Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Less war, more counterterror

The national security strategy that President Barack Obama outlined Wednesday during the commencement ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy captured the state of global affairs and the mood of the nation. The president said the United States needs to be smarter about committing military force and more engaged diplomatically to spread the responsibility for maintaining order.

The president's biggest applause line at West Point, N.Y., came when he noted the class of 2014 was the first in a decade not to face the crush of deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. It was a clear-eyed vision from the commander in chief that drew the right distinctions between pursuing adventurism and preserving national security.

Obama defended his record and offered a view of the decisionmaking that will drive his foreign policy in the final years of his administration. The president said it is time to shift the nation's attention and resources away from 13 years of war in Afghanistan and toward emerging terrorist threats in the Middle East and Africa. He called for Congress to approve a multibillion-dollar counterterrorism initiative and renewed efforts to promote global security through alliances, collective action and international law.

The speech came a day after the president announced he would retain U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016. The 32,000 U.S. troops there now would be reduced to 9,800 by year's end, and to about 4,900 by the end of 2015. Troop levels would drop after that to retain only a residual force into 2016.

While it is prudent to wind down the American presence, it's unclear what these small numbers could achieve and why the United States should remain at all. As the president said this week, Afghans need to be responsible for their own security. The challenges Obama framed at West Point pose new demands on the military in far-reaching corners of the world.

The president is realistic about the nation's capacity to resolve crises around the globe. His approach does not abandon a unilateral military option but makes it less likely as the United States builds greater problem-solving capacity within the international community.

This message was well-received Wednesday by the people who will carry it out — the next crop of America's military leaders. It's not aggressive enough for some of his critics, but Obama is right: America needs a policy that does "not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield."

His address Wednesday is a start in that direction.

Comments

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17