Obama’s Muddled Foreign Policy Message Buried in State of the Union

Little Content and a Lot of Recycled Rhetoric

A rambling, 80+ minute State of the Union Address tonight gave President Obama an opportunity to lay out his foreign policy positions, but 60 minutes into the talk he hadn’t touched the matter at all.

When he finally did, what followed was a confusing muddle of claims of success and vague expressions of hope for things he’d like to accomplish without any specific plans attached.

Bragging about ending the Iraq War, President Obama touted his plan to “end” the Afghan War, while openly talking about an open-ended deployment of US troops on the ground there engaged in “counter-terrorism” operations. A war “ended” and simultaneously endless.

He then went on to talk about ending the “permanent war footing” the United States has been on since 9/11, but openly talked up increased increased military spending for “future missions” and intervention abroad.

Closing Guantanamo Bay was raised as a possibility, if Congress wants to, and he defended the notion of negotiations with Iran, while trying to downplay the chance of succeeding and reiterating that the US will retain “all options” to move against Iran no matter what.

Even on Syria, Obama’s position was filled with hedges, promising to back the rebels, but only the rebels that “reject terrorism,” and promising “the future the Syrian people deserve” while providing no detains about how to get there, or how arming those rebels, something he’s been doing for quite some time, was going to produce a different result than the stalemate that’s been on so far.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.