Kamala Harris makes history, addresses West Point military grads

Web Desk
May 28, 2023

"Global security and global prosperity depend on the leadership of the US," says Kamala Harris

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US Vice President Kamala Harris delivers the commencement address at the 2023 graduation ceremony at US Military Academy West Point on May 27, 2023, in West Point, New York. — AFP

US Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a commencement speech to over 900 graduates of the US military academy in West Point New York, becoming the first woman in the 221-year academic history to address the cadets.

During her speech, Kamala Harris told them that they are graduating “into an increasingly unsettled world where long-standing principles are at risk”, citing threats of Russian and Chinese aggression in her talk.

“The world has drastically changed,” Harris told them. She also referred to the COVID-19 pandemic that claimed millions of lives and the shifts in global politics taking place.

Vice President Harris told the graduates that “in the face of all these challenges, America plays a singular role of leadership," adding that "global security and global prosperity depend on the leadership of the US. And the strong US remains indispensable to the world."

While talking about the Russian special operation against Ukraine that started in February last year, she said that Moscow’s unprovoked invasion is “an attack on international rules and norms that have served as the foundation of international security and prosperity for generations.”

Class of 2023 cadets arrive for their graduation at the US Military Academy West Point, on May 27, 2023, in West Point, New York. — AFP

She also noted that “modernizing its military and threatening both the freedom of the seas and rules of international commerce.”

Vice President’s remarks came as President Joe Biden is bidding for a second term in Oval Office next year.

During their administration, the pair endeavoured to advance their efforts regarding democracy and strengthening alliances abroad, even as relations with Russia and China remain strained.

While in Hiroshima for Geoup of Seven (G7), earlier this month, leaders agreed to counter China’s “coercion” and pledged to stop Russia’s ability to finance its war against Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden (L), Vice President Kamala Harris (R) and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (C) make their way to the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, DC, May 25, 2023. — AFP

“To the Class of 2023: You join the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen,” she said. “And in years to come, I promise you, you will be tried, and you will be tested.”

“And I am so very confident that you will rise to each occasion. Whatever comes your way. You are ready. And you are ready because you are true leaders of character,” 58-year-old Harris said.

Previously, she made history by becoming the first woman to give a commencement address at the US Naval Academy in 2021. Last year, she spoke at the US Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony.

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