Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: National Security and International Policy Experts on President Obama’s State of the Union Address
Press Statement

STATEMENT: National Security and International Policy Experts on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C. — In response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this evening, experts from the Center for American Progress’s National Security and International Policy team released the following statements:

Senior Fellow Caroline Wadhams on Afghanistan:

The president has rightly outlined his plan to reduce the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan while maintaining pressure on terrorist networks and making a long-term commitment to the stability of Afghanistan and the region. Supporting a transparent, inclusive, and credible election in April in which Afghan President Hamid Karzai transfers power to an elected Afghan successor should be a key priority for U.S. policymakers. The Obama administration is correct in continuing to pursue a Bilateral Strategic Agreement, or BSA, between the United States and Afghanistan, which would enable the United States to maintain a small U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to support the Afghan National Security Forces and U.S. counterterrorism imperatives. Given President Karzai’s refusal to sign the BSA, the Obama administration should be willing to conclude this agreement with President Karzai’s successor.

Senior Fellow Brian Katulis on Iran:

As the president reiterated in the State of the Union, the United States has strengthened its security in dealing with Iran by using the full range of its powers—diplomatic, economic, and military power—to achieve some progress on the nuclear issue. The next phase of the negotiations will be tough, but it is essential to pursue a peaceful deal because all other options have significant drawbacks.

Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Duss on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations:

Tonight, President Obama reaffirmed that, through strong and principled diplomacy, the United States is facilitating negotiations toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the president has said in the past, a resolution to this conflict is an important​ U.S. national security interest and would address a key source of instability in a region experiencing significant turmoil. The administration’s active engagement has revived the chance for progress, and its strategy of moving forward on multiple fronts has given Israeli-Palestinian talks a strong chance of success.​

To speak with an expert, contact Anne Shoup at or 202.481.7146.