The State of the Union, Obama style

Article Highlights

  • The press is reporting that tonight’s #SOTU will be light on defense and national security. Shocking.

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  • Don’t hold your breath for news about foreign policy #SOTU

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The press is reporting that tonight’s State of the Union will be light on defense and national security. Shocking.

Indeed, the president is likely to spare little breath for previous commitments to extend free trade, prioritize victory in Afghanistan, roll back Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and much more.

Instead, we are destined to see the president seek to turn the tables on Congress and the Republican party, and suddenly become a tribune for defense spending – this in light of half a trillion in cuts and a half a trillion more on the table to the Pentagon budget. He is likely to bemoan the terrible effects of sequestration – terrible, only because that is the crowbar of the moment, the tool he plans to use to insist on yet more tax increases. Hardly terrible, an honest man would admit, for a president who has little use for the carriers we will not deploy or the troops we cannot pay. No, for Barack Obama the defense budget is a slush fund from which same-sex benefits can be increased, special forces can be ramped up, drones can be bought, and cradle to grave insurance payments can be spoon fed – not to the military that deserves them but to legions of bureaucrats who never saw a day in combat. Because for the “progressive movement,” the purpose of that government agency is to distribute benefits to the takers not to protect the American people and the values we hold dear.

Don’t hold your breath for news about al Qaeda and its spread, for success on the Iran and North Korea fronts, for a tear for the people of Syria, for a strategy for genuine victory in Afghanistan or for a strong take on the erosion of Russian democracy. Perhaps a word or two about China, just to propitiate the unions.

Expect that this SOTU will rather be a continuation of the Obama second term theme on national security: Whatever.

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


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    Email: dpletka@aei.org
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