Huntsman: Obama Didn't Show US Leadership in West Point Speech

Friday, 30 May 2014 01:57 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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President Barack Obama needed to show the "grand strategy" of America's leadership in the world in his speech at West Point, rather than act defensive about his foreign policy, said former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

During a commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday, President Obama laid out the vision for his foreign policy leading into his final years in office.

The speech has been roundly criticized, with The New York Times calling it "largely uninspiring," and CNN correspondent Jim Clancy describing the speech as receiving an "icy" reception.

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"It's kind of politics as usual, when the American people need to be lifted and inspired. And, the world needs to be led," Huntsman, a Republican, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday. "What is the grand strategy for the United States?"

Huntsman said he thought it was "a little bit petty and unnecessary" for President Obama to have used the speech as a "defensive kind of diatribe about (his) foreign policy versus George W. Bush's foreign policy." He said America's leadership was critical, given the state of world affairs.

"Make no mistake about it. The world has turned to the United States for leadership. In terms of how we're going to lead out politically, militarily, economically, culturally, and every other way. And, we have not signaled any clear guidance in terms of how we're going to do that. This is too little, too late.

"I just thought it fell well short of what the American people and, in fact, the world deserved to hear coming out of the United States at a critical moment in history," he said.

Huntsman described President Obama's speech as "hedging," and maintained that a person engaged "in a hedging strategy when you have nothing else to do."

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