Whenever President Obama does something that is universally panned, such as his foreign policy speech/commencement address at West Point on Wednesday, he can typically count on the New York Times editorial board to have his back. Not this time.
"The address did not match the hype, was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors, on the right or the left," the Times’ editors wrote. "This was far from Mr. Obama’s big moment."
The board did its best to highlight the good parts of the speech—"Mr. Obama did make a strong case on the use of force"—before unloading on the rest:
[H]e provided little new insight into how he plans to lead in the next two years, and many still doubt that he fully appreciates the leverage the United States has even in a changing world. Falling back on hackneyed phrases like America is the "indispensable nation" told us little.
Mr. Obama’s talk of the need for more transparency about drone strikes and intelligence gathering, including abusive surveillance practices, was ludicrous. His administration had to be dragged into even minimal disclosures on both topics. Just Tuesday, the administration said it wanted to make further deletions from a legal memo on drone strikes that a court ordered it to make public.