Obama Hints at National Security Plan in West Point Address

Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:03pm

President Barack Obama wants diplomacy to take a leading role in his administration’s new national security strategy, which he outlined in a speech Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

“We will need the renewed engagement of our diplomats, from grand capitals to dangerous outposts; and development experts who can support Afghan agriculture and help Africans build the capacity to feed themselves,” he said, according to the speech’s prepared text.

Speaking to the graduating class of cadets at the academy, Obama said that the threats of terrorism would continue and that the United States faces “a tough fight” in Afghanistan. Still, he added, “I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan.”

About the ongoing terrorist threat, Obama said, “Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us.”

Obama plans to unveil in greater detail in the coming week his broader national security strategy. But in a preview of that policy, Obama signaled that the United States will seek to strengthen its ties with longtime allies as well as forge “new partnerships and shape stronger international standards and institutions.”