U.S. President Barack Obama (C) attends the graduation ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, the United States, on May 28, 2014. Obama said here Wednesday that he believes in the foreseeable future, terrorism remains the most direct threat to America at home and abroad. (Xinhua/Wang Lei)
WEST POINT, the United States, May 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said here on Wednesday that he believes terrorism remains the most direct threat to America at home and abroad in the foreseeable future.
The president made the remarks while addressing the Class of 2014 graduation ceremony at the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point.
Obama, however, stressed that the United States must shift its counterterrorism strategy, calling the practice of invading every country that harbors terrorist networks "naive and unsustainable."
Drawing on the successes and shortcomings of its experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, America should "more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold," said Obama.
Citing Afghanistan as an example, he said that the United States has trained hundreds of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police to do the security job in their own country, and that America's combat mission in the Central Asian state will be over by the end of this year.
Obama announced on Tuesday that the last American solider would leave Afghanistan at the end of 2016.
"Now, as we move to a train-and-advise mission in Afghanistan, our reduced presence there will allow us to more effectively address emerging threats in the Middle East and North Africa," he said in the West Point speech.
The president added that he is calling on the U.S. Congress to support a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund of up to 5 billion dollars, which will help train, build capacity and facilitate partner countries on the frontlines.
Obama emphasized that the partnership he has described does not eliminate the need to take direct action when necessary to protect America itself, but such direct action must "uphold standards that reflect our values."
The president also pledged that he will increasingly turn to the military to take the lead and provide information to the public about the U.S. efforts, to be more transparent about both the basis for U.S. actions and the manner in which they are carried out.
Stating that his administration's "bottom line" is to secure America's leadership role on the world stage, Obama reiterated the principle he put forward at the outset of his presidency, that the United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when its core interests demand it.
However, when issues of global concern that do not pose a direct threat to the United States are at stake, "the threshold for military action must be higher," he said.
Instead of going it alone, the United States must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action, and also must broaden the tools to include diplomacy and development, sanctions and isolation, appeals to international law and -- if just, necessary and effective -- multilateral military action, he elaborated.
"We must do so because collective action in these circumstances is more likely to succeed, more likely to be sustained, and less likely to lead to costly mistakes," he added.
Political analysts here believe that the president was actively defending his foreign policy stance on a range of controversial issues, including Syria, Iran and Ukraine.
The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, also known as West Point, is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in West Point, New York. It has been educating and training leaders of character for the U.S. Army and for the nation for more than 200 years, providing a 47-month leader-development program steeped in academic rigor, military discipline and physical challenges.
Some 1,064 USMA cadets received their diplomas during Wednesday 's graduation ceremony, throughout which Obama stayed on the platform, shaking hands with and patting on the shoulders of the excited new grads.