WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama gave remarks at West Point, location of the United States Military Academy.
He applauded his own efforts to reduce the number of troops deployed across the world, but especially in the Middle East. Obama did not focus on the stagnant economy, where he said, “…Our nation was just beginning a long climb out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Obama also said that his administration has focused on, “a key source of American strength: a growing economy that can provide opportunity for everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility here at home.”
And, on point, he commended his administration for the hunt for terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, saying, “Osama bin Laden is no more.” He went on to cite George Washington, “At least since George Washington served as commander in chief, there have been those who warned against foreign entanglements that do not touch directly on our security or economic well-being.”
He tried to emphasize American exceptionalism:
“Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.”
Yet he rationalized, “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.”
Obama promised aid and support to the Syrian rebels against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, as well as praising his efforts in dealing with Ukraine and Russia in recent months.
A full transcript of his remarks can be found at The Washington Post.