America Must Not Be Afraid to Lead, Obama Says

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2011 — The les­son of Libya is that Amer­i­ca should not be afraid to lead, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said dur­ing a speech at the Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty here today.
The action to set up a no-fly zone and pro­tect the Libyan peo­ple from Moam­mar Gad­hafi says much about “the use of America’s mil­i­tary pow­er, and America’s broad­er lead­er­ship in the world, under my pres­i­den­cy,” Oba­ma said.

His respon­si­bil­i­ty as com­man­der in chief is to keep Amer­i­ca safe. No deci­sion, he said, weighs on him as heav­i­ly as when to deploy ser­vice­men and women. 

“I have made it clear that I will nev­er hes­i­tate to use our mil­i­tary swift­ly, deci­sive­ly, and uni­lat­er­al­ly when nec­es­sary to defend our peo­ple, our home­land, our allies and our core inter­ests,” he said. “That is why we are going after al-Qai­da wher­ev­er they seek a foothold. That is why we con­tin­ue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have end­ed our com­bat mis­sion in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country.” 

But there are times when even if the Unit­ed States is not direct­ly threat­ened, the val­ues and ideals of Amer­i­ca are, he said. 

“Some­times, the course of his­to­ry pos­es chal­lenges that threat­en our com­mon human­i­ty and com­mon secu­ri­ty – respond­ing to nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, for exam­ple; or pre­vent­ing geno­cide and keep­ing the peace; ensur­ing region­al secu­ri­ty, and main­tain­ing the flow of com­merce,” the pres­i­dent said. “These may not be America’s prob­lems alone, but they are impor­tant to us, and they are prob­lems worth solving.” 

Amer­i­ca should not be afraid to act, but the bur­den should­n’t rest on Amer­i­can shoul­ders alone. With Libya, the Unit­ed States mobi­lized for col­lec­tive action to enforce Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 1973. 

“Real lead­er­ship cre­ates the con­di­tions and coali­tions for oth­ers to step up as well; to work with allies and part­ners so that they bear their share of the bur­den and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the prin­ci­ples of jus­tice and human dig­ni­ty are upheld by all,” he said. “That’s the kind of lead­er­ship we have shown in Libya.” 

Amer­i­ca stand­ing by its val­ues is an impor­tant exam­ple to a part of the world under­go­ing incred­i­ble change. The peo­ple of the Mid­dle East and North Africa refuse to be denied their rights and oppor­tu­ni­ties any longer. 

“Yes, this change will make the world more com­pli­cat­ed for a time,” Oba­ma said. “Progress will be uneven, and change will come dif­fer­ent­ly in dif­fer­ent coun­tries. There are places, like Egypt, where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes. And there will be places, like Iran, where change is fierce­ly sup­pressed. The dark forces of civ­il con­flict and sec­tar­i­an war will have to be avert­ed, and dif­fi­cult polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic con­cerns addressed.” 

The Unit­ed States will not be able to dic­tate the pace and scope of this change, that is up to the peo­ple of the region. 

“But we can make a dif­fer­ence,” he said. “I believe that this move­ment of change can­not be turned back, and that we must stand along­side those who believe in the same core prin­ci­ples that have guid­ed us through many storms: our oppo­si­tion to vio­lence direct­ed against one’s own cit­i­zens; our sup­port for a set of uni­ver­sal rights, includ­ing the free­dom for peo­ple to express them­selves and choose their lead­ers; our sup­port for gov­ern­ments that are ulti­mate­ly respon­sive to the aspi­ra­tions of the people.” 

The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca was born in a rev­o­lu­tion. “We wel­come the fact that his­to­ry is on the move in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, and that young peo­ple are lead­ing the way,” he said. “Because wher­ev­er peo­ple long to be free, they will find a friend in the Unit­ed States. Ulti­mate­ly, it is that faith – those ideals – that are the true mea­sure of Amer­i­can leadership.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →