That military options are always on the table, but never the first option until no better options are available. With the developed and responsible world acting together and many times that is America and Europe we can end the conflict in Syria both with the Syrian dictatorship there and the fight against ISIS. Not by invading Syria and attempting to occupy another country about the size of California. But working with Turkey, Kurdistan and Iraq, to defeat ISIS there and get Bashar Al-Assad out of power there and hopefully install a responsible transitional government there with Syrians governing their own country. Instead of the Arab League, or United Nations, European Union, or even United States trying to do that for them.
Liberal internationalism which is what President Obama was advocating for in this speech is not about being a hawk at least not in the neoconservative sense. Or being a dove in the social democratic sense, but being smart with all of your available resources that you have including your allies. What Hillary Clinton and others call Smart Power where you’re strong not so you are strong enough to police the world and always use military force. And where military force is always your first option if not only option. But you’re strong enough to defend your own interests including your own homeland and help your allies who need it and are trying to do the same thing. As well as potential future allies who are simply fighting for their own human rights.
What President Obama is saying is that the free and responsible world should reject and fight ISIS and other authoritarians. And that the United States will play our special and strong role, but we can’t and won’t defeat ISIS ourselves. That Europe and Arabia, needs to play their role as well, as well as Asian powers like India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, Australia and others. As well as powers in Africa that are emerging as responsible countries with strong developing economies like the Federal Republic of Nigeria and others. That America is the liberal democratic leader in the world a role that we’ve had at least since the end of World War II, but we’re not the only player when it comes for fighting for freedom and human rights. That other countries need to play their part as well.