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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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May 28, 2014 - 7:54 pm

President Obama told West Point graduates today that America has “a real stake, abiding self-interest, in making sure our children and our grandchildren grow up in a world where schoolgirls are not kidnapped, and where individuals are not slaughtered because of tribe or faith or political belief.”

“I believe that a world of greater freedom and tolerance is not only a moral imperative, it also helps keep us safe. But to say that we have an interest in pursuing peace and freedom beyond our borders is not to say that every problem has a military solution,” he added while outlining a foreign policy vision that he said found a happy medium between interventionism and isolationism.

“Since World War II, some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint, but from our willingness to rush into military adventures — without thinking through the consequences; without building international support and legitimacy for our action; without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required,” he said. “…Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.”

Still, Obama insisted that his “bottom line” is “America must always lead on the world stage.”

He said that the al-Qaeda threat is more diffuse than leaders centralized in the Af-Pak region, but drew the conclusion from this vast network of affiliates that the U.S. is under less of a threat.

“The need for a new strategy reflects the fact that today’s principal threat no longer comes from a centralized al-Qaeda leadership. Instead, it comes from decentralized al-Qaeda affiliates and extremists, many with agendas focused in countries where they operate. And this lessens the possibility of large-scale 9/11-style attacks against the homeland, but it heightens the danger of U.S. personnel overseas being attacked, as we saw in Benghazi,” Obama said.

The president said he’ll call upon Congress to support a new Counter-Terrorism Partnerships Fund “of up to $5 billion, which will allow us to train, build capacity, and facilitate partner countries on the front lines.”

“With the additional resources I’m announcing today, we will step up our efforts to support Syria’s neighbors: Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as they contend with refugees and confront terrorists working across Syria’s borders. I will work with Congress to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators,” he continued.

A senior administration official said on background that they “want to continue to increase the assistance that we provide to the Syrian opposition, but we do want to have this discussion with Congress about the potential for there to be a role for the U.S. military in that effort.”

“We have been very clear that we do provide military assistance to the Syrian opposition, the armed Syrian opposition. We don’t detail the specifics of that support,” the official said. “…So this is something that we have to work with Congress on going forward. But again, we are, as we said, providing military assistance to the Syrian opposition, and it’s something that will continue to be a focus given both the need to counter Assad but also to deal with the counterterrorism challenge within Syria.”

The White House was buoyed by the defense reauthorization bill that passed the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, which included authorization for the Pentagon to provide a broad range of aid including lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) warned “we should be very careful in considering approaches that could assist extremists in that conflict.”

“The situation in Syria is desperate and we should be constantly assessing it for threats to U.S. security, but I am concerned that sending American weapons and training into this crisis could be like pouring gas on a fire,” said Lee, who voted against passing the bill out of committee.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said the new Syria focus — more than three years after Bashar al-Assad first violently cracked down on peaceful protests against his rule — is welcome.

“This will require sustained U.S. engagement, which has been absent to date, but that this national security threat demands. Like elsewhere around the globe, the president has been late in responding to this crisis,” Royce said. “The Obama administration has consistently underestimated the threats we face: Iran, North Korea, al-Qaeda, and others.  In many corners of the globe, the world is growing more unstable, with a tide of militancy facing the United States and our allies. If these challenges are to be met, the president must explain the high stakes to the American people, which demands more than a yearly speech.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said he “appreciates” Obama’s intentions, “but the United States of America must act boldly as we confront a dangerous world.”

“And we must not only speak as if we are an exceptional nation – we must act like it. America has a unique place in the world as the global leader and stabilizing force. A coherent national security strategy requires a recognition of the world the way it is, and not the way we wish it were,” Rogers said. “America must confront not only a growing terrorist threat, but we are also seeing the rise of nation-state powers, like Russia and China, that seek to change the international order and undermine international institutions to their benefit. It is dangerous not to recognize the long-term threat to the global order posed by these developments.”

“Authoritarian regimes like Syria, Russia, Iran and North Korea don’t respond to words or threats about complying with international norms; they respond to actions and strength,” the chairman added. “I look forward to working with the president to help shape American’s national security policies to address these many threats.”

MORE: The Myth of ‘Core’ Al-Qaeda: Affiliate Leader Now Calling the Attacks

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Let's face it: Obama is an idiot.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
You two greatest exaggerations on the American political stage today are:

The American People are Smart and Barack Obama is highly intelligent...

Obama Says Wider al-Qaeda Network ‘Lessens the Possibility’ of 9/11-Style Attacks WTH?

Obama is not only grossly incompetent in every capacity including throwing a baseball. He's not just a poor student of history. This imbecile can't even remember recent history less that 13 years ago. It wasn't an army that brought down two towers. It was 19 'ordinarily dressed' jihadists.

It tortuous to think some of America's best at West Point had to sit through this narcissists dreck on graduation day. What an utter disgrace...
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
We're stronger when we're weaker.

We're safer when we're in more danger.

I tell the truth when I lie constantly.

I am the President.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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He wants to fund a wider network with the 5 Bil.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I wanted to hear about his pontificating I would have watched PMSnbc. There is nothing in this puff piece since it is basically a transcript. BFD. Was there a point in "writing" this or did you have a quota on publishing something? How about analyzing all the straw men he threw out there?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Knee Grow poleeze...............
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
To the conspiracy nut below, how did you ever get on the intellectual blog?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Either Obozo is a total incompetent or a shill for Islam, either way, our country suffers the dolt and possibly a traitor!
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
A complete fool who fails to learn from history. Thus he is bound to make the same mistakes all over.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am sorry sir. The 19 "terrorists" depicted on this horrible day were only patsy's and none died in any crash of any airplane. In fact, nobody at all died in an aircraft. Open air kerosene fires reaching maybe 1100 degrees fed by oxygen canisters aboard the aircraft in no way was even close enough to the 2175 degree melting point of grade 60 steel. As well no "aluminum beer cans" the aircraft did any damage whatsoever to the steel structure. Cordite cord was used to melt the columns in critical areas as seen as molten steel pouring out of the videos shot that day prior to the collapses. That as well was proved by testing on samples removed in secret by firemen. I have spoken to over 30 firemen who were there that day and all, all have told me explosives brought down all the buildings that day. Go to NY, ask them yourself, they will tell you if you can convince them you are not a troll. They tried to speak out early but lost their lives in some cases, their jobs and had family threatened in all the other cases. Please stop spreading rumors the government would have all believe. You may contact me anytime as I have a butt-load of info you are apparently do not have. To be a top commenter here, this site is compromised for sure and maybe you are a troll. If so, I am honored to right you. Honored to accept you and even in my home, better bring friends though!
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Give it a break Rosie,that one is TOO worn out.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"In fact, nobody at all died in an aircraft."

Come again? So the videotapes of airplanes crashing into the twin towers were what -- computer-generated? Or were those radio-controlled 747 drones? It was witnessed by thousands, dude. This claim is so ridiculous that I have to discount everything else that you might say. You talked to 30 NYC firefighters ... yeah, right.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't we already provide huge amounts of aid to Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, etc?

It's obvious to me -- Obama practically admitted it -- that if this fund is going to be administered by the current traitors in the executive branch, then it's ultimate purpose is to funnel as much money and weapons as possible to the terrorists themselves. Like we've been doing in Syria, and Libya, and Egypt (until the Islamicists were thrown out), and virtually every country that was part of the so-called Arab Spring. When it comes to recent events in the Muslim world, this administration has sided with our enemies and alienated our allies in every case. What does this tell you??
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am sorry
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dear Readers:

Remember always that our Nation's greater Problem is that the new demographic which elected this genus.Obamamus chameleon - twice - are not going to be going away. Our serious National Problems are just starting, and as the new demographic multiplies [literally], so will our National descent slope on the chart become steeper.

It may be to late to close our border with Mexico; on top of that we haven't even started to deal with our associated Problem of the already infiltrated and subversive Muslims hiding behind their U.S. student visa/residency permits, U.S. passports and whatnot

Remember that if 9-11-01....all those years ago....didn't wake us up and have us maintain an awareness of our Muslim enemy, what will?

The uneducable and the unemployable plus our penetrated Muslims simply are not going away. Throwing more taxpayer money at them only makes this new demographic hungrier for more handouts.

So, a pox has settled on both Houses.

When is our august Congress going to wake up?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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