U.S President Barack Obama, who delivered his final State of the Union address early Wednesday, said that their foreign policy must be focused on the threats from Daesh and al Qaeda.
During his speech, Obama said that “our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL [Daesh] and al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world – in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia.”
“Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees. The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians,” he said.
This comes while the Daesh conflict threatens to re-engage the U.S in Iraq, while the number of troops in Afghanistan since Obama’s first term both sharply increased (during a policy called “the surge”) and sharply decreased.
While the U.S finished its combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 and Obama backtracked on his original plan to have only 1,000 troops – mainly for embassy security and training – after 2015.
But now about 5,500 troops will still be in the country when he leaves office in 2017.
“We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately weakens us. It’s the lesson of Vietnam, of Iraq — and we should have learned it by now, Obama said during his speech.
“Fortunately, there’s a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies; but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight,” he added.