Brian Williams Asserts Obama ‘Called for a Muscular, If Not Militaristic, Foreign Policy’

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, on Wednesday evening, discovered the promise of a “muscular” foreign policy in President Barack Obama’s West Point military academy speech, asserting without specific attribution: “As one writer put it, he called for a muscular, if not militaristic, foreign policy for the near future.”

ABC anchor Diane Sawyer better reflected the far from muscular or militaristic tone, relaying: “Today at West Point he announced a major change in foreign policy – a plan that relies less on the U.S. military and creates an international partnership to help nations fight extremists within their borders.”

Williams set up the May 28 report:

President Obama addressed the issue of American involvement in future wars today and the changing threat to this country. He spoke to the graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy West Point. As one writer put it, he called for a muscular, if not militaristic, foreign policy for the near future.

The closest I could find to that formulation was the the NYTimes.com home page headline for an article by reporter Mark Landler: “Obama Offers a Muscular, but Not Militaristic, Foreign Policy.” (The interior page headline: “‘America Must Always Lead,’ Obama Tells West Point Graduates.”)

NBC correspondent Peter Alexander conveyed a speech more about restraint that anything muscular: “At West Point today, President Obama argued for restraints before the U.S. commits to any future military action.” Viewers then heard the most popular bite of the day from Obama’s address: “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. “

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier offered more hard-hitting takes on Obama’s presentation:

> Charles Krauthammer: “I think the speech was literally pointless. He didn’t have a point. It was a defensive speech. It was an answer to the chorus of criticism, even from his side of the aisle, that it’s been a weak, leaderless, rudderless foreign policy, which it has been.”

> Stephen Hayes: “It was an attempt to retroactively impose some kind of doctrine on the chaos that we’ve all lived through over the last five and a half years. It’s been an inconsistent, incoherent, sloppy foreign policy for five and a half years with no apparent vision from the commander in chief, from the President of the United States.”

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center