(West Point, NY) -- President Obama is vigorously defending his foreign policy. Giving the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the President said the landscape is changing.
Graduating cadets cheered when Obama told them that they are the first class since 9-11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. He argued that the U.S. must devote more attention to domestic priorities after more than a decade of war. The President challenged foreign policy critics who suggest America is "in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away." Obama said those critics are either misreading history or are engaged in partisan politics.
The President insisted that the U.S. has "rarely been stronger, relative to the rest of the world." He called America the world's most indispensable nation, the place most other nations turn to in times of crisis. Obama warned against isolationism and said the U.S. cannot ignore emerging threats in other parts of the world. He said the U.S. must always lead on the world stage, adding, quote, "If we don't, no one else will." Obama expressed a firm belief in American exceptionalism but said the U.S. must never flout international norms and the rule of law. The President proposed a new five-billion dollar fund effort to work with partner nations on counterterrorism efforts and said U.S. drone strikes must only be conducted where there is near certainty of no civilian casualties. He added, quote, "We must not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield."
President Obama gave graduates at West Point something to cheer about.
Obama says some people believe the United States has lost its luster on the world stage.
Obama challenged foreign policy critics who suggest America is "in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away."
Obama says the U.S. is refocused on domestic priorities after more than a decade of war.
Obama says America is the place most other nations turn to in times of crisis.
Obama says some people believe the U.S. must stay away from foreign conflicts not affecting us.
Obama says the U.S. must set an example for the rest of the world.
Obama says the war on terror is far from over.
Obama says in using drones for terrorism strikes, they must uphold American values.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden told U.S. Air Force Academy graduates the country must decide when to act independently and when to join others and fight for a common purpose. He addressed about one-thousand graduates at the Academy Wednesday.
Biden's comments in Falcon Stadium were similar to ones President Obama made earlier in the day while at West Point's graduation. The Vice President urged the cadets to develop a "new world order for the 21st century" that would seek human rights, as well as free trade and the end of oppression and poverty. Thousands of people in the audience packed Falcon Stadium.
The U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ends on a high note with cheers and the roar of the Air Force Thunderbirds flying in F-16 fighters.