Obama Administration Unveils Foreign Policy Strategy Based On “Strategic Patience”

For months, critics on Capitol Hill and among the foreign policy community have accused the administration of being too slow to act in Syria, concerning the growing crisis in Ukraine and in the face of aggression from Russia, China and North Korea.

Today, National Security Adviser Susan Rice will deliver a speech at the Brookings Institution in which she outlines a new foreign policy. The speech can be viewed live here.

In a new foreign policy document, the White House counters that this was their plan all along.

The strategy document also calls for stopping “mass atrocities” and reaffirms America’s role in protecting civilians from genocidal regimes, which is not a separation from past policy and surely will invite criticism from those who note the Administration has a tendency not to act on its words.

In Nigeria, for example, Boko Haram extremists are slaughtering innocent civilians while the United States has held back from intervening.

“In some of the document’s strongest language, the administration warns that the U.S. ‘will exact an appropriate cost on transgressors’ who engage in aggression, proliferation of nuclear materials and other forms of unprovoked violence, according to Foreign Policy.

The National Security Strategy (NSS) is almost 30-pages, which is about half as long as the previous installment that was put forth in 2010.

“Besides its welcome brevity, the new version is less starry-eyed than its predecessor. It concedes, at least implicitly, how hard it can be to translate internationalist visions into reality. With only two years left, the administration unsurprisingly treats the new document as a vehicle to justify past choices and advocate for policy continuity,” says Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Patrick writes that the new document relies on old themes, such as “global integration is generating unprecedented threats as well as opportunities” and achieving the nation’s goals by leading “by action and example, cooperating with partners to reinforce a rules-based international order.”

The release of the NSS comes one day after President Barack Obama delivered a speech to the National Prayer Breakfast in which he compared radical Islam to the Christian Crusades and drew the wrath of some critics.

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith,” he said at the breakfast.


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