On May 20 President Obama traveled to New London to deliver the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy. The White House transcript of the speech is posted here; the White House video is posted below. The White House blog posted photos featuring excerpts of the speech and the president in heroic poses here.
In the Middle East, we see Iran asserting its power from Iraq and Yemen to Syria and Lebanon. We see ISIS on the march. We see al Qaeda and its affiliates expanding their forces. Elsewhere in the world, we see China and Russia presenting threats to our friends in the area of each. All these developments pose serious national security threats to the United States, threats whose seriousness continues to increase.
In his remarks, President Obama briefly mentioned the threat of terrorism, though that wasn’t what he came to talk about. The “challenge” he came to focus on at commencement was
global warming climate change. Really.
Having touched on the threat of terrorism, Obama turned to a cause in which he really believes. “And this brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today,” he said, “one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.”
President Obama sounded his kazoo at great length to call the graduates to the cause. “As America’s Maritime Guardian,” he said, “you’ve pledged to remain always ready — Semper Paratus — ready for all threats. And climate change is one of those most severe threats.” He called on the cadets, the White House blog noted, to face the challenge of climate change head on, and reminded them that the threat that climate change posed to the world cuts to the very core of their mission and service as Coast Guardsmen.
“Climate change,” however, is in no meaningful sense a national security threat. It is a pretext for the government’s continued encroachment on the freedom and wealth of the American people. For President Obama and his commitment to “fundamental transformation,” it is therefore a legacy issue.
In a rightly ordered universe, comedy writers at Saturday Night Live would put Obama’s Coast Guard Academy commencement speech to its highest and best use. Short of that, speaking of “challenges,” we can observe the challenge that Obama’s call to battle presents to satire.