show for our efforts, even as there is much work to be done. The global economy has been pulled back from the brink of a depression, and is growing once more. We have resisted protectionism, and are exploring ways to expand trade and commerce among nations." America, he said, "has joined with nations around the world to spur growth and renewed demand that could restart job creation."
The operative word there being "could." Probably because of America's own current unemployment rate, Obama didn't spend too much time on this particular issue.
Transcript of Obama’s Remarks to the U.N. General Assembly [Washington Wire/WSJ]