US President Barack Obama farewell address in UNGA             

US President Barack Obama farewell address in UNGA             

UNITED NATIONS: (APP) Barack Obama used his farewell UN address Tuesday to castigate strongmen and populists, taking aim at Russia's Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump's rise at home.

Obama told the UN General Assembly that democracy was a better path toward prosperity than the "crude populism" that is mushrooming in the United States and around the world.

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"Some argue the future favors the strong man," Obama said, in remarks sure to echo on the 2016 US campaign trail. "I believe this thinking is wrong."

"History shows that strongmen are then left with two paths: Permanent crackdown, which sparks strife at home, or scapegoating enemies abroad, which can lead to war."

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Obama's comments come amid a scorched-earth campaign to succeed him, which has seen a wave of popular support for Republican Party nominee Trump, who holds far-right stances on immigration and national security.

"Our country has been weak. We're letting people in by the thousands and tens of thousands," the businessman said Monday, attacking Obama.

Obama challenged that thinking in his address at the UN, saying: "We have to open our hearts and do more to help refugees who are desperate for a home."

"We have to imagine what it would be like for our family, for our children if the unspeakable happened to us."

Obama admitted, however, that a "course correction" was needed to smooth the serrated edges of globalization and neutralize "alternative visions" promoted by populists and zealots.

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He had a more direct message for his Russian counterpart, accusing Putin -- who has invaded Ukraine and deployed forces to Syria -- of trying using the military to gain global clout.

"In a world that left the age of empire behind, we see Russia attempting to recover lost glory through force," Obama said.

Even as a Syrian ceasefire brokered by Washington and Moscow lay in tatters, Obama insisted diplomacy -- not force -- is the only way to end the brutal five-year conflict.

"There's no ultimate military victory to be won, we're going to have to pursue the hard work of the diplomacy that aims to stop the violence and deliver aid to those in need," Obama said.

On Monday the Syrian military declared the ceasefire over and 18 UN aid trucks were destroyed as they tried to bring relief to war-ravaged citizens near Aleppo.

Syria and Russia denied striking the convoy, with Moscow suggesting it may have caught fire.