Obama: State of the Union’s state of denial

Mohamed Chebarro
Mohamed Chebarro
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The 2016 State of the Union address could have easily been U.S. President Barak Obama’s farewell speech. His speeches over the last seven years amount to much ado about nothing, during times when the world craved U.S. leadership. In his State of the Union speech, he talked about his successes, namely regarding the economy. However, that process was launched by his predecessor George W Bush - all Obama had to do was steer it.

He spoke of internal reforms but skirted external failures, his speech coinciding with Iran’s arrest of U.S. marines on a routine exercise in the Gulf. Though it was quick to release them, the images released by Iranian media show Tehran’s muscle-flexing, at a time when Obama claims the nuclear deal brought Iran back in line with international law.

Obama has done little to stand by the weak or to tackle extremism.

Mohamed Chebarro

The naval incident comes against a backdrop of Tehran’s continued belligerence regionally and internationally. The Iran that Obama boasts about taming does not refrain from reminding everyone that its revolution is still developing, boasting that it has conquered four Arab capitals, and building an army of more than 200,000 personnel.

Relinquishing U.S. leadership

Obama did not mention how he has failed the Syrian people. He did not elaborate on his hasty exit from Iraq that led to the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or his scaling down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan that led to the re-emergence of the Taliban. His speech underlined American strength, but underplayed the ISIS threat and economic decline.

Obama has done little to stand by the weak or to tackle extremism. “Our public life withers when only the extreme voices get all the attention,” he said. However, he has bolstered those voices by avoiding confrontation and limiting U.S. involvement abroad, all under the guise of multilateralism.

“The U.S. economy is the strongest in the world. ISIS must be hunted down and destroyed. Insulting Muslims is just wrong. America remains the envy of the world.” These words are just empty rhetoric. Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz aptly tweeted that Obama’s State of the Union address was more a “state of denial.” This sums up his leadership and how he views the world.

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Mohamed Chebarro is currently an Al Arabiya TV News program Editor. He is also an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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