I thought it was a great speech, exploring the intricacies and paradoxes of modern international relations. He acknowledged his role as a war president, and talked about when force might be necessary, even when striving for peace. He spoke of the desire to combat egregious violations of human rights, but spoke of the need to practice diplomacy as well as force of arms.
What struck me was just how much of a thinking-man's speech it was. This is a man who has clearly thought through the options and consequences, and tries to do whatever seems to be the best answer. He isn't shackled to one theory of IR; as Drezner points out, he uses just about all of them in the speech. This is a refreshing change from the single-minded saber-rattling Neo-Conservatism of the Bush years, but it's not a wholesale disavowal of anything. Neo-Conservativism is, after all, a branching off of liberalism.
Or, as Jon Stewart put it "grrr, Obama forcing us to live in area between absolutes!"
This is a president who isn't afraid to use his brain. Despite this environment of anti-intellectualism on the right, that is unequivocally a good thing.