While President Barack Obama said during a commencement address Wednesday that the United States needed to lead on the world stage, Rep. Buck McKeon said the problem is that under his leadership America has not been doing that.
In a speech to the graduating class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,
Obama defended the foreign policy of his administration and declared, "Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will."
"The problem is we haven't been leading. We've heard his idea of lead from behind. That just doesn't work," the California Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday after the president's speech. "I'm glad to see that he's finally speaking up, addressing the problem."
McKeon, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said leaders from around the world contact him and ask, "Where is America? How come you're not leading?" He said other leaders "don't so much listen to speeches," but instead "look more at what we do."
"Their concern is that while we're cutting back [on military spending], are we going to be able to be there to fulfill our commitments that we've made to our allies and the people we have formed treaties with around the world? This is a real problem," he said.
When the United States fails to assume a leadership role in the world, McKeon said a "vacuum's created."
"That's why [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is doing what he is doing. That's why China's doing what they're doing," McKeon said.
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