Barack Obama has outlined his vision for the country’s foreign policy for the rest of his presidency, saying that the country will still lead, but will show more restraint before embarking on more military missions abroad.
In a speech on Wednesday, the US president insisted that his country’s reliance on diplomacy over military intervention was working to resolve global crises such as Ukraine and Iran, and he pledged to increase support for Syria’s opposition.
Speaking at the US military academy at West Point, New York, Obama said he had made the decision not to intervene militarily in Syria.
|Analysis: Phyllis Bennis, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington DC.|
“As president, I made a decision that we should not put American troops into the middle of this increasingly sectarian war, and I believe that is the right decision,” he said. “But that does not mean we shouldn’t help the Syrian people stand up against a dictator who bombs and starves his own people.”
Obama said the administration would work with Congress to increase support for groups who “offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators”. More resources would be given to Syrian neighbours Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq as well.
Obama called for joining countries where “terrorist networks” seek a foothold. That effort includes a new $5bn fund to help countries fight armed groups and to expand funding for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, special operations and other activities.
But he also said that he would continue to “take direct action” by ordering drone strikes and capture operations against suspected threats “when necessary to protect ourselves”.
The president had on Tuesday outlined a plan to withdraw all but 9,800 US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and the rest by 2016, ending more than a decade of US military engagement.
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(via Al Jazeera)