Last night, President Obama delivered his much-anticipated foreign policy speech at the United States Military Academy. Considering the many information leaks and political debate surrounding this much-anticipated speech, it was business from the start for President Obama. His Afghanistan speech clarified numbers on troop allocation and military goals: 30,000 U.S. troops, 5,000-8,000 additional NATO troops, and a focus on training an effective indigenous security force by 2011. The President’s plan has troops departing almost immediately with the goal of having all forces in place by May 2010. These forces are in direct response to General McChrystal’s Afghanistan-tailored counterinsurgency plan.
After months of deliberation and hours with his War Council, the President has laid out a clear, concise plan for the way forward. President Obama’s blunt and sober assessment of the road ahead in Afghanistan included reference to an exit strategy (mid-2011), acknowledged concerns about the U.S. economy, and made it clear that commitments to Afghanistan were to be performance-based. Indicating potential signs of a stricter relationship with the Karzai government, the President made it clear that “the days of providing a blank check are over.” For more, visit here.
(Note: As is tradition when the Commander-in-Chief visits a Service Academy, amnesty was granted.)