Addressing the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama spoke about the need to defeat extremism abroad–and cited racial tension in Ferguson, Missouri at home.
The president had just told the assembled delegates and heads of state of the need to confront terror groups like ISIS, as well as extremism within Muslim communities. Then, as if to anticipate criticism of the U.S., he said:
I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within our own borders. This is true. In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.
Criticism of the president’s use of Ferguson as an analogy to extremism elsewhere in the world came swiftly:
problem with bringing up Ferguson at the UnitedNations after talking about violent extremism is that it suggests they are morally equal.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 24, 2014
The Obama administration has repeatedly criticized the U.S. at the United Nations. In 2012, he told the General Assembly that the Benghazi terror attack had been inspired by an anti-Islamic YouTube video in the U.S. In 2010, the administration protested to the UN Human Rights Council about Arizona’s new immigration law.
While citing Ferguson as a pressing problem that might temper America’s international role, President Obama did not visit the town himself during the summer’s crisis over racial profiling and police violence. drawing some criticism from African-American leaders. Instead, as the protests raged, the president remained on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, playing golf and enjoying the company of America’s wealthy and well-connected elite.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak