The Obama Doctrine is a catch-all term frequently used to describe one or several principles of the foreign policy of U.S. President Barack Obama. It is still not agreed whether there is an actual Obama Doctrine, or if it is too early to define it. Nevertheless, during an interview with the New York Times, Obama briefly commented about the doctrine saying: "You asked about an Obama doctrine, the doctrine is we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities".
Unlike precisely-defined policies such as the Monroe Doctrine or Bush Doctrine, the Obama Doctrine is not a specific foreign policy introduced by the executive. This has led journalists and political commentators to analyze what the exact tenets of an Obama Doctrine might look like. Generally speaking, it is widely accepted that a central part of such a doctrine would emphasize negotiation and collaboration rather than confrontation and unilateralism in international affairs. This policy has been praised by some as a welcome change from the interventionist Bush Doctrine. Supporters of Obama's unilateral policies (such as targeted killings of suspected enemies of the US) including former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, have described it as overly idealistic and naïve, promoting appeasement of adversaries. Others have drawn attention to its radical departure in tone from not only the policies of the Bush administration but many former presidents as well. Some trace the origin of Obama's doctrine to a speech he delivered at West Point in May 2014, where he asserted that the "United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it," but for indirect threats or humanitarian crises, "we must mobilize partners to take collective action." This doctrine of "moral multilateralism," some argue, reflects Obama's interest in philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr, who supported an interventionist U.S. foreign policy but warned against hubris and moral misjudgment.