Obama's State of the Campaign Address

29 January 2012 | 15:46 Code : 1897397 Editorial
Obama expressed support for the pro-democracy movements in the Middle East as if his country has not supported the same dictators the people in the region have for many years fought to get rid of.
Obama's State of the Campaign Address

Last Tuesday, the U.S. President made his last State of the Union Address during his first term in office. This address is the most important speech American presidents make usually at the beginning of every year before both houses of the Congress. The main purpose of the speech is to present to the American people the state of the country, as the name of the speech implies. However, U.S. presidents have seized the opportunity provided by the speech to promote their programs and criticize the rival party in the Congress for creating road blocks in the implementation of those programs. This is specially the case when the stakes are high for the president and the contender from the other party in an election year to lobby for more votes in the presidential election.

President Obama's Tuesday address was not an exception to this rule. During his more than an hour speech, Barack Obama touched upon different aspects of American politics with an eye on the November election. Since the domestic issues are of paramount importance to the overwhelming majority of American people these days, Obama allocated most of his speech to internal issues. These include the state of the U.S. economy in light of the recession prevailing across the globe in recent years, income inequality in America, tax reform, job training and education and energy. He did his best to show that the U.S. has, more or less, overcome the economic crisis and the American economy is gaining momentum and if he is elected for four more years, he will have more opportunity to implement his economic agenda better which will in turn provide more jobs and less inflation for Americans.

In the address, foreign policy issues were not given the same priority as domestic issues. However, Obama believed that, in contrast to economy, he could highlight some achievements in foreign related issues. He tried to show that the U.S. has conducted its foreign policy from a position of strength. He referred to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, attacks against al Qaeda operatives and the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Ignoring the Islamic tendencies of many Muslims across the Middle East and North Africa, the President found it convenient to express support for the current movements for democracy across this region as if his country has not supported the same dictators the people in the region have for many years fought to get rid of. Even on this point, he intentionally failed to mention the uprising of the people of Bahrain against the discrimination and injustice in that country whose ruler is a close friend of the United States.

Obama's solid support for Israel and his strong words against Iran stems from the fact that in an election year he needs to present himself as a leader capable enough not to submit to pressure to abandon a close friend and at the same time to be tough enough to tell his adversaries that the U.S. is prepared to do whatever it takes to prevent them from threatening what he calls "our citizens, our friends and our interests."

All in all, Obama's speech was designed to help him to respond to the criticisms leveled against him by the Republicans and garner more support for his policies in this election year. In 2008, Obama's slogan of change helped him win the presidential election. Since that time, most of his then campaign promises have remained unfulfilled. Four years later and having reelection in mind, he is appealing to voters to give him another chance to serve. It is too early to predict who will win the November election. However, the next U.S. president should bear in mind that extremist and adventurist policies will not serve the interests of Americans and those of other peoples of the world.