President Barack Obama walks through an honor cordon as he arrives for Commencement Exercises of the US Coast Guard Academy (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama gives the keynote address at commencement exercises at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. President Obama used the occasion to speak about the dangers of global warming to both America and international security
President Barack Obama and Ensign Mary Hazen strike a pose after she received her diploma at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduation
In a few more words, Obama’s address, grounded in a mature appreciation of our limits, called for multilateralism–diplomatically whenever possible, militarily if inescapable; it called, given al Qaeda’s fragmentation and dispersal, for global “partners” to suppress it; and, in a direct shot at his Republican critics, it called for a world-involved America that leads by example at home–not through climate-change denialism, or unratified treaties, or the obscenities of a Gitmo that the propagandists and paranoids won’t close.
Because Obama’s speech was so magnificently sane, let the carping and slander begin.
Underclassmen listen from the back of the stadium as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York
Gavin White, a West Point graduate who lost a leg in Afghanistan, is recognized by President Barack Obama during the commencement ceremonies for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
CNN: Obama Outlines Foreign Policy Vision Of “Might And Right”
President Barack Obama on Wednesday outlined a foreign policy vision of “might doing right,” arguing that modern pragmatism requires both a strong military and the diplomatic tools of alliances and sanctions to exert influence and provide global leadership. He told graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that after the nation’s “long season of war and divisions about how to move forward,” they now would represent America with the duty “not only to protect our country, but to do what is right and just.” “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” he said, referring to a tenet of conservative ideology.” But what makes us exceptional is not flouting international norms and the rule of law; it’s our willingness to affirm them through our actions,” Obama said in arguing that true leadership involves not only having the world’s most powerful military, but in doing the right thing.
"Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail." —President Obama on U.S. leadership in the world
“America must always lead on the world stage,” Obama said, and the military “always will be the backbone of that leadership,” but U.S. military action “cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.” In a sign of the sentiments of the cadets, Obama got big applause when he noted they were the first West Point graduates in more than a decade unlikely to be stationed in a war zone. Overall, Obama said, “America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world,” and he contended that “those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.” “The question we face — the question each of you will face — is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe,” Obama told the cadets.
"American influence is always stronger when we lead by example—we cannot exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else" —Obama
On Wednesday, Obama reiterated his policy that the United States will used military force, “unilaterally if necessary,” when its people are threatened, its livelihood is at stake or allies are in danger, but he said the threshold was higher when global issues “do not pose a direct threat” to the nation. “In such circumstances, we should not go it alone,” he said. “Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action. We have to broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development; sanctions, isolation; appeals to international law and — if just, necessary, and effective — multilateral military action.” Such a collective approach “is more likely to succeed, more likely to be sustained, and less likely to lead to costly mistakes,” Obama said.
‘Awaiting the midshipmen. Commander-in-chief trophy, Rose Garden’. Photo by PeteSouza
President Barack Obama listens as Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo speaks during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Navy linebacker Cody Peterson
US News: Obama Presents Commander-In-Chief Trophy To Navy Football Team At White House
President Barack Obama says the Navy football team not only had to overcome tough opponents to win the Commander-in-Chief trophy this year but a government shutdown as well. The military service academies had to suspend some sporting events last fall amid budget fights in Washington. But Obama says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel intervened to make sure Navy’s match against Air Force would go on. Obama joked as he accepted his commemorative jersey that he’s going to have enough to dress a whole team. Obama says that even more impressive than their football record is the Navy team’s commitment to its country.
Peter Nyong’o embraces sister Lupita Nyong’o after she wins the award for best actress in a supporting role for “12 Years a Slave”
Lupita Nyong’o, best supporting actress winner for her role in “12 years a Slave,” hugs the movie’s director Steve McQueen as actress Angelina Jolie and co-star and producer Brad Pitt look on at the 86th Academy Awards