This will be Obama’s second address at the annual opening of the UN General Assembly. He is expected to reprise last year’s theme of a return of American leadership in multilateral affairs. Obama will review “what we have done to date in the first 20 months of this administration to renew American leadership,” says Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. Among the examples Obama will cite, Mr. Rhodes says, are the US role in strengthening the global economy, efforts to combat Al Qaeda, and the resumption of Middle East peace talks.
One world leader who won’t be applauding Obama’s reference to the peace process is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will follow Obama to the General Assembly podium later on Thursday. Mr. Ahmadinejad has spent the run-up to his appearance in New York – a city he evidently loves to visit, having last been there in May – predicting an early demise for the latest US-sponsored Mideast peace drive.