In a broad defense of his foreign policy, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that the U.S. remains the world's most indispensable nation, even after a "long season of war," but argued for restraint before embarking on more military adventures.
Standing before the newest class of officers graduating from the U.S. Military Academy, Obama said, "I would betray my duty to you, and to the country we love, if I sent you into harm's way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed fixing, or because I was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak."
Obama's speech signaled a concerted effort by the White House to push back against those critics, who contend that the president's approach to global problems has been too cautious and has emboldened adversaries in Syria, Russia and China. It's a criticism that deeply frustrates the president and his advisers, who say Obama's efforts to keep the U.S. out of more military conflicts are in line with the views of the American public.
In a direct challenge to his critics, Obama declared: "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it's our willingness to affirm them through our actions."
International security expert Jim Walsh discusses the president's speech with Here & Now's Robin Young.
This segment aired on May 28, 2014.