Fletcher in the News

Obama Speech Comes at Critical Moment: Professor Martel Comments

Voice of America

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

As President Barack Obama mounted a defense of his foreign policy at West Point on Wednesday, analysts, policy experts and critics warned that the United States risked emboldening tyrants and leaving a vacuum in some regions that could result in more instability.

…After withdrawing troops from Iraq and as he does the same in Afghanistan, President Obama signaled a move towards international cooperation regarding intervention missions.

He promised to stand strong against Russia over Ukraine and vowed to hold China accountable on the "rules of the road" in the South China Sea. 

…Obama’s speech was widely seen as an effort to not only lay out a policy blueprint leading into his final two years in office.

It was also an answer to critics and allies who trace crises like Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and Chinese actions in the South China Sea to U.S. action - or inaction.

“There’s a sense that US foreign policy is in drift, from the highest levels of government down to the American people, there’s no clear what we’re about, what makes us tick as Americans,” said William C. Martel, associate professor of international security studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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