I think President Obama's speech was in keeping with his basic strategic rationale from the start. He did announce the surge. Part of that was, I think, the military boxed him in. You remember [Gen.] Stan McChrystal leaked his recommendation. It became very difficult for a Democratic president to overturn it.
But Obama has started his presidency saying we are too committed overseas, we are too militarily engaged, we have too large a footprint, we've got to rebalance, we've got to focus on nation-building at home. We've got to focus on Asia. And he sounded all those themes.
It was a remarkable speech for an American president in the caution, the strategic emphasis, rather than the idealistic emphasis.
He says things like, "We must be as pragmatic as we are passionate, as strategic as we are resolute. People would have America overextend itself, confronting every evil that could be found abroad." This is reminiscent of a very different strain of America, in many ways, a strain that goes back before the Cold War.
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