In his eighth and last address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Barack Obama focused on the achievements made by the global community in its efforts to attain peace, and described the challenges we still faced. But as was endemic with the rest of his time as President, Obama neglected to focus on major issues that plague the international community – such as the increase in violence in Kashmir – and chose to address small gains – like the increase in the number of girls going to school in Afghanistan – instead of discussing the root causes of the problem, and how US efforts had been completely unhelpful in mitigating them.

President Obama’s second spell in the White House was supposed to result in the draw-down and eventual removal of US troops in Afghanistan, but the current spring offensive by the Afghan Taliban has only seen an increase in violence and the number of civilian deaths in the country. The Afghan security apparatus seems utterly incapable to handle this threat, and an Afghan government that may or may not still be standing by the next year has chosen to deflect criticism of this failure by pointing fingers at Pakistan.

The Syrian peace President Obama is looking for will forever remain elusive as long as world powers stay on opposite ends of the conflict. But it would be unfair to pin the blame for the failure to agree to a ceasefire solely on Russia, as Obama did in his speech. The US has made a lot of mistakes too, the latest being the accidental airstrike on Saturday that reportedly led to the deaths of 62 Syrian soldiers.

As the global hegemon, and judging by its interventionist policies ever since the end of the Cold War, one would think that America or the UN could take something positive away from issues such as instability in Afghanistan or the conflict in Syria. World powers choose to look the other way in the case of some of the major issues (Kashmir) while they set themselves against one another in others. Obama is right in pointing out that, “The mindset of sectarianism, and extremism, and bloodletting, and retribution that has been taking place will not be quickly reversed.” But maybe the international community needs to revisit its own policies in the Middle East and South Asia, and question whether their efforts to curtail extremism haven’t actually led to its rise. Hatred for the West is one of the terrorists’ best recruitment tools, and a possible change in the US’ and the rest of the Western world’s policies in tumultuous regions could lead to a positive change; the one President Obama and all of us are so desperately searching for.