Obama’s Final State of the Union: A Safer World?

John Boehner

Next week, President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address. We don’t have a copy of the speech, but the State Department recently released a document touting how the administration has “helped change the world for the better.” We think it provides a window into what we’ll hear from the president next week—more doubling down on the same failed foreign policies that have made the world a more dangerous place. Much attention was paid to the administration’s claim that it has brought “peace” and “security” to Syria, and what a doozy it was, but others are raising eyebrows as well. Check out a few of our favorites:

‘Bringing Peace, Security to Syria’

This is the biggest headscratcher. Estimates are that over 320,000 Syrians have been killed during the civil war, while upwards of 10 million civilians have been internally displaced or forced to flee the country altogether. Earlier this year, the administration pulled the plug on its $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels, which U.S. Central Command revealed produced only “four or five” fighters. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power nearly five years after President Obama publicly called on him to step down, and now Vladimir Putin and Ayatollah Khomeini have stepped in to save their dictatorial ally in Damascus. Painting a rosy picture of the bloody civil war exemplifies the administration’s apparent complacency with its failing efforts to help end this crisis.

‘Winning Fight Against Violent Extremists’

Ok, so maybe this is the biggest headscratcher. You don’t need to look past just the last couple of months to see that we’re not winning the fight against violent extremists. From Paris to San Bernardino, it’s clear that radical Islamic terrorism is alive and well. And yet President Obama insists we stay the course with his current strategy. But here’s the problem: It’s not working. That’s why House Republicans included a requirement in the annual defense bill, which the president signed into law in November, requiring the administration to present a real, comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS. The House year-end spending bill also included important legislation authored by Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) to strengthen the Visa Waiver Program, which will help prevent foreign terrorists from reaching our shores. These are just a couple of critical steps we’ve taken in Congress to protect the homeland. Now it’s time for our commander-in-chief to get serious about defeating—not containing—these severe threats to our national security.

‘Iran Peaceful Nuclear Program Ensured’

Really? There’s literally nothing included in the Iran deal to “ensure” Tehran’s nuclear program remains peaceful. In fact, the agreement provides the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with $100 billion in sanctions relief, which the administration admits will be used to finance additional attacks on the U.S. and our allies. Most key restraints on Iran’s nuclear program, including on centrifuges and enrichment capabilities, will expire over the next 10 to 15 years. The agreement even lifts the international ban on Iranian ballistic missile development in eight years (though these activities continue illegally without consequence from the administration). Perhaps worst of all, this deal was agreed to against the will of the American people and their elected representatives in the House, where a bipartisan majority voted to reject it. The administration’s argument here doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

‘Strongest Climate Agreement Ever Negotiated’

Only this administration would tout a voluntary agreement as one of the strongest “ever negotiated.” That’s right. Countries party to this deal are in no way legally required to take any action whatsoever. As the Wall Street Journal explains, the agreement “depends almost entirely on domestic will.” We think that’s a pretty low bar. Meanwhile, the administration continues to block construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and unilaterally issue job-killing regulations. That’s why the recent spending bill holds the EPA to its lowest funding levels since 2008 and its lowest staffing levels since 1989. The president believes that climate change is a greater threat to our national security than fighting radical Islamic extremism. He’d rather sacrifice our energy advantages than show real leadership in the fight against ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

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