In one of his final speeches as commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama highlighted his administration’s counterterrorism accomplishments and warned against pursing extreme policies in a speech Tuesday at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, CNN reports.
The White House described the speech as a summary of the national security priorities of the wartime president. During his time in office, the president scaled back the nation’s troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also under his command, American troops hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden, and prevented another major terrorist attack like September 11.
As Obama turns over the reins of power, he cautioned the incoming administration against using extreme measures to combat terrorism.
President-elect Donald Trump promised a more aggressive approach, such as using torture and implementing a ban on Muslims entering the country. Trump also pledged to withdraw the United States from the international accord with Iran to end its nuclear program.
“Terrorists would love to see us walk away from the type of work that builds international coalitions and ends conflicts and stops the spread of deadly weapons. It would make life easier for them. It would be a tragic mistake for us,” Obama said.
The president, and scores of military experts, has said that torture is ineffective and violates the law.
“Adhering to the rule of law is not a weakness in the long term, it is our greatest strength,” Obama stated.
While his approach has kept America safe, the president underscored that many challenges are ahead, such as defeating ISIS and its ideology that threatens international peace and security.