West Point, NY- In his commencement address to the United States Military Academy, President Barack Obama made many broad remarks about his new foreign policy plan for the United States. While defending past foreign policy procedures he hinted at less global involvement, saying “to say that we have an interest in pursuing peace and freedom beyond our borders is not to say that every problem has a military solution.”
Obama expressed determination to find a balance between isolationism and interventionist practices. “At least since George Washington served as commander in chief, there have been those who warned against foreign entanglements that do not touch directly on our security or economic well-being,” said Obama. However, he continued that “it is absolutely true that in the 21st century, American isolationism is not an option. We don’t have a choice to ignore what happens beyond our borders. If nuclear materials are not secure, that poses a danger to American citizens.”
While declaring that the chances of a direct threat to the US are low, Obama remained adamant that terrorism continues to be a menace. He seeks to establish a $5 billion “terrorism partnership fund” that the White House said will train and equip other countries to fight terrorism. The fund would also be used to enact “expanded or enhanced DOD activities, such as Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Special Operations; and other activities,” according to a White House fact sheet.
Obama plans to cut military presence in Afghanistan down to 9,800 troops in December and slash that number in half 2015. His speech was filled with generalized statements such as:
“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.”
Despite reducing active military overseas and implying a humbler foreign policy, President Obama will continue the use of drone strikes. “Let me make one final point about our efforts against terrorism,” Obama said. “The partnerships I’ve described do not eliminate the need to take direct action when necessary to protect ourselves.”