A Letter from President Obama to Yonghe Zhang

American Huilin Institute

The White House, Washington


June 18, 2012

Dear Friend:


Thank you for writing.  I have heard from many Americans about our Nation’s foreign policy, and I appreciate your perspective.


As President, my highest priority is the safety of the American people.  My Administration is using every element of our national power to keep our country secure, prosperous, and free.  We have renewed our leadership in the world by strengthening old alliances and forging new partnerships to meet common challenges—from preventing terrorist attacks, reversing the global economic crisis, and responding to pandemic disease to confronting climate change, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and providing relief from natural crises. 


After more than a decade of sacrifice, the tide of war is finally turning.  The war in Iraq is over.  The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will soon be coming home.  In Afghanistan, we have begun a transition to Afghan responsibility for security, and we have a clear path to fulfill our mission.  That is why, on May 2, 2012, I signed a historic Strategic Partnership Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan which defines a new relationship between our countries as the war comes to an end.  As in Iraq, we are building an enduring partnership to strengthen Afghan sovereignty and stability while advancing our shared goal of delivering justice to al-Qa’ida and contributing to the security of the region.  We have devastated al-Qa’ida’s leadership—taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders, including Osama bin Laden.  The goal I set to defeat al-Qa’ida and deny it the chance to rebuild is now within our reach.


The courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea and enabled democracy to take hold in places like Libya.  Our commitment to global security will never waver, but in a world in which threats are more diffuse and missions are more complex, America cannot act alone.  We will continue to align our policies with those with whom we share common values and interests.  That is why NATO remains indispensable to our security.  At the NATO Summit I hosted in May 2012, we took steps to ensure the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to meet 21st century threats.  At the same time, we must also strengthen the United Nations and regional peacekeeping capabilities.


America will remain committed to governments that reflect the will of their people.  I have an unyielding belief that all people share some basic aspirations:  to support our families, to maintain the freedom to choose our leaders, to worship as we please, and to live in peace and security.  These are not just American ideas; they are human rights—and we will support them everywhere.  I know the challenges faced by the international community can be met if we commit ourselves to a sustained effort to secure the universal human rights of freedom and dignity for all our children.  To learn more about our foreign policy, please visitwww.WhiteHouse.gov/Issues/Foreign-Policy


Thank you, again, for writing.



Barack Obama

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