"America Must Always Lead": President Obama Addresses West Point Graduates

05 West Point

Graduating cadets listen to President Barack Obama deliver the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point commencement ceremony at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y., May 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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This morning, President Obama traveled to West Point to congratulate the newest officers in the United States Army and to reflect on America's foreign policy agenda. In the President's remarks, he acknowledged that our world is changing with accelerating speed and that America must be equipped to respond to an increasingly dynamic environment.

It will be your generation's task to respond to this new world. The question we face; the question you will face; is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also to extend peace and prosperity around the globe.

The President spent most of his speech outlining his vision for how the United States, and our military, should lead in the years to come. The four elements of American leadership included:

  1. Using military force when our core interests are at stake or our people are threatened
  2. Shifting our counter-terrorism strategy by more effectively partnering with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold
  3. Continuing to strengthen and enforce international order through evolving our institutions, such as NATO and the United Nations
  4. Supporting democracy and human rights around the globe, not only as a matter of idealism, but one of national security

President Obama articulated that the United States is a global leader – a nation that "must always lead on the world stage."

Ultimately, global leadership requires us to see the world as it is, with all its danger and uncertainty. But American leadership also requires us to see the world as it should be – a place where the aspirations of individual human beings matter; where hopes and not just fears govern; where the truths written into our founding documents can steer the currents of history in the direction of justice. And we cannot do that without you.

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    West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Caslen briefs President Obama prior to the West Point commencement, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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  • 02 West Point

    President Obama touches the Marshall Plaque at Michie Stadium at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    President Obama participates in the commencement ceremony in Michie Stadium at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    President Obama delivers the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    Graduating cadets listen to President Obama deliver the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    Gavin White stands as President Obama names him in the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    President Obama delivers the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    Graduating cadets stand during the presentation of diplomas at the West Point commencement, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    President Obama greets graduating cadets in Michie Stadium at the West Point commencement, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    President Obama greets graduating cadets in Michie Stadium at the West Point commencement, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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    Graduates toss their hats at the close of the commencement ceremony at West Point, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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  • 12 West Point

    President Obama boards Marine One at the West Point landing zone for departure, May 28, 2014. (Official WH Photo by Pete Souza)

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Related Topics: Defense, Foreign Policy, New York
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