Right-wing media misleadingly cropped remarks made by President Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit to suggest Obama is opposed to America remaining "a dominant military superpower." In fact, Obama said that as a "military superpower," the U.S. has an interest in reducing tensions between foreign nations because violent conflict abroad inevitably "ends up costing" the United States "significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."
Hoft, Fox Nation quote 12 words to suggest Obama dislikes being "a dominant military superpower"
Hoft: Obama "really believes America is the enemy." In an April 14 post on Gateway Pundit, Hoft wrote:"Yesterday, Dick Morris said, 'We may have the first anti-American president we've ever had.' He was being nice. At his nuclear conference yesterday Barack Obama told Americans, 'Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.' Thanks for the pep talk, Barack." Hoft then linked to a clip of Obama's remarks and concluded, "He really believes America is the enemy."
Fox Nation headline: "Obama: 'Whether We Like It or Not, We Remain a Dominant Military Superpower.' " On April 14, the Fox Nation posted the same video clip from Gateway Pundit under the headline, "Obama: 'Whether We Like It or Not, We Remain a Dominant Military Superpower.' "
In fact, Obama's remarks show he was referring to cost of getting "pulled into" violent international conflicts
Obama discussed "cost" of getting "pulled into" violent conflicts abroad. Obama's remarks came in response to the question: "Given the progress you have cited in recent days on your foreign policy agenda, to what extent do you feel like you have gained political capital with which to take further to the international stage for the rest of this year, to perhaps rejuvenate some initiatives in trouble spots such as the Middle East and elsewhere?" In his answer, Obama stated that "[i]t is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."
From the White House transcript of the April 13 "Press Conference by the President at the Nuclear Security Summit":
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon. Given the progress you have cited in recent days on your foreign policy agenda, to what extent do you feel like you have gained political capital with which to take further to the international stage for the rest of this year, to perhaps rejuvenate some initiatives in trouble spots such as the Middle East and elsewhere?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the work that we've done in recent days around nuclear security and nuclear disarmament are intrinsically good. They're good just in and of themselves. And so we're very pleased with the progress that we've made. And we could not have done this without extraordinary cooperation first from President Medvedev when it came to the START treaty, and then from my colleagues who were here today when it came to this Nuclear Security Summit.
What I think it signifies is the fact that so many of the challenges that we face internationally can't be solved by one nation alone. But I do think that America's leadership is important in order to get issues on the international agenda and to move in concert with other countries to have an effective response.
There are a host of other issues, obviously, that have to be addressed and one of the points that was made actually during the communiqué is we're talking here about the instruments of potential war or terrorism, but obviously there are also the reasons, the rationales, the excuses for conflict, that have to be addressed as well.
And I remain committed to being a partner with countries around the world, and in particular hot spots around the world, to see if we can reduce those tensions and ultimately resolve those conflicts. And the Middle East would be a prime example. I think that the need for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and the Arab states remains as critical as ever.
It is a very hard thing to do. And I know that even if we are applying all of our political capital to that issue, the Israeli people through their government, and the Palestinian people through the Palestinian Authority, as well as other Arab states, may say to themselves, we are not prepared to resolve this -- these issues -- no matter how much pressure the United States brings to bear.
And the truth is, in some of these conflicts the United States can't impose solutions unless the participants in these conflicts are willing to break out of old patterns of antagonism. I think it was former Secretary of State Jim Baker who said, in the context of Middle East peace, we can't want it more than they do.
But what we can make sure of is, is that we are constantly present, constantly engaged, and setting out very clearly to both sides our belief that not only is it in the interests of each party to resolve these conflicts but it's also in the interest of the United States. It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.
So I'm going to keep on at it. But I think on all these issues -- nuclear disarmament, nuclear proliferation, Middle East peace -- progress is going to be measured not in days, not in weeks. It's going to take time. And progress will be halting. And sometimes we'll take one step forward and two steps back, and there will be frustrations. And so it's not going to run on the typical cable news 24/7 news cycle. But if we're persistent, and we've got the right approach, then over time, I think that we can make progress.
All right? Thank you very much, everybody.