On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Barack Obama delivered his foreign policy speech at West Point, in which the President of the most powerful country in the world insisted “I am not weak” and argued for a contradictory foreign policy of American exceptionalism while he delegates authority to international coalitions.
Jonathan Topaz reports for Politico that editorial boards at three major U.S. newspapers criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy speech at West Point on May 28 as incomplete and failing to recognize America’s international standing.
- The New York Times editorial board, long supportive of Obama, wrote that his address “did not match the hype, was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors, on the right or the left.” Obama “provided little new insight into how he plans to lead in the next two years, and many still doubt that he fully appreciates the leverage the United States has even in a changing world.” The Times also continued its criticism of Obama on transparency on targeted killings and intelligence, saying his call for more transparency was “ludicrous” given the administration’s unwillingness to give “even minimal disclosures.”
- The Wall Street Journal, far more accustomed to criticizing the president on foreign policy, said Obama’s speech was marked less by what he said and more by what he left out — the pivot to Asia, relations with Russia, a defense of the administration’s Syria policy, a discussion of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and other issues. “We know that no foreign policy speech can cover the entire world. But listening to Mr. Obama trying to assemble a coherent foreign policy agenda from the record of the past five years was like watching Tom Hanks trying to survive in ‘Cast Away’: Whatever’s left from the wreckage will have to do.”
- The Washington Post editorial said Obama’s “binding of U.S. power places Mr. Obama at odds with every U.S. president since World War II. President Obama has retrenched U.S. global engagement in a way that has shaken the confidence of many U.S. allies and encouraged some adversaries. The Post also said Obama provided “scant comfort” to those concerned about his policies on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.
West Point cadets clearly were likewise underwhelmed.
Less than 25% of the cadets gave their Commander In Chief a standing ovation upon his introduction, which means 3 out of 4 cadets sat it out.