President Barack Obama reiterated Tuesday that America remains an "exceptional" nation, alluding indirectly to a recent New York Times editorial by Russian President Vladimir Putin that questioned America's unique nature on the world stage as tensions mounted over a possible military strike against Syria.
"The danger for the world is that the United States after a decade of war, is rightly concerned about issues back home," Obama said at a UN General Assembly meeting in New York. "Aware of the hostilities that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, they disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.
"I believe that such disengagement would be a mistake," Obama added. "I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe a world is better for it. Some may disagree, but I believe America is exceptional, in part because we have shown a willingness, to the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up, not only for our own interests, but for the interests of all."