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National Security not Among Major Issues in Obama Address

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama highlighted largely domestic issues – health care, job creation, and financial regulation, to name a few – while giving little air time to national securiy affairs. The New York Times indicates that Obama spent roughly 9 minutes discussing counterterrorism and the increasing concern over Iran’s nuclear program. The President also made mention of China, but only in the context of economic rivalry – there was no discussi0n of further integration of China into a multipolar international system.

While there is considerable Republican opposition to holding the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York, opposition rhetoric over the President’s counterterrorism record does not, in these instances, account for a new and more aggressive approach to drone attacks against al-Qaeda leadership. Obama also benefits from strong public support for his national security policy; nevertheless, this does not greatly outweigh domestic concerns as the midterm elections grow nearer.


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