Obama To Defend ‘Passive’ Foreign Policy Vision

Barack Obama is expected to defend his vision for US foreign policy later, which has been criticised by many as being too passive.

The US President, speaking at the Military Academy in West Point, New York, will argue successful, modern foreign policy is rooted in diplomacy rather than intervention.

It comes a day after he announced the US will seek to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the war there formally ends later this year.

Mr Obama said America plans a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, just as his second and final term comes to a close.

The draw-down is dependent on Afghan leadership agreeing to a bilateral security agreement with the US.

Outgoing president Hamid Karzai has refused to do so, but US officials expect his successor will.

Speaking from the Rose Garden in the White House, Mr Obama said “the bottom line is it’s time to turn the page” on over a decade of conflict in the region.

“We have to recognise that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one.”

The West Point address is the first in a series of speeches 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.

Briefing reporters over the weekend, a White House official said: “You will hear the President discuss how the United States will use all the tools in our arsenal without over-reaching.

“He will lay out why the right policy is one that is both interventionist and internationalist, but not isolationist or unilateral.”

The official said Mr Obama will argue in favour of “an international system that is sustainable and enduring, and that can address challenges from traditional ones, like maritime and trade issues, to emerging ones, like climate change”.

28 May 2014 | 1:36 am – Source: orange.co.uk

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