The President delivered a totally uninspiring speech to these new American warriors detailing just the opposite of what they wanted to hear. He talked down to America, deferring to the international community time and time again and, as a result he received tepid applause from a polite but uninspired audience.
The President included four main points which were supposed to establish his new policy for world affairs. Frankly, they appeared to leave holes as big as those found in a block of Swiss cheese. They included:
1. Where American core interests demand, we will use force. It sounds reasonable, but do we even know what Obama considers our core interests? Are they anything more than capitulating our strength in a dangerous world where those not our friends are consolidating more and more power through alliances?
2. We will focus more on decentralized terrorist groups since they are our biggest threat for the foreseeable future. The plan here is to partner with those countries who are facing internal terrorist issues and the President wants Congress to approve a $5B fund for providing the assistance they need to rid themselves of those elements. It sounds to me like more of the same where we fund groups which often don't share our values to do the dirty work for us. We have recently started recruiting internal terrorists to fight the government supported terrorists and in so doing create a situation where we are funding those who eventually turn against us. Look at Syria, where radical Islamic rebels are receiving our weaponry to use against Assad. Much of it is, in fact, being turned against the minority Christians instead. Will we be next?
3. We must strengthen our international institutions and alliances. I am assuming here the President is talking about organizations such as NATO and, of course, the UN. The problem here is that these organization are weak in willpower, excepting a few members such as Britain, and in the case of the UN the majority clearly oppose most of what America proposes. Of course, since the President has a penchant for criticizing America around the world, maybe he is more in tune with that sentiment than the interests of his own country. With diplomats like Samantha Power at the UN and John Kerry at State, we are now clearly pegged as weak and rudderless and the UN, well, the UN has done little to solve any worldwide problems and much to continue an endless debate leading to nowhere good.
4. His last point was to say that America will act on behalf of human dignity. On its surface this is a noble cause but we can't be all things to all people. Additionally, he was delivering this speech to a new group of warrior leaders, those who have been trained to kill people, destroy things and thereby win wars. Nowhere in his speech did he comment on America's triumphs as a nation or about winning, something which most presidents do when talking to Academy graduates, be they Army, Navy or Air Force. And by his recent weakness with Russia and in closing out both the Iraq and Afghan conflicts, both nations will end up in the loss column similar to the ending in Vietnam.
This was truly the kind of speech designed for the UN not the United States Military Academy and when he told the audience that they probably wouldn't be seeing any more wars that comment fell flat. While no one, not even our warriors want war, they do expect their country to always be ready to pursue evil and destroy it when necessary and there is much evil out there in the world.
Further, when he tried to tie their mission to Global Warming you could just feel the eyeballs rolling. And I know the graduates must have been thinking of the 9800 troops who will be left in Afghanistan to provide training support for a government that is clearly corrupt and does not appreciate us. I only hope our finest are not told that they cannot defend themselves or they will become cannon fodder for an untrained and corrupted native military force with an increasing reputation of killing those sent to help them.
In summing up the speech, I think the words of Mackubin Thomas Owens of the National Review puts the hammer squarely on the nail. He called the President's comments a "day late and a dollar short". Oh, I agree, but I would add that the result left those fine young men and women in the audience symbolically standing at the base of a newly constructed dam, knowing that the flood soon to come would be directed at them.
The President has once again shown that he doesn't have a clue about what the military was created for and what it is designed to do. God be with these young officers as they report to their first duty stations and may God keep them safe and secure. We are clearly not in the best of hands. God be with us as well.