Obama’s speech gets mixed response overseas

May 29, 2014 • World News

President Barack Obama talks with World War II veterans Sanders Matthews, Sr., born 1921, left, and Lewis Coffield, born 1918, both Buffalo Soldiers, at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., Wednesday, May 28, 2014, after delivering the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point. (AP Photo/Philip Kamrass)

LONDON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s speech emphasizing soft power and alliances over military might crystallized into a single speech what many experts said Wednesday was an inevitable — and welcome — evolution of U.S. foreign policy.

The president who pulled U.S. troops from Iraq, avoided direct confrontation in Syria and has tapered off the American military presence in Afghanistan seemed to be saying that the U.S. had learned that it cannot impose its will on the rest of the world, said David Livingstone, an expert in international security at London’s Chatham House. He said Obama’s words went against the “American instinct to go in hard with the military first” when crisis erupts.

“America has to be in sympathy with the world, and its leadership has been perceived to be unilateral,” he said after listening to Obama’s speech at West Point. He thought the president should have made it clear that it is impossible to assure the safety of every American.

In the Gulf state of Qatar, Brookings Center director Salman Shaikh saw the speech as a boost for consensus, but he said broke no new Login to read more

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