In an interview with NPR, President Obama says now is an appropriate time to step up aid to moderate Syrian rebels. But most of his foreign policy aims are geared toward expanding diplomatic efforts in a host of regional disputes.
Obama has come under fire from critics who say he has failed to show American leadership on issues ranging from Syria's civil war to Ukraine's crisis to China's growing clout in Asia.
NPR's Steve Inskeep interviewed President Obama on Wednesday about foreign policy, including his approaches to Syria, Ukraine and China, as well as his remaining White House priorities and his effort to close Guantanamo Bay prison. A full transcript of the interview follows:
In late January, a mentally ill man was shot and killed by two police officers in Lodi, Calif., south of Sacramento. Tragedy often follows a confrontation between the police and a mentally ill person, but the facts of this case are in dispute.
The victim was a Sikh Army veteran, and his death has roiled the Sikh community and the city. On a recent Saturday evening, more than 100 people gathered at the Sikh temple in the largely agricultural community of Lodi, to remember Parminder Shergill.
The attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, are renewing focus on programs aimed at requiring treatment for people who are mentally ill as a way to prevent mass shootings and other violence.
In California, a 2002 law allows authorities to require outpatient mental health care for people who have been refusing it. Proponents argue that this kind of intervention could prevent violent acts.
But counties within the state have been slow to adopt the legislation, and mental health professionals are divided over its effects.
President Obama gave the graduation speech Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, using the occasion to describe "the next phase" of the U.S. war against terrorism and his ideas about national defense and foreign policy in general. Here are a few general impressions.