"The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest."
– Edward L. Bernays, The Engineering of Consent, 1947
We've seen this all before. A popular head-of-state addresses a crowd of diplomats and world leaders, speaking in vagueries and platitudes, expressing a desire to bring about peace and reconciliation, calling for international communication and cooperation. He signals out certain countries and warns of their intransigence and non-compliance, their disregard for international law, their threat to the rest of the world. He says nothing of his own nation's military aggression, its contempt for human rights and the lives of civilians, its support for dictatorships under the guise of promoting democracy. He defends his country's nuclear weapons agenda and encourages a racist solution to the situation in Israel and Palestine.
President Barack Obama, addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time yesterday morning, did all this. And no one walked out.