News / USA

US Lawmakers React to Obama Speech at West Point

Sen. John McCain speaks during a forum with veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, May 9, 2014.
Sen. John McCain speaks during a forum with veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, May 9, 2014.
Michael Bowman
One of Barack Obama’s top congressional critics in foreign policy matters has responded forcefully to a speech in which the president mapped out his vision for U.S. engagement around the globe.

President Obama’s 2008 campaign opponent, Republican Senator John McCain, has repeatedly blasted what he sees as a lack of American resolve and action from Syria to Ukraine.  It was no surprise he criticized the president’s speech at the U.S. Military Academy in which Obama made a case for multilateralism and diplomacy first, with U.S. military force always at the ready.

McCain seemed to take personal umbrage at the president’s assertion that his critics are overly eager to see U.S. troops deployed around the world.  He spoke from his home state of Arizona, on Phoenix radio station KFYI, the Barry Young Show.

“None of us want to send troops to Syria, and for him [Obama] to continue to set up this straw man that all ‘interventionists’ want to send American troops everywhere - that is patently false,” he said.

McCain said, while deploying U.S. troops to Syria is not an option, the United States should be arming rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Republican senator was equally critical of Obama’s timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“We are now seeing a replay of Iraq in Afghanistan, and one can only question whether this whole basis was that he [Obama] would be able to say at the end of his term that troops are out of both countries.  And that is in disregard to, I think, to the future security of this country.  It is a very sad time, and now he is going to talk about counter-terrorism and other things that obviously are needed.  But the first thing the United States of America needs to regain is its credibility,” he said.

McCain said U.S. vacillation on the world stage will exact “heavy prices” in “American blood and treasure.”

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Ed Royce, had a similar reaction to the president’s speech.  In a statement, Royce said, “Too often, strong words have been followed by weak actions, or no actions.  The result has been a general loss of U.S. credibility, making successful foreign policy nearly impossible,” said the senator.

Democrats reacted more favorably to Obama’s address.  In a statement, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, said, “President Obama made a clear and strong case for American leadership in the 21st century and why the United States must remain engaged around the world ... By working with our partners around the world to promote freedom, prosperity, and opportunity, we also advance our own interests, creating stronger relationships to contribute to the global economy and project stability across regions.”

You May Like

Asian Stocks Plunge on Weak Factory Activity

Official survey finds China’s manufacturing sector contracted at its fastest pace in three years More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs