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

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora