In a speech dominated by domestic issues, President Obama devoted scant attention to national security beyond restating policy positions and saying that anyone who thinks the United States is no longer the world’s “one indispensable nation . . . doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
Obama listed gains over the past year: the end of the Iraq war, the killing of Osama bin Laden, strikes that have left al-Qaeda “scrambling” and the start of a troop drawdown in Afghanistan. He said the United States would build an “enduring partnership” with Afghanistan — an optimistic view of currently stalled negotiations — “so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.”
On Iran, Obama gave no quarter to those who have called on him to take a tougher line. He repeated that he would take “no options off the table” to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon and praised international cooperation on U.S.-led sanctions. But, he said, “peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better.”
Most parts of the world got only a sentence or two, with a nod to the administration’s pivot toward “Pacific power,” its “ironclad commitment” to Israel’s security, and signs of “new hope” in Burma. And, Obama said, there’s “no doubt” that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad won’t last much longer.
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