Obama Proposes $5bn Anti-Terrorism Fund

President Barack Obama unveils a $5bn (3bn) fund to help countries tackle extremists, in a speech outlining his foreign policy doctrine.

Speaking at the Military Academy in West Point, New York, the US President said the planned US withdrawal from Afghanistan would enable it to focus on emerging threats from the Middle East and North Africa to South Asia.

He said he would ask Congress to support the establishment of theCounterterrorism Partnerships Fund to tackle such threats.

Mr Obama also laid out his argument that modern foreign policy should be rooted in diplomacy rather than intervention.

On American leadership, he said: “Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage.

“If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.

“But US 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.”

He said that the main threat to the US remains extremists.

“This leads to my second point,” he said. “For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism.

“But a strategy that involves invading every country that harbours terrorist networks is naive and unsustainable.”

Republicans have criticised Mr Obama’s plan, announced on Tuesday, for the US to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the war there formally ends later this year.

But he said on Wednesday the US had made much headway in Afghanistan against al Qaeda, and “sustaining this progress depends on the ability of Afghans to do the job”.

Sky News’ Hannah Thomas-Peter, who is at the West Pointspeech, said it is the first in a series of addresses designed to explain how the President views the future of US foreign policy in the aftermath of conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Critics have said America has lost face and influence in its dealings with Syria’s leader Bashar al Assad, who remains in power despite crossing Mr Obama’s self-proclaimed “red line” and using chemical weapons on his own people.

Opponents are also unhappy about Russian intervention in Ukraine, and China’s threats to its neighbours in the South China Sea.

Republicans in particular, feel that under Mr Obama’s stewardship America is becoming increasingly disengaged and is losing the capacity to influence global events.

28 May 2014 | 3:50 pm – Source: orange.co.uk

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