Barack Obama called for the creation of a $5bn fund to back counter-terrorism efforts and unveiled more backing for moderate Syrian rebels as he laid out a vision that rests on the prudent use of military power.
Addressing the graduating class at the West Point military academy, the US president said “America must always lead on the world stage” but said it would only use its military might when “core interests” were under threat. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail,” he said.
Emphasising what has become one of the defining themes of his foreign policy outlook, he said he was focused on avoiding “costly mistakes”.
The president was speaking after a series of crises – from Ukraine to Syria to the South China Sea – raised questions at home and among allies about his decisiveness and about the direction of US foreign policy.
In what White House officials described as a new approach to fighting terrorism to reflect the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Mr Obama said the new counter terrorism fund would allow the US to “train, build capacity, and facilitate partner countries on the front lines and give us flexibility to fulfil different missions”. It would help form a “network of partnerships from south Asia to the Sahel”.
Terrorism still remained the biggest threat to the US, he said, but Washington needed new partners to help address the risks from al-Qaeda that have spread well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan and have become more “diffuse”.
Mr Obama also said the US would increase its military assistance to the moderate sections of the Syrian opposition fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad. A senior official said the White House would discuss with Congress a plan to allow the Pentagon to train and advise parts of the opposition. The initiative would probably enhance the training already being provided by the CIA.
After a senior official described Syria on Tuesday as primarily a “counter-terrorism challenge” – a reference to the presence of al-Qaeda sympathisers among the opposition – critics have suggested the administration was toning down its opposition to the Assad regime.
However, secretary of state John Kerry said yesterday that the regime was the root cause of terrorism in Syria. “The fact is that Assad is the greatest magnet for terrorists within the ungoverned spaces of Syria that you could imagine,” he said.
Mr Obama went some way to address allies’ uncertainties about the direction of his foreign policy, insisting the US was prepared to take unilateral military action “when the security of our allies is in danger”.
奥巴马在西点军校(West Point military academy)毕业典礼上发表演讲，称“美国必须永远在世界舞台上领头”，但他表示，美国将只有在“核心利益”受到威胁的情况下才会动用强大军力。他说：“不要只因为我们有最好的锤子就认为每个问题都是钉子。”