“America cannot shirk the mantle of leadership,” Obama said. “We can’t be isolationists. It’s not possible in this globalized interconnected world.”
Obama told the cadets the U.S. still maintains the strongest military force in the world, and argued that American leadership should be centered around continued nurturing of international alliances.
“In these uncertain times it’s tempting sometimes to pull back and try to wash our hands of conflicts that seem intractable, let other countries fend for themselves,” Obama said. “But history teaches us from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 that oceans alone cannot protect us.”
"We should never rush into war," Obama said. "Sending troops into harm's way must always be a last resort."
The commencement address was the third for President Obama in 2016, and the 26th and final one of his presidency.