“First, the United States will keep all of its treaty commitments. Second, we shall provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security. Third, in cases involving other types of aggression, we shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense.”
“On the other hand, when issues of global concern do not pose a direct threat to the United States, when such issues are at stake, when crises arise that stir our conscience or push the world in a more dangerous direction, but do not directly threaten us, then the threshold for military action must be higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action. We have to broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development, sanctions and isolation, appeals to international law, and – if just, necessary, and effective – multilateral military action. In such circumstances, we have to work with others because collective action in these circumstances is more likely to succeed, more likely to be sustained, less likely to lead to costly mistakes.”
The first was delivered by Nixon on Nov. 3, 1969, and has come to be known as the “Nixon” or “Guam Doctrine.” Nixon served notice to the world that the United States was willing to supply an imperiled ally with expertise and funding, but expected its partners to supply the troops.
The second was Obama at West Point on May 28, while defending his foreign policy in the face of criticism that we’ve become rudderless just as the Middle East implodes. Obama said that 13 years removed from 9/11, we now face more scattered risks than al-Qaeda, with extremists in Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Mali, and other countries.