The press is reporting that tonight’s State of the Union will be light on defense and national security. Shocking.
Indeed, the president is likely to spare little breath for previous commitments to extend free trade, prioritize victory in Afghanistan, roll back Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and much more.
Instead, we are destined to see the president seek to turn the tables on Congress and the Republican party, and suddenly become a tribune for defense spending – this in light of half a trillion in cuts and a half a trillion more on the table to the Pentagon budget. He is likely to bemoan the terrible effects of sequestration – terrible, only because that is the crowbar of the moment, the tool he plans to use to insist on yet more tax increases. Hardly terrible, an honest man would admit, for a president who has little use for the carriers we will not deploy or the troops we cannot pay. No, for Barack Obama the defense budget is a slush fund from which same sex benefits can be increased, special forces can be ramped up, drones can be bought, and cradle to grave insurance payments can be spoon fed – not to the military that deserves them but to legions of bureaucrats who never saw a day in combat. Because for the “progressive movement,” the purpose of that government agency is to distribute benefits to the takers not to protect the American people and the values we hold dear.
Don’t hold your breath for news about al Qaeda and its spread, for success on the Iran and North Korea fronts, for a tear for the people of Syria, for a strategy for genuine victory in Afghanistan or for a strong take on the erosion of Russian democracy. Perhaps a word or two about China, just to propitiate the unions.
Expect that this SOTU will rather be a continuation of the Obama second term theme on national security: Whatever.