Speaking for the first time to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama attempted to distance himself from the policies of his predecessor and pushed for more international cooperation.
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"Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside," Obama said, in a significant turnaround from the policies of President George W. Bush. "I admit that American has often been too selective in its promotion of democracy."
Each nation must find its own path, rooted in its own culture, Obama said, but lauded democracy as "essential." "Governments of the people and by the people are more likely to act in the broader interests of their own people, rather than the narrow interest of those in power," he said.
He also called for more cooperation across borders. "When our destiny is shared, power is not a zero-sum game ... The time has come for the walls to come down," he said.
He outlined four "pillars" on which countries must work together: nuclear non-proliferation, the pursuit of peace, environmental preservation and a strong global economy.