- Closing Guantanomo: "On my first day in office, I prohibited -- without exception or equivocation -- the use of torture by the United States of America. I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and we are doing the hard work of forging a framework to combat extremism within the rule of law."
- Withdrawing from Iraq: 'We have removed American combat brigades from Iraqi cities, and set a deadline of next August to remove all our combat brigades from Iraqi territory."
- Reductions in America's nuclear arsenal: "I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons."
- A new effort at Middle East Peace: "I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected."
- Global leadership against climate change: "To confront climate change, we have invested $80 billion in clean energy. We have substantially increased our fuel-efficiency standards. We have provided new incentives for conservation, launched an energy partnership across the Americas, and moved from a bystander to a leader in international climate negotiations."
- Action against the global recession: "We worked with the G20 nations to forge a coordinated international response of over $2 trillion in stimulus to bring the global economy back from the brink."
- A new respect for the United Nations: "We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. (Applause.) We have signed the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals. And we address our priorities here, in this institution -- for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and through the issues that I will discuss today."
Read the full speech here.
President Obama gave the speech on the day when the New York Times reported that the White House was reconsidering its strategy in Afghanistan. Vice President Joe Biden disagrees with US generals on the ground that more troops are needed. "Rather than trying to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban," the New York Times suggested, "American forces would concentrate on strikes against Qaeda cells, primarily in Pakistan, using special forces, Predator missile attacks and other surgical tactics."
It is not clear if the consideration of alternatives represents a real change of heart since Obama promised an Iraq-style troops surge or is a necessary exercise to reassure Democrats that all alternative options have been explored.