U.S. President Barack Obama may have delivered on his promise of a (barely) shorter State of the Union during his last such address as president, but it was still stacked — maybe more than ever — with references to foreign affairs and development.
Obama applauded U.S. military, doctors and development workers for leading the way in stamping out the Ebola epidemic, mentioned partnering with local forces in Syria to pursue lasting peace and welcomed a Syrian refugee to the SOTU, one of among about two dozen guests invited to sit with first lady Michelle Obama.
In a speech that was more reflective and hopeful than action-oriented, U.S. President Barack Obama linked global development issues to U.S. leadership and national security.
The president challenged the low expectations that accompany election season and later cited COP21, warning anyone still disputing the science around climate change of their impending loneliness “because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it."
That wasn’t all. Here’s what else Obama touched on — along with a few ways for you to catch up on the topic.
1. Technology for change and the spirit of innovation .
What Obama said: “Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us — especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?”
What to watch:
What Obama said: “That’s how we stopped the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Our military, our doctors, and our development workers set up the platform that allowed other countries to join us in stamping out that epidemic.”
What Obama said: “That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.”
4. Trans-Pacific Partnership.
What Obama said: “With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in that region, we do. You want to show our strength in this century? Approve this agreement. Give us the tools to enforce it.”
5. Climate and clean energy.
What Obama said: "Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it."
What to watch:
6. The fight to end HIV and AIDS, malaria.
What Obama said: “When we help African countries feed their people and care for the sick, that prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores. Right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, and we have the capacity to accomplish the same thing with malaria — something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year.”
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