Washington: Asserting that the US is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that country has to use its power wisely to sustain this leadership.
"The United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world. Now, sustaining our leadership, keeping America strong and secure means we have to use our power wisely," Obama said in his address to the American Legion in North Carolina.
"History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching and spreading ourselves too thin and trying to go it alone without international support or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences," he said.
The US, he said, has to lead with strength and confidence and wisdom.
"That's why after incredible sacrifice by so many of our men and women in uniform, we removed more than 140,000 troops from Iraq and welcomed those troops home. It was the right thing to do," he noted.
"While we refocused our efforts in Afghanistan and went after Al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, driving the Taliban out of its strongholds and training Afghan forces, which are now in the lead for their own security," he said.
"In just four months, the US will complete our combat mission in Afghanistan and America's longest war will come to a responsible end," said the US President.
As Afghans continue to work towards the first democratic transfer of power in their history, Afghan leaders need to make the hard compromises that are necessary to give the Afghan people a future of security and progress, Obama said.
The blows that the US has struck against Al Qaida's leadership doesn't mean the end to the terrorist threat.
"As commander in chief, the security of the American people is my highest priority, and that's why, with the brutal terrorist group ISIL advancing in Iraq, I have authorised targeted strikes to protect our diplomats and military advisers who are there," he said.
Obama reiterated that the American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.
"We'll not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq. Because ultimately, it is up to the Iraqis to bridge their differences and secure themselves," he said.
"The limited strikes we're conducting have been necessary to protect our people and have helped Iraqi forces begin to push back these terrorists. We've also been able to rescue thousands of men and women and children who were trapped on a mountain. Airdrops of food, water and medicine show American leadership at our best," he said.
Urging countries in the region and building an international coalition including its closest allies to support Iraqis as they take the fight to these barbaric terrorists, the US President said his prayers are with Jim Foley's family in New Hampshire as they continue to grieve the brutal murder of their son and brother.