WEST POINT, N.Y. -- President Obama on Saturday offered a glimpse of a new national security doctrine that distances his administration from George W. Bush's policy of preemptive war, emphasizing global institutions and America's role in promoting democratic values.
In a commencement speech to the graduating class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the president outlined his departure from what Bush had called a "distinctly American internationalism." Instead, Obama pledged to shape a new "international order" based on diplomacy and engagement.
"Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation," he said. "We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice -- so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don't."
That statement doesn't bother me as much as it does others. It's the continuing naiveté of what come next that bothers me.
To the men and women in the hall, many of whom are headed to Afghanistan because of the expansion of the war the president announced here six months ago, Obama pledged "the full support of a proud and grateful nation."
The president expressed confidence in the military's ability to succeed in Afghanistan. But he warned of a "tough fight" ahead as the United States helps the Afghan people rebuild civil institutions and a security system so they can battle the Taliban and other extremists on their own.
"We have brought hope to the Afghan people; now we must see that their country does not fall prey to our common enemies," Obama said."There will be difficult days ahead. But we will adapt, we will persist, and I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan."
In Iraq, he said, the United States is "poised" to end its combat operations this summer, leaving behind "an Iraq that provides no safe haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant."...
To be fair, Obama is simply restating the same dreamy and unrealistic goals and definitions of success set by the Bush Administration. Drudge reports that after tepid applause from cadets, the President cut the 'That's a lot of cheering' line from his prepared remarks.