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.

WeThePeople1965

No politician knows what they're doing. They run around in circles. We're doomed, and our children are going to inherit this. Sorry kiddos, some of us tried. (however, moving to some foreign stable, secure, country would be a good idea...)

AJ Oliver

Nothing "limited" about de-stabilizing Ukraine, Venezuela and others. Nothing "limited" about a military machine that is totally out of proportion to actual threats, and is bankrupting the country while children go hungry. AP is so awful on foreign affairs. On this Memorial Day weekend can we maybe not be such jingoistic war hawks? Every war that you cheer gets more kids brought home in body bags. Veterans for Peace has a better idea.

KnuckleDragger

Please AJ, tell us the percentage of the US budget that is consumed by our nations defense? You know that thing the Constitution mandates the government provide? Entitlements are what is bankrupting this country not the military you dolt. Still running around with the group (veterans for peace) that sees Hanoi Jane as a war hero I see.

The Big Dog's back

20% plus an additional 57% of discretional funding.

Contango

Defense spending as a percentage of U.S. GDP:

2009 - 4.6

2010 - 4.7

2011 - 4.6

2012 - 4.2

http://data.worldbank.org/indica...

Yea, let's watch as those liberal Reps and Senators suggest that the jobs and money that the Military Industrial Complex helps provide for their respective districts and states be eliminated.

Fromthe419

watch this video and it will give you some perspective on how large the military industrial complex is and who really runs things in this country...follow the money.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T...

coasterfan

The US spends more on Defense than the next 14 countries COMBINED. It's an obvious place to cut billions of $$$ in spending, but the GOP won't allow any cuts - even when the Army says "we don't NEED any more tanks". Until conservatives agree to cut spending on the military, any whining they do about the deficit doesn't hold much weight, does it?

Contango

Re: "Every war that you cheer,"

And Pres. Obama's wrong-headed policy and speech of a "targeted military strike" against Syria was what?

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pr...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Seems as if our Constitutional scholar/President also bemoans how our country was founded because it doesn't benefit his party which is not a majority of the population:

President Obama is taking a swipe at the Founding Fathers, blaming his inability to move his agenda on the “disadvantage” of having each state represented equally in the Senate.

At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night, Mr. Obama told a small group of wealthy supporters that there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and recapturing the House. One of those problems, he said, is the apportionment of two Senate seats to each state regardless of population.

“Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage,” Mr. Obama said.

The Founding Fathers decided in the “Great Compromise” in 1787 to apportion House seats based on population and give each state two seats in the Senate regardless of population. The solution was a compromise between large states and small states in a dispute that nearly dissolved the Constitutional Convention.

The president also blamed “demographics” for the inability of the Democratic Party to gain more power in Congress, saying Democrats “tend to congregate a little more densely” in cities such as New York and Chicago. He said it gives Republicans disproportional clout in Congress.
“So there are some structural reasons why, despite the fact that Republican ideas are largely rejected by the public, it’s still hard for us to break through,” Mr. Obama said.

He also said Democrats suffer from the “congenital disease” of not voting in midterm elections.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/n...
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Contango

Re: "At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night,"

I had read this too.

For a supposed "Constitutional scholar" it read extremely naive and childish.

SamAdams

If Obama is truly a "Constitutional scholar" (I tend to have doubts given that he's repeatedly misquoted or mistaken founding documents), it was only to learn enough to circumvent the law...

Contango

Re: "Constitutional scholar"

Again, two points:

WHERE are his academic papers? Every prof I knew 'worth their salt' wrote them.

2. As Editor of the Harvard Law Review, where are his scholarly articles?

http://www.americanthinker.com/2...

coasterfan

OMG, are these people really saying they don't think Obama is a Constitutional Law Professor and they doubt his academic credentials?

Let's see..we have Obama, who speaks eloquently, is obviously a well educated man, and they doubt he has a diploma.

Meanwhile, they have no problem accepting that George W. Bush - who rarely could put together an intelligent sentence - for whom entire books have been written about his mangling of the English Language - was a Yale grad.

Rolls eyes...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Which academic credentials? Did you get to see them or are they still sealed for some mysterious reason? Did you get to read any of his thesis papers?

I also see no mention let alone lauding of our last President by anyone but you. I sure never invoked him. That aside, don't you find it absurd that a purported Constitutional law professor would whine at a (using your term) 1% fundraiser that his political party isn't holding more power because of EQUAL REPRESENTATION?

The Big Dog's back

So when a right wingnut like yourself proposes to change the Constitution, term limits, etc. it's OK. But when the President suggests something it's going against our Founding Fathers? Good thing your way of thinking is dying off. Maybe then the country will move forward instead of "R" for reverse.

Contango

Pres. Obama: “Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage,”

Well duh!

What 'deep thinking' from the supposed "Constitutional scholar." :)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

When I propose a legal amendment to our Constitution it is in an effort to increase representation and participation by every legal adult in the country regardless of party affiliation (in some ways despite it). My wishes are to expand what the intentions of the Founders had originally in order to make this country better for everyone.

The President's suggestion was to whine that it is unfair the states have equal representation in the Senate because it hurts his party, a party which is not accounted for in the Constitution and hardly represents everyone in the nation and just as well doesn't promote participation.

Such petty, selfish simpering from our President is disappointing as is the fact he showed ankle at just how much he wants to consolidate power for the sole purpose of empowering his party. If he had his way it wouldn't even be several states that would control the entire country. As long as the top ten largest cities voted for him in a popular election then the entire rest of the country is made irrelevant.

That sure does seem fair that people from New York who have never tilled a pinch of soil in their life get to command the policy and finances of Kansas.

With ignorant and absurd comments like yours above that support this kind of thinking/blind power grab I can only fear for the country and increase my efforts to try to reach out to people and teach them more about issues like this. Maybe I should join the Democratic Party so you stop giving me half-thought rebuttals and just accept what I say as truth for the benefit of everyone? Would that help?

The Big Dog's back

Appointing Senators increases participation? Who knew?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Why yes, it does. Apparently you did not know. So now you do. Tell me, Big Dog, what's the difference between the House and the Senate if both are popularly elected? Where do the states, who gave birth to the Federal government, get their say? You see by a state's representation voting on Senators it means the states get a voice in Federal proceedings and the citizenry get a voice. Those two entities are what made the Federal government.

So, presuming you live in the area, our Senator would have been nominated by and/or voted on by Rep. Redfern. That means if our Senator messes up we can not only hold him accountable but those closer to us in geography and population. It is much easier to contact Mr. Redfern's office and ask him why he decided to support so-and-so than to contact so-and-so himself.

So not only is representation increased but so too is participation of the citizens as who they send to Columbus will affect who among them is sent to D.C. In turn the Senators, being elected by state legislature, can participate in state matters more almost making the office apolitical especially where term limits are concerned. The fact that a Senator can be removed by the state legislation and/or governor makes them more accountable to actually represent the state that sent them instead of colluding along party lines to do what's best for the party.

So there you go, Big Dog, and to top it off since a citizen of the state could be a Senator that means people with better resumes and not deeper donor pockets or political seniority can actually "compete" for the spot and the states get a better candidate.

The Big Dog's back

Do you really believe what you just wrote? Really?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yes. If you don't you are welcome to make lucid contradictions. Please, point out where I am wrong with your own thoughts. Or, if you copy and paste opinion pieces, at least cite from where you got it. So now that the ball is back in your court, kindly point out where I was incorrect in specificity.

Contango

Pres. Obama's approach to foreign policy tends to remind me of lines from "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

"Indiana: Meet me at Omar's. Be ready for me. I'm going after that truck.

Sallah: How?

Indiana: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go!"

The Big Dog's back

Of course you wouldn't know what "fluid" circumstances are.

Contango

Re: "'fluid' circumstances"

Like down the toilet?

Into his sixth year in the presidency and he's beginning a 'new and improved' foreign policy push?

So what the h*ll was he doing before?

AJ Oliver

Actually, there is a great deal of hidden "defense" (actually, it's offense) spending. The full cost is on the order of $ 1.3 TRILLION. I was sent to Vietnam by blatant lies, just as young folks were sent to Iraq - outrageous transparent lies. So now the GOP insists on greatly increase military spending while refusing to pay for the broken bodies & smashed spirits their wars have caused (many dems too). And BTW, one of the worst aspects of the jingoism that afflicts the country is that you don't see Iraqi's or Vietnamese as truly human. You can kill them by the millions without a second thought. That is the central evil of empire. Happy Memorial Day.

Steve P

Limited foreign policy for his very limited ability... Putin takes this guy to lunch every day on foreign policy and Obama pays to be schooled. Suck up to our enemies and turn on our backs on our friends, the Obama way.

jazzbo

Steve P-
Do you want Obama to get us into a war with Russia ?

Steve P

No, but I want him to stop the Russian expansion through tougher economical sanctions including banning all Russian goods or increased import tariffs, banning any American bank from doing business with any Russian company or their government, allow the Ukraine to become a NATO member and reconsider the missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.... Allowing a tyrant unchecked like Putin only causes more problems down the road.

The Big Dog's back

Forward Soviet pooh. When are you planning to move to Russia? palin can see Russia from her back porch.

Fromthe419

Pretty funny, but you do realize she never said that, it was Tina Fey on a SNL spoof.

Darwin's choice

That's all he's got! Just a lackey troll! He has to keep falling back on jokes to rationalize his alignment with the "joke" in the White House.

obama/fail

jazzbo

Steve P-

" Allowing a tyrant unchecked like Putin only causes more problems down the road."

We ARE "down the road."
Bush committed a bunch of failures with Russia to put us in the position we are now.

Steve P

Keep drinking the obzo Kool-Aid, President Bush had a deal in place for a missile defense system in Poland & the Czech Republic that both countries requested. Obama cancelled it without consulting either NATO allies to keep Czar Putin happy.

Contango

@ Steve P:

Let's also recall the Budapest Memorandum (1994).

"The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan."

Pres. Putin knows that Pres. Obama is a paper tiger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud...

jazzbo

Bush's screw ups with Russia helped put us were we are today.

How's your Kool-Aid ?

Steve P

Couldn't answer the question, typical far left wing democrapper, keep smoking the obzo wacky weed... Hillary Clinton now famous "rest button" with Russia, better known as bend over and grab your ankles U.S.

jazzbo

Steve P--

What question , brainiac ?

Like a typical right-wing nut , ya can't handle truth.

Bush's screwups helped put us in the situation we are in today.

Republican Kool Aid drinking, Bush idolizer.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

It’s just that B O is too busy waging war on the U.S to worry about foreign policy.

KURTje

Liked the 1rst paragraph of aforementioned article. Speaks volumes. Since I was a child have heard so many saying that other countries need to do more instead of US. Too bad we don't have mandatory draft. If more elected official's children had to shoulder weapons we would not have "rules of engagement." Glad we are out of Iraq.

AJ Oliver

Just to be clear this Memorial Day, the GOP is blocking health care and education benefits for vets - but they just love to jump in front of the parades. How anyone can vote for people like this is beyond me?

"In February, Senator McConnell blocked the Omnibus Veterans Spending bill from receiving an up-or-down vote in the U.S. Senate, preventing veterans from receiving expanded healthcare benefits, educational opportunities and access to job training programs. His excuse for blocking the bill was that it didn’t include unnecessary sanctions on Iran, which are totally unrelated to veterans’ benefits.

Providing adequate health care to our veterans shouldn’t be dependent on Republicans’ ability to insert unrelated saber-rattling provisions into spending bills – but with Senator McConnell in charge of Republicans’ strategy, this type of obstruction is all too common."

The Big Dog's back

The Repubs rely on fox news and rush to get their message across. They know right wingnuts won't look at who is blocking what and who is voting on what.

There you go again

And you rely on Sandusky Register to get your message across?!?!

downthemiddle

Obama expects the vets to pay for their war injuries.. he said that they knew what they were getting into...

Perhaps that's the reason the VA is such a mess.

Contango

Re: "In February, Senator McConnell blocked the Omnibus Veterans Spending bill from receiving an up-or-down vote in the U.S. Senate,"

Why was no credit given to the leftist website from which this copy and paste originated?

https://www.credomobilize.com/pe...

https://www.credomobilize.com/

The far more credible WP had another take:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl...

The Big Dog's back

Did or did not Repub Senators block the final vote? Who is the leader of Senate Repubs who blocked the final vote.

AJ Oliver

Contagion, again you have no respect for the truth, and not an ounce of courage or integrity (by not signing your name). That WP article confirms my argument - totally.

Contango

Re: "That WP article confirms my argument - totally"

Better read it again. "Iran" & Sen. McConnell are not mentioned.

Contango

Re: "Contagion, again you have no respect for the truth, and not an ounce of courage or integrity,"

“I do try to be civil here,"

- AJ Oliver, 5/22/2014

Talk about "integrity."

So how does the above post not make you out a liar?

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

I reckon signing one’s name doesn’t integrity make after all…

Contango

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

- Wm. Shakespeare

freespeech1

There are 67 bills sitting on Reids desk collecting dust that are for assisting with veterans affairs. Why are you not complaining about that? And I might add, while there are 67 bills sitting there Dingy Harry goes on vacation!! So much for caring about vets huh?

KURTje

AJ he is just a cranky oldster who has always ran from facts.

Contango

Re: "AJ (snip)"

Reality 10, kurtie - 20.

White Bigot

What do you expect from the worst president in the history of the US?