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State of the Union: National Security

The president used the State of the Union last night to tout the administration's successes in making the nation more secure and better protected. But the speech highlighted the administration's lack of a national security vision for the United States beyond war and confrontation. While U.S. force must be one key component, the fight against terrorism cannot be won with the military alone. The president's speech was a missed opportunity to address major unresolved problems associated with the Middle East and proliferation in the world.

  • The president failed to mention the Middle East road map and presented no credible plans for promoting democracy abroad. The president laid out no strategy for reenergizing the flailing peace process essential to lasting stability in the region. Once again, the rhetoric of the Administration failed to match its actions. Other than proposing the doubling of the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy (a mere increase of $36 million), the President offered no vision for engaging the Middle-East.
  • No strategy on the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and materials. After claiming, "We refuse to live in the shadow of this ultimate danger," from WMD, the President failed to lay out a comprehensive strategy against weapons of mass destruction, including any expansion of cooperative threat reduction initiatives to deal with chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons threats. This is particularly shocking in light of recent disclosures regarding North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

The nation needs a comprehensive national security plan that focuses on prevention in the broadest sense. While we must continue to support our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the country should refocus its efforts to stop al-Qaeda and secure nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and materials around the globe. Above all, this administration must recognize that prevention and international cooperation work better than preemptive war and "coalitions of the willing" in keeping America safe.

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