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Obama lays out new approach to foreign policy in second term - The Washington Post


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First he says we need non military options...

Obama stressed the importance of nonmilitary options in addressing the world’s challenges, as well as collective international action. Coming more than six years into a presidency devoted to winding down the wars, the speech featured a firm defense of his administration’s handling of foreign crises — including those in Nigeria, Syria and Ukraine — and a suggestion that many critics are out of step with a nation tired from 13 years of war.

“Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead,” Obama said. “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 the primary — component of our leadership in every instance.”

Then he implies we're ready to take extra action in Syria...

Critics have charged that the administration has not projected a clear and strong response to the Russian invasion of Crimea, Syria’s use of chemical weapons and a terrorist group’s abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria.

In response, Obama called on Congress to support a new $5 billion “Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund” to respond to evolving terrorist threats around the world, emphasizing that “for the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism.”

One critical focus of the effort, he said, would be the crisis in Syria, where three years of civil war have left more than 150,000 people dead and much of the country in ruins. White House officials said the additional resources would allow the United States to step up efforts to support countries bordering Syria, which have had to take in refugees and confront terrorists, and to help train and support rebel forces fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

“The partnership I’ve described does not eliminate the need to take direct action when necessary to protect ourselves,” Obama warned. “When we have actionable intelligence, that’s what we do.”

But he said direct actions must conform with U.S. values. “That means taking strikes only when we face a continuing, imminent threat, and only where there is near certainty of no civilian casualties,” he said. “For our actions should meet a simple test: We must not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield.”

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