Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” But for President Obama, those two ideas aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.
In his final speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama took the opposite approach to Franklin’s suggestion when he essentially called for a submission to world government. In his mind, giving up small freedoms to achieve international security is well worth the sacrifice.
The president said the world must focus on the promises the U.N. was founded on, and that is to “replace the ravages of war with cooperation” but the only way to realize that is for “nations like my own [to] accept constraints.” In that submission, Obama furthers, America is trading a bit of its freedoms for enhanced security. He said in full:
"We have to put our money where our mouths are. And we can only realize the promise of this institution’s founding to replace the ravages of war with cooperation if powerful nations like my own accept constraints. Sometimes I’m criticized in my own country for professing a belief in international norms and multilateral institutions, but I am convinced that in the long run giving up some freedom of action, not giving up our ability to protect ourselves or pursue our core interests but binding ourselves to international rules, over the long-term, enhances our security."
For anyone counting, Obama has 121 days, 7 hours, 3 minutes, and 42 seconds left in office. There's plenty of time to deal more damage to the foundations of our exceptional country, and he will do all he can to see it through.