La Stampa, Italy
Obama Struggling To Remain in Command
By Paolo Mastrolilli
Translated By Teresa Sorbera
29 May 2014
Edited by Gillian Palmer
Italy - La Stampa - Original Article (Italian)
The new U.S. "doctrine": anti-terrorism targeted attacks, invasions at a standstill and collaboration with allies.
The U.S. is not in decline — the world still needs the United States, which does not consider isolationism a viable option. Not all world problems, however, have a military solution; seeking a middle road between military retreat and war is a sign of strength and not weakness, which reinforces America’s leadership ability.
President Obama chose to give a speech before the West Point cadets in a bid to reassert his doctrine. His speech was directed to new army officers, with the aim of responding to critics who have accused him of having weakened the United States’ power and international image because the U.S. avoided the use of force in the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. Obama's May 28 speech outlined a comprehensive strategy in four points, which will be used to legitimize and guide his foreign policy agenda.
During his speech, Obama stated, "In fact, by most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics. So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come."
This being said, Obama went on, "It is absolutely true that in the 21st century, American isolationism is not an option. But to say that we have an interest in pursuing peace and freedom beyond our borders is not to say that every problem has a military solution. Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. But U.S. 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."
Using these principals as a foundation, Obama explained the four points of his strategy. First: If threatened directly, the United States will always use force, even unilateral force, but in other cases the United States will try to collaborate with other countries or find the solution to a conflict through diplomatic initiatives. Second: Terrorism remains the main danger, but it is naive to think that terrorism can be eradicated by invading all of the countries where it has taken root. The U.S. must instead build international partnerships to combat terrorism. To this end, Washington wishes to create a fund of $5 billion.
Third: The U.S. must strengthen world order through multilateral organizations and compliance with the law. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions." This approach is working in Ukraine with the isolation of Putin and in Iran with the negotiations over nuclear disarmament, and is also being used to curb Chinese aggression. Obama's ideas are not plausible after the NSA scandal — the gathering of data and surveillance must be regulated, which would eliminate the perception that everyone is being spied on.
Fourth: the U.S. must always act to protect the dignity and respect of human rights, not only in the pursuit of idealism, but because it is in the best interests of the nation. Democratic nations are the United States' best allies as they facilitate the functioning of markets and are less likely to go to war. A measure that Obama wants to resort to as little as possible because, as Eisenhower said, "War is mankind's most tragic and stupid folly."http://watchingamerica.com/News/240713/obama-struggling-to-remain-in-command/