Obama to outline case for a limited foreign policy

President will make case for limited approach during commencement address at West Point
Associated Press
May 25, 2014

Confronting critics of his foreign policy, President Barack Obama will soon outline a strategy for his final years in office that aims to avoid overreach as the second of the two wars he inherited comes to a close.

The president will make the case for that seemingly more limited approach during a commencement address Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The speech will come amid growing frustration in the White House with Republicans and other critics who contend that Obama has weakened America's standing around the world and faltered on problems across the Middle East and in Russia, China and elsewhere.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said the president had not yet finalized his decision and no announcement was expected while he is in Afghanistan. Rhodes spoke with reporters accompanying Obama on a surprise visit to U.S. troops serving in the closing months of the Afghanistan war.

Even so, Rhodes said, "You can expect to hear additional clarity from the president on his thinking on Afghanistan in the coming days." He mentioned the upcoming West Point speech.

"It's been two years since he's been able to get to Afghanistan, and he felt that it was very important for him to express directly to the troops his gratitude," Rhodes said.

Criticism over Obama has only mounted over the past year following Obama's decision to pull back a military strike in Syria and his inability to stop Russia from annexing territory from Ukraine. A White House official said Obama would specifically address both situations, as well as the status of ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The president is also expected to discuss how he views shifts in the counterterrorism threat from al-Qaida and other groups, according to the official, who insisted on anonymity to preview the president's speech.

Obama came into office vowing to end the lengthy American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and seeking to keep a war-weary nation out of unnecessary conflicts. The war in Iraq ended in the closing days of 2011 and the Afghan conflict will formally conclude later this year, though the White House is seeking to keep a smaller contingent of U.S. troops behind to train Afghan forces and conduct counterterrorism missions.

While Obama has followed through on his pledge to end America's wars, some foreign policy analysts argue that he has overcorrected, and his aversion to military action makes it harder for the U.S. to levy credible threats that force international foes to change their behavior.

"In a world where no one will lead except America, he has abdicated and surrendered much of the leadership," said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East adviser to Republican and Democratic administrations.

The White House official said Obama will argue that the U.S. remains the only nation capable of galvanizing action and will make the case that American power needs to be part of a sustainable international system. He will argue that his foreign policy philosophy is not isolationist, but rather "interventionist and internationalist," according to the official.

The president is expected to expand on remarks he made last month at a news conference in the Philippines, when the extent of his frustration with his critics boiled over. He specifically targeted those who are quick to call for U.S. military action, arguing that they had failed to learn the lessons of the Iraq war.

"Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?" he said. "And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?"

Yet Obama also cast his approach as one that "avoids errors" by being more limited in scope.

"You hit singles, you hit doubles," he said. "Every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run. "

Ahead of the president's speech, Obama's top advisers have been holding private meetings with congressional lawmakers to address their specific foreign policy concerns. However, the outreach appeared to accomplish little, according to some participants, with a Republican senator calling one meeting "bizarre" and another lawmaker saying the White House refused to provide specific answers to questions.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was among those who participated in the White House meetings. In an interview, he questioned how much Obama's speech can accomplish in shifting the way the White House's foreign policy approach is viewed.

"One of the problems with the White House is that they view speeches as foreign policy," Corker said. "They don't really follow through with much in the way of substance. It's always minimal."

The White House official said Obama will build on his remarks during an early June trip to Europe, where he'll give a speech about the U.S. commitment to the continent while in Poland and meet with Group of Seven leaders in Brussels. Obama's top foreign policy advisers, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and national security adviser Susan Rice, are also expected to follow the president's address with events of their own, according to the official.

 

Comments

bayshore

And what does this subject have to do with a commencement address? Six years and the guy still doesn't get it.

SamAdams

It's WEST POINT.

A better question might be to ask what Obama has to do with foreign policy, limited or otherwise? The gods know he doesn't have one now, nor apparently any clue as to how he might get one!

The Big Dog's back

So if he got into 2 illegal wars is that considered foreign policy?

KnuckleDragger

Two illegal wars that both Dems and Repubs overwhelmingly voted to support and continue to vote for funding to continue. Try again puppy, you're losing your edge.

coasterfan

Sam: Maybe we should ask Bin Laden what he thinks of Obama's foreign policy?

WeThePeople1965

Good idea, too bad he's dead, and I say that with a gulp.

KnuckleDragger

So Obama killed Bin Laden? I thought it was a Navy Seal? More revisionist history from the sock puppet himself. Still haven't figured out how to remove the anal probe I see.

jazzbo

Did Bush put on his little flight suit and fly around looking for Bin Laden?

(...when we were looking for him ?)

Dr. Information

Nobody said he did.

jazzbo

He most probably didn't.

Stop It

At least his wife didn't go mess up the one in Kansas.

bayshore

Only because the families of the graduates put a stop to it.

There you go again

Yep, Obama doesn't address our current scandal (VA hospitals) but tries to divert our attention to foreign policy. He has not resolved any scanda/problem yet-Benghazi, IRS, AP, immigration, etc. Sure, Mr. Obama, just keep running but, eventually, they will catch up with you.

KURTje

The next election for CIC will be interesting. Especially what the GOP will have to offer.

The Big Dog's back

They have nothing, nada, zilch to offer. Just the same old failed ideas.

I

Since the dims have declared the GOP the party of old white men, they will continue to push their "novelty" candidates, regardless of how unqualified they are, to be president. First, the black man, next, the woman, then, the Hispanic, followed by the gay, then, the transvestite, etc., etc., etc. Ability won't matter, as long as they can divide the country and accuse the other side of being racists, sexists, homophobes, bigots, whatever. Right?, Big Dog?

jazzbo

What qualifications did Bush have to become a president ?

I

Bush was governor of one of the largest states in the country, in both size and economy. He had also run a business. But, in case your not aware, Bush was elected and re-elected and not able to run again and, hence, has nothing to do with my comment.

jazzbo

Bush did a great job, didn't he ?
With all his qualifications and everything.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Care to cite this list and/or each claim it makes? I don't think you'll find too many who will hold up our last President as the best thing ever. I'm interested in you finding/creating the resume of our current President and the one who preceded Bush. Context for each would be wonderful to have. I look forward to your research.

jazzbo

Well, here's a little start :

http://politicalhumo...lbushresu...

George W.Bush (Dubya)

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Past WorkExperience

•Ran for congress and lost.
•Produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
•Bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas; company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
•Bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. Biggest move: Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox.
•With father's help (and his name) was elected Governor of Texas.

Accomplishmentsin Previous Positions

•Changed pollution laws for power and oil companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the Union.

•Replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog-ridden city in America. Cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

• Set record for most executions by any governor in American history.

•Became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of my father's appointments to the Supreme Court.

AccomplishmentsAs President

•Attacked and took over two countries.
•Spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
•Shattered record for biggest annual deficit in history.
•Set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
•Set all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
•First president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
•First president in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
•First year in office set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in U.S. history.
•After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
•Set the record for most campaign fundraising trips than any other president in U.S. history.
•In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their job.
•Cut unemployment benefits for more out of work Americans than any president in U.S. history.
•Set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
•Appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in U.S. history.
•Set the record for the least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.
•Signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any president in U.S. history.
•Presided over the biggest energy crises in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
•Presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
•Cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
•Set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
•Dissolved more international treaties than any president in U.S. history.
•My presidency is the most secretive and unaccountable of any in U.S. history.
•Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history (the 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleezza Rice, has an Exxon oil tanker named after her).
•First president in U.S. history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
•Presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
•First president in U.S. history to order a U.S. attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation.
•Created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
•Set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in U.S. history.
•First president in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the human rights commission.
•First president in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the elections monitoring board.
•Removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in U.S. history.
•Rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
•Withdrew from the World Court of Law.
•Refused to allow inspectors access to U.S. prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
•First president in U.S. history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. elections).
•All-time U.S. (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
•My biggest lifetime campaign contributor presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
•Spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in U.S. history.
•First president in U.S. history to unilaterally attack a sovereign nation against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
•First president to run and hide when the U.S. came under attack (and then lied saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)
•First U.S. president to establish a secret shadow government.
•Took the biggest world sympathy for the U.S. after 9/11, and in less than a year made the U.S. the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in U.S. and world history).
•With a policy of 'disengagement' created the most hostile Israeli-Palestine relations in at least 30 years.
•Fist U.S. president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
•First U.S. president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the U.S. than their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
•Changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
•Set all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated U.S. law by not selling huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
•Failed to fulfill my pledge to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive.'
•Failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capital building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
•In the 18 months following the 9/11 attacks I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in the history of the United States.
•Removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in U.S. history.
•In a little over two years created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided the U.S. has ever been since the Civil War.
•Entered office with the strongest economy in U.S. history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

Recordsand References

•At least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available)
•AWOL from National Guard and deserted the military during a time of war.
•Refuse to take drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
•All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my father's library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
•All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
•All minutes of meetings for any public corporation I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
•Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
•For personal references please speak to my daddy or uncle James Baker (they can be reached at their offices of the Carlyle Group for war-profiteering.)

Source: Kelley Kramer

I

And, yet, Bush will be viewed in history as a far better president than Obama...burns your buns, doesn't it! You should try to expand your sources of information to those that are not political humor websites and, maybe, work on that GW Bush infatuation. HE'S NOT PRESIDENT ANYMORE!!!

jazzbo

If an Obama hater , racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, whatever , like you , says it - hence it must be true.

I

Thanks, for making my point!

jazzbo

You're not real sharp at spotting sarcasm .

I

Actually, it's you who is not real sharp. My statement,"Ability won't matter, as long as they can divide the country and accuse the other side of being racists, sexists, homophobes, bigots, whatever.", was my point. Being the good dim that you obviously are, you followed the play book as you've been commanded. You're too easy!

jazzbo

No , actually and factually; it's YOU who is not real sharp.

Being the good Repub or Teapot that you are -- you are really not known as being honest or intelligent.

Shall we continue ?

I

Actually, I have pointed out how you are not real sharp. Factually, you have not shown me to be wrong. This is what I get for arguing with an unarmed sheep. We can continue when I'm done working or when you get up from your nap, whichever comes first.

jazzbo

This is fun - because you really are proving yourself to be unaware of what is going on.

Switch the channel from FOX and you might get better.

jazzbo

I--

Quoting you :
"...they (Democrats) will continue to push their "novelty" candidates, regardless of how unqualified they are, to be president. "

Do the names: Sarah Palin and Herman Cain ring a little bell in your head ? And I'm sure that the GOP will "push" Marco Rubio out there to capture the Hispanic vote in 2016.

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