Obama used the address to paint a hopeful portrait of America under his leadership, with a resurgent economy and better standing in the world, despite racial inequality and growing menace of home-grown terrorism
Washington DC: In his final State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama tried to reconcile an optimistic assessment of the nation’s progress amid anxieties that have gripped America during his tenure. Here’s what the President said on a varieties of topics.
Obama waves at the conclusion of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pic/AFP
Terrorism and ISIS
Observing that “instability will continue for decades” in many parts of the world including Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama said both al-Qaeda and ISIS pose a direct threat to the United States.
He added, “But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands. They do not threaten our national existence.
On politics of division
He acknowledged that many Americans felt frightened and shut out of a political and economic system they view as rigged against their interests. “We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion,” he said.
America has the “strongest” and most durable economy in the world, Obama said, rejecting as “fiction” the assessment by many on economic decline.
“The talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. USA is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period” he said.
Pak and Middle East
Warning that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East could become safe havens for new terrorist networks, Obama promised that he would go after al-Qaeda and ISIS to keep America and its allies safe.
'Fallen far short of his soaring words
Republican party fielded South Carolina’s Indian-American Governor Nikki Haley, who is speculated as vice presidential nominee, was tasked with giving the party’s official response to Obama’s address. Painting an unflattering picture of ‘Obama’s America’ she said, “Presidents record has often fallen far short of his soaring words.” She took a shot at Obama’s foreign policy record, saying a Republican president would “make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.”