Obama's Foreign Policy Speech
Barack Obama gives his first major foreign policy speech. Obama shows why he has better instincts than other presidential candidates.
We now know how badly this Administration squandered that opportunity. In 2002, I stated my opposition to the war in Iraq, not only because it was an unnecessary diversion from the struggle against the terrorists who attacked us on September 11th, but also because it was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the threats that 9/11 brought to light. I believed then, and believe now, that it was based on old ideologies and outdated strategies – a determination to fight a 21st century struggle with a 20th century mindset.
There is no doubt that the mistakes of the past six years have made our current task more difficult. World opinion has turned against us. And after all the lives lost and the billions of dollars spent, many Americans may find it tempting to turn inward, and cede our claim of leadership in world affairs.
I insist, however, that such an abandonment of our leadership is a mistake we must not make. America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America. We must neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission – we must lead the world, by deed and example.
The neoconservatives were overstating the Soviet Union nuclear stockpile in Team B. They didn't learn anything from their past mistakes. They used them as a blueprint for the Office of Special Plans. This is the Cold War thinking Obama is speaking of.
My problems with the Iraq invasion were the same as Obama. Iraq was easily defeated during Desert Storm. I just never saw the country as a major national security threat. The bogus links to Osama bin Laden were never believable. It made no sense to fight bin Laden in Iraq when the terrorist leader was still on the loose somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The Bush administration used weapons of mass destruction as a justification for invading Iraq. Which makes their hostility towards weapons inspections all the more hypocritical. Obama wishes to change that thinking.
We must lead by building a 21st century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people. We must lead by marshalling a global effort to stop the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. We must lead by building and strengthening the partnerships and alliances necessary to meet our common challenges and defeat our common threats.
Obama foreign policy goals.
1. Responsible end to this war in Iraq
2. Building 21st century military - adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.
3. Global effort to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
There are still about 50 tons of highly enriched uranium – some of it poorly secured – at civilian nuclear facilities in over forty countries around the world. In the former Soviet Union, there are still about 15,000 to 16,000 nuclear weapons and stockpiles of uranium and plutonium capable of making another 40,000 weapons scattered across 11 time zones. And people have already been caught trying to smuggle nuclear materials to sell them on the black market.
Obama also touched on world hunger and global warming. His foreign policy view is to lift people out of poverty. A noble goal, but I'm not sure Congress will grant him the economic aid he wants. I'm curious if debt relief is on the table. Obama sees fighting poverty has a way to combat the spread of terrorism.
They operate freely in the disaffected communities and disconnected corners of our interconnected world – the impoverished, weak and ungoverned states that have become the most fertile breeding grounds for transnational threats like terror and pandemic disease and the smuggling of deadly weapons.
Some of these terrorist recruits may have always been destined to take the path they did – accepting a tragically warped view of their religion in which God rewards the killing of innocents. But millions of young men and women have not.
It's a bold vision and certainly better than Hillary Clinton saying she voted to give Bush to power to authorize war on Iraq because she believes presidents should have that power. That isn't a foreign policy vision. That is a woman too used to the trappings of power.
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