Obama Is Not Alone In Laying Out Foreign Policy Agenda

In a speech to the graduating class at West Point, President Obama laid out his foreign policy principles, namely when the US would use military force.

“First, let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency:
The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our
core interests demand it — when our people are threatened, when our livelihoods
are at stake, when the security of our allies is in danger. In these
circumstances, we still need to ask tough questions about whether our actions
are proportional and effective and just. International opinion matters, but
America should never ask permission to protect our people, our homeland, or our
way of life,” Obama told graduates.

Pitched as a major foreign policy speech, his words and the principles expressed with those words did not receive universal applause from either conservatives, nor from liberals. Among foreign audiences, he received mixed reviews.

Obama is not the only head of state to lay out his foreign policy vision. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who delivered his first overseas speech focused on security policy during a recent visit to Europe, plans to “stress the importance of freedom and the rule of law in the region’s waters and skies,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

He also will speak to what he sees as Japan’s emerging role as a military power, particularly as a counterweight in the region to a more aggressive China.

But an editorial in The Japan Times cautioned Abe’s government about imprudent actions and using recent disputes with China to provoke the region’s largest military force.

“In this kind of situation, it is critical for government leaders in both countries to act prudently. In a speech he gave Sunday, Shigeru Ishiba, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, used the May 24 incidents and the recent spat between China and Vietnam over China’s oil drilling near the Paracel Islands as cases that justify the lifting of Japan’s ban on collective self-defense — conveniently ignoring the fact that Japan can adequately defend its territory under the current, long-standing interpretation of the Constitution’s Article 9. Such statements, which are aimed at promoting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s agenda, will only add to the tension between Tokyo and Beijing,” the editorial advises.

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