President Obama’s West Point commencement speech was not a speech I would expect a Nobel Peace Prize recipient to make. It was a speech Martin Luther King Jr. would not make, and it certainly does not compete with John F. Kennedy’s American University commencement speech of June 10, 1963.
It’s tricky for the President as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces as well as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize to reconcile his responsibilities to both within the realities of today’s world -- particularly to one thousand and two cadet warriors at heart.
However, it was not a “Forked-Tongue” speech, either, as Kevin McCullough in his article, “Forked-Tongue-In-Chief at West Point,” called it.
McCullough wrote, “President Fork-Tongue spoke of his intent to shape a new ‘international order’ as it pertained to a strategy to keep America secure. Implying in his speech that America should not claim the mantle, nor the right of self-protection or self-responsibility.” He continued by quoting the President, “He [Obama] also referred to America's minimal role in ‘promoting democratic values around the world.’" However, I could not find that exact quoted phrase in the President’s speech.
What the President did say, “And so a fundamental part of our strategy for our security has to be America's support for those universal rights that formed the creed of our founding. And we will promote these values [‘that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’] above all by living them -- through our fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution, even when it's hard; even when we're being attacked; even when we're in the midst of war.”
President Obama did say that America seeks an “international order,” but he did not imply America should not claim the mantle, nor the right of self-protection or self-responsibility. This conjecture is solely that of McCullough.
McCullough wrote, “…scrutiny at Obama's minimalist involvement in world affairs demonstrates the exact opposite [countering violent extremism and insurgency] because “Instead of countering violent terrorists, he's [Obama] permitted them to commit attacks against U.S. citizens on American soil six times since his inauguration.”
He is correct. There have been six terrorist attacks in our country on President Obama’s watch. What he does not say is that there were twenty-five attacks during President Bush’s watch, permitting (a word McCullough chose to use), most serious of them all, the horrific attacks of 9/11.
McCullough said that Obama has made overtures that he will not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; that Obama mocked those who did not hold global warming to be truth; that instead of sustaining global growth, his economic policies have actually worsened the outlook for the American markets, and the global economy; that instead of helping other nations become self sufficient, he has taken punitive action against allies like Israel, and played footsies with nations like North Korea.
President Obama has never said that he would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, nor did he ever mock those who did not believe in global warming.
As far as President Obama’s economic policies are concerned, it’s a matter of speculation, since we just simply do not know what would have happened if he did something else or nothing at all.
For McCullough to criticize Obama on taken a firmer stance with Israel than others have historically done and because he is willing to chance negotiation and diplomacy over belligerency or war with North Korea, to me, is simply unacceptable. It is what I would expect of a President who is trying to achieve peaceful outcomes.
To Obama’s statement, "America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation... but by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice," McCullough said the President was either “ignorant or purposefully misrepresentative.” He said, “To be clear, America has more often than not primarily succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation, leading the charge to form new coalitions, and when necessary going it alone out of a resolve to do so because of the moral demands placed upon us as the greatest nation on this planet.”
What makes us McCullough’s “greatest nation on this planet” is simply our firepower, our military machine. With few exceptions, we have “not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation.” We did lead the charge in forming coalitions in some instances, but that is just simply a matter of protocol.
McCullough says, “But behind the mask of attempting to sound moderate, reasonable, clean and articulate (Biden's favorite qualities) lies a shadow of his meaning that may sound like something on the surface and to most ears who hear, but mean something completely different to the President himself.”
“He is misguided at best, or a deceptive traitor at worst...”
A right-wing reader made a comment on one of my posts, which said, “When the left cannot win an argument with fact, they rely on supposition and innuendo.”
Conversely, McCullough’s (obviously a right-winger) conjecture is simply that: supposition and innuendo.