President Obama Delivers the 2013 State of the Union Address

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 13, 2013
President Obama Delivers the 2013 State of the Union Address

More:White House Blog -- President Obama's 2013 State of the Union

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on February 12, 2013. In his remarks, President Obama addressed a number of foreign policy issues.

President Obama said, "Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda.

"Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue and by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.

"Beyond 2014, America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We're negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions -- training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.

"Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. It's true, different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged -- from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad or occupy other nations. Instead, we'll need to help countries like Yemen, and Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.

"Now, as we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.

"Of course, our challenges don't end with al Qaeda. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only further isolate them, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.

"Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.

"At the same time, we'll engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands -- because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations.

"America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.

"And that's why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy."

The President continued, "Now, even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats, it presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I'm announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union -- because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.

"We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all -- not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it's the right thing to do. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy; by empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed, and power, and educate themselves; by saving the world's children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach.

"You see, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, "There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that.""In defense of freedom, we'll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy.

"We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt, but we can -- and will -- insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We'll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace.

"These are the messages I'll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month. And all this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk -- our diplomats, our intelligence officers, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military the world has ever known."

You can read President Obama's full remarks here.



February 14, 2013

W.W. writes:

Very poor .. nothing new .. no progress.. other time wasted slaves of a lobby with the only intent to destroy humanity destiny and god.. but still faith in the president.

United States
February 14, 2013

Mari in the U.S.A. writes:

The man who said "There is justice and law in the United States" was apparently unaware of the fact that our president asserts the authority to launch wars, or assassinate US citizens using drones, at his pleasure.

Ashim C.
February 15, 2013

Ashim C. in India writes:

Withdrawal from Afghanistan is an overwhelming sentiment of Americans. That President has to respond to it is understandable. But so long as US has not relinquished it's role as an world leader like Russia has, US has the challenge to make the withdrawal qualitatively different, which means it has to ensure that the region does not become a safe haven for fundamentalist terrorists from all over. Laden may have been eliminated but Jehadi ideas and ideology have not in Afpak region and beyond. For reasons well known the ideology is rooted in , one guesses, persecution complex among followers of Islam and their inability to give their population the benefits of knowledge and development that follows it inspite of their oil based riches, which is not renewable and is believed to exhaust in matters of few generation. This creates restlessness and hopelessness which fundamentalists are able to capitalise easily.

Logically, therefore, the real challenge is to get the international community including Jews in USA, Israel & rest of the world to remove the sense of deprivation among muslims some of which are real while a very proportion of that may be imaginary just like US perception is that there is a threat to it's security. Without US rising upto these challenges as it withdraws, which - thankfully- is not going to be total but gradual, US shall only send out a message that US in times to come reconcile itself to the position a North American power because of it's current economic problems. It is not as if US will resolve it's problems by become inward looking economically. US along with developed countries of Europe and Asia must extend their vision and see how and what they stand to gain economically if they cooperated to make real inclusive growth by sharing their most updated and futuristic technologies related to food security, clean energy security, health , education to prmote sober and cultured man first as they still have the resources in terms knowledge and otherwise to make possible inclusive growth. While this happens and improvements in quality of life are palpably felt, US can share it's millitary hardwares, which US is invested in and whose maintenance cost is a huge drain to it's economy, under joint command and control system to meet the strategic needs of countries commensurating their threat perceptions under short term lease and eventually long term lease, which will add value to US millitary investments and enable defense expenditure of many countries becoming free for import of technology driven products and services from US and developed world. That will regenerate US economy back to growth.

As far as job generation is concerned, it is not an exlusive requirement of US. Unless automation and mechanisation from certain activities are abondoned, one does not see how unemployment can be removed in the world. SAARC, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Srilanka is possibly ideally poised for USA to undertake new experiments. A good beginning would be to treat SAARC as one entity in foreign policy formulations.

New Mexico, USA
February 18, 2013

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Nation building is an emotional process, whether at home or abroad. It goes beyond the infrastructure and the nuts and bolts of progress in that nation building transforms fear of abandonment into pride of ownership; incompetence and corruption into viable institutions of self governance; partisanship, divisiveness and civil conflict and creates a mindset that "We can do this, together."

For the record I must insist that America is a nation of nation builders on many levels; who have traditionally employed the practice at home and abroad, generally doing both pretty darn well considering the time it sometimes takes for folks to get their act together realizing that the US gov. can only facilitate what the people desire, and that they must own it, "by, for, and of" themselves for nation building to be sustainable over generations.

Anything less would become a failure of leadership on one end and self determination on the other.

Whether that be here in America, or in Afghanistan.


March 1, 2013

Johnny in Australia writes:

I have no idea relating to politics, but I am very interested in reading this article.


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