President Obama Lays Out Foreign Policy Strategy to Combat 'Diffuse Threat' of Global Terrorism
During President Obama's commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday, he laid out his vision for foreign policy to combat the "diffuse threat" of terrorism across the globe.
Although he acknowledged that the U.S. faces a new set of terrorist threats in places like the Middle East and Africa, the president used a dovish tone to articulate his vision for America to avoid military misadventures abroad. He argued against the use of forceful military intervention as a solution to global affairs, and instead advocated for diplomacy as a tool of foreign policy.
According to him, the US should not use military force or off-shore strikes except when it is absolutely necessary to defend "core interests" or to "protect our people, our homeland, or our way of life," reports Vox.
He stated that "the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism," according to the New York Times. However, he stressed that "We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat; one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stirs up local resentments. We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us."
During the address, he also called on Congress to support the establishment of a Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, which is a $5 billion "terrorism partnership fund" that would help different countries fight against radical extremist groups.
"These resources will give us flexibility to fulfill different missions including training security forces in Yemen who have gone on the offensive against al Qaeda; supporting a multinational force to keep the peace in Somalia; working with European allies to train a functioning security force and border patrol in Libya; and facilitating French operations in Mali," said Obama, according to Time.
Obama said the fund would be used to funnel vital resources to help tackle fallout from the ongoing secretarian war in Syria over the last three years. As a result, extremist Islamist groups have settled in the country hoping to seize power while the regime of President Bashar Assad fights against opposition forces.
"With the additional resources I'm announcing today, we will step up our efforts to support Syria's neighbors-Jordan and Lebanon; Turkey and Iraq-as they host refugees, and confront terrorists working across Syrian borders," Obama said.
Obama also took time to dispute his critics who claim his diplomatic response to Syria's civil war and Russian aggression toward Ukraine has weaken America's leadership . Those critics, he said, are "either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics."
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