BARACK Obama wants to shape a new “international order” in which the US co-operates with other nations and seeks long-term support by promoting its democratic values.
The US President’s weekend speech to cadets at the West Point military academy was practically a trial run for the national security policy he will announce this week.
Addressing graduates at the same venue he announced a 30,000 US troop increase for the Afghan war six months ago, Mr Obama said: “Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system.
“But America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of co-operation — we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don’t.”
His comments indicate he has not been dissuaded from his theme of engagement with other nations, including the Muslim world, despite threats to national security from two attempted terror attacks on US territory.
Mr Obama’s doctrine on national security is a marked contrast to the 2002 policy announced by George W. Bush, who endorsed the idea of “pre-emptive war” and a “distinctively American internationalism”. Consistent with his speeches last year to the UN in New York and to Islamic countries in Cairo, the US President is set to officially dump all hint of unilateralism in favour of building partnerships.
” We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation,” Mr Obama said. “We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by our side in Afghanistan and around the globe.”
While leading the US in two wars, Mr Obama expressed optimism about resolving the challenges of modern times, including countering the spread of nuclear weapons, violent extremism and insurgency. But he conceded that hard fighting lay ahead in Afghanistan and called for continued global support, saying the burdens of the 21st century “cannot fall on American shoulders alone”.
Mr Obama said the US campaign remained to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qa’ida as part of an international effort that was necessary and just.
“The threat will not go away soon, but let’s be clear: al-Qa’ida and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of the history. They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us. We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them.”
Brad Norington, Washington correspondent
May 24, 2010 12:00AM
Source: The Australian