Obama to lay out foreign policy approach in speech at West Point
May 25th, 2014
09:07 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama to lay out foreign policy approach in speech at West Point

Washington (CNN) - Eager to respond to criticism of his foreign policy approach to recent crises, from Syria to Ukraine, President Barack Obama will lay out his vision on Wednesday at the commencement at West Point for how the United States should apply force around the world.

"You will hear the President discuss how the United States will use all the tools in our arsenal without over-reaching," a White House official said.

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"There’s a lot at stake and now is the right time for this speech," the official added, noting a long period of war in both in Iraq and Afghanistan is now coming to an end.

Top administration officials have begun preparing members of Congress for the President's remarks.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday to review some of the goals that will be laid out in Obama's foreign policy address.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, later described the meeting as "bizarre."

Obama was met with stinging criticism of his foreign policy following a trip to Asia last month. The President, who has carefully avoided any sort of military confrontation in his responses to challenges in Syria and Ukraine, hit back at his critics, saying his aim is to avoid costly "errors" on the world stage.

"You hit singles, you hit doubles. Every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run,” Obama said at a news conference in the Philippines.

"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?" Obama added. "And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?"

Much of the criticism of the President's foreign policy began last year after Obama decided against using military force in Syria after the United States concluded that Syrian forces had crossed a "red line" he had drawn against the use of chemical weapons.

At a news conference in Tokyo during his trip to Asia, Obama pointed to his ability to force Syria to surrender much of its chemical weapon arsenal without U.S. air strikes.

“That is a consequence of U.S. leadership. The fact that we didn’t have to fire a missile to get that accomplished is not a failure to uphold international norms, it’s a success,” Obama said in Tokyo.

The President's speech at West Point will begin a larger foreign policy push that will carry into his upcoming trip to Europe, that includes a G-7 summit in Brussels and a visit to Poland, which is designed to reassure Eastern European allies after Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

"He will lay out why the right policy is one that is both interventionist and internationalist, but not isolationist or unilateral," a White House official said.

Filed under: Foreign Policy • Military • President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Ed Goering

    I feel the world has grew to a point our forefathers didnt forsee. We need less litagation Smaller goverment.

    May 26, 2014 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
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