Obama announces future foreign policy at West Point
30 mayo, 2014
On May 28th, President Barack Obama spoke at the United States Military Academy at West Point to define America’s doctrine on foreign policy.
Obama started his intervention by congratulating the newest officers in the United States Army. He pointed out that this year’s graduates are the first class who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan since 9/11. Things have changed since he first spoke at West Point in 2009. At that time, more than 100,000 troops were deployed in Iraq, they were preparing an invasion to Afghanistan, they were trying to fight terrorism and America was just starting to enter one of its biggest economic crises.
Furthermore, this speech is the closest Obama has been to defining his foreign policy doctrine. Obama mentions how the world is changing rapidly, how Americans must adapt to the new situations and shift from military-interventionism to collective action and diplomacy. “U.S. military action cannot be the only – or even primary – component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail” He also explained that the U.S. and it’s important role in the international system is not in decline, on the contrary, he describes America as “the one indispensable nation” which the world looks to for help.
Regarding the use of military force, U.S. president insisted that America should never ask for permission to protect its citizens or its homeland. The U.S.A. will use military force if it’s in the interest of the country, Americans are threatened or its allies are in danger. He added that in the rest of the cases, U.S.A. will always look for other ways to solve issues such as international law, diplomacy or sanctions and isolation, for instance, the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Moreover, he defended his decision not to intervene in Syria and he offered support to Syria’s neighbours who are the hosts of thousands of refugees.
Unlike other speeches, this one was characterized by its foreign policy announcements. For instance, he is going to ask the Congress to support a new $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that will be used to help and assist partner countries (such as Yemen or Mali) on the front lines. In addition, Obama announced that American presence in Afghanistan will be reduced by the end of 2016.
Obama also highlighted some aspects of the environment and climate change.He thinks that climate change is a national security threat, so it must be combated as such. U.S.A. plans to develop a treaty during the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate. “That spirit of cooperation must energize the global effort to combat climate change – a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform, as we’re called on to respond to refugee flows, natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food,” Obama said. He emphasized the threat posed by the development of technology and globalization, saying that they have “put power once reserved for states in the hands of the individual, raising the capacity of terrorists to do harm.”
U.S. is nowadays a reference and the entity to which any state or any region goes to ask for help or advice. Military forces are and will be very important for the president and the citizens of the U.S in order to maintain the peace and the stability of the country.