In the last 24 hours, both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden referred to a coming new world order with regard to the United States and its role abroad.
Wednesday while giving the commencement speech at the Air Force Academy, Biden told the cadets:
I believe we, and particularly you — your class — has an incredible window of opportunity to lead and shaping a new world order for the 21st century in a way consistent with American interests and a common interest.
Biden went on to argue that America should stay engaged in world affairs, but he likened the process of developing America’s role as it had at the end of World War II.
There was an overwhelming desire in your grandparents’ and my parents’ generation to bring home every single one of the 12 million forces that remained stationed in Europe and Asia. But the leaders of that day, they knew, that generation knew that America had to stay engaged. They knew that they had to lay the foundation for a new world order, a world order that brought the longest period of sustained peace in Europe and Asia and generated the most significant economic growth in the history of mankind.
Similarly, on Thursday President Barack Obama made a similar pitch. In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep he warned of a changing world order.
Partial transcript as follows (emphasis added):
INSKEEP: I want to begin this way. You’re here at this historic place, trying to speak with a sense of history. And I was thinking of past presidents that I know you have studied and commented on. And a couple came to mind who were able to express what they were trying to do in the world in about a sentence. Reagan wanted to roll back communism by whatever means. Lincoln has a famous letter in which he says, I would save the union by the shortest means under the Constitution. As you look at the moment of history that you occupy, do you think you can put into a sentence what you are trying to accomplish in the world?
OBAMA: I’m not sure I can do it in a sentence because we’re fortunate in many ways. We don’t face an existential crisis. We don’t face a civil war. We don’t face a Soviet Union that is trying to rally a bloc of countries and that could threaten our way of life. Instead, what we have is, as I say in the speech, this moment in which we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong economy that is getting stronger, no military peer that threatens us, no nation-state that anytime soon intends to go to war with us. But we have a world order that is changing very rapidly and that can generate diffuse threats, all of which we have to deal with.
Obama and Biden’s world order remarks come on the heels of the Obama’s announcement Tuesday that the United States would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by 2016. Wednesday in his foreign policy address at West Point, Obama emphasized a military pullback and deferment to international law for America in foreign affairs, which was drawn criticisms from all across the political spectrum.
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