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How The U.S. Leads

President Obama waves as he congratulates a cadet during the graduation ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy in Air Force Academy, Colo., Wednesday, May 23, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

After a decade of war, a new day is on the horizon for the U.S.

At the recent commencement ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy, President Barack Obama said that after a decade of war, a new day is on the horizon for the U.S.

There are no Americans fighting in Iraq; al-Qaida is in disarray; and Afghan forces are on their way to taking the lead for the security of their country.

The time has come, said Mr. Obama, for the United States to lift the burden of our nation’s security from the military to the many other sources of American power: “diplomatic, economic and the power of our ideals. We’ve got to use them all,” he said. “And the good news is today we are:”

“Around the world, the United States is leading once more. From Europe to Asia, our alliances are stronger than ever. Our ties with the Americas are deeper. We’re setting the agenda in the region that will shape our long-term security and prosperity like no other, the Asia Pacific.”

Mr. Obama noted that the U.S. is taking the lead on global security: reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal along with Russia, while at the same time maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent; mobilizing dozens of nations to secure nuclear materials; rallying the world to put strong pressure on Iran and North Korea, which “cannot be allowed to threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”

Economically, the U.S. is taking the lead by forging trade pacts to create new markets for American goods, and by expanding exchanges and collaborations in areas that people admire most about America: its innovation, science and technology.

President Obama said the also leading on behalf of human dignity and freedom: standing with the people of the Middle East and North Africa as they seek their rights; leading global efforts against hunger and disease; and delivering relief to nations battered by disasters.

Now, said President Obama, “more and more people are reaching toward the freedoms and values that we share,” and the U.S. stands with them:

“We stand with the student in the street who demands a life of dignity and opportunity. We stand with women everywhere, who deserve the same rights as men. We stand with the activists unbowed in their prison cells. . .”

“They know, as we do,” said Mr. Obama, “that history is on the side of freedom. ... And we will stay strong as the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.”