In his final State of the Union Address President Barack Obama noted that this remains a “dangerous time. …In today’s world,” he said “we’re threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states. The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.”
But the United States’ priority remains clear: to protect the American people and to go after terrorist networks, said President Obama:
“Both al-Qaida and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage. They use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country; they undermine our allies.”
To fight this scourge, the U.S. has for more than a year led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their ideology. With nearly 10,000 air strikes, the U.S. is taking out ISIL’s leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. The U.S. is training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.
Even as America remains focused on the threat from ISIL and al-Qaida, many other parts of the world are at risk, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central America, Africa, and Asia. Some of these places, said President Obama, may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees.
“The world,” said President Obama, “will look to the United States to solve these problems. And the United States will respond with every element of its national power. That means America will always act alone if necessary, to protect its people and its allies; but on issues of global concern, the U.S. will mobilize the world to work with us.”