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Archive for January 29, 2010

State of the Union: A Blog for Iowa Perspective



State of the Union: A Blog for Iowa Perspective


imageby Paul Deaton

While policy
wonks may not have heard enough about their favorite things in the State of the
Union Address, seven minutes was enough to make the point that the work is
getting done.”

Having waited for a couple of months to speak on nuclear
disarmament to the packed room of Linn County, Iowa activists, I got five
minutes. I set my kitchen timer and said that if President Obama has five
minutes to make a decision to use nuclear weapons after a strike against the
United States, then surely I could say my piece in support of nuclear
disarmament in five minutes as well. I set my timer and went to work. The bell
went off just in time to turn the projection television on to watch the State
of the Union Speech with those gathered.

My interest in the speech is foreign affairs and towards the
end of the speech, at 9:03 PM CST to be more precise, President Obama ticked
off the things his administration was working on in foreign affairs. He
finished this portion of his speech at 9:10 PM CST. His message was that
national security issues have always been a place where Americans have been
able to come together, saying, “Throughout our history, no issue has united
this country more than our security.  Sadly, some of the unity we felt
after 9/11 has dissipated.  We can argue all we want about who's to blame
for this, but I'm not interested in re-litigating the past. I know that all of
us love this country.  All of us are committed to its defense.  So
let's put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough.  Let's reject the
false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. 
Let's leave behind the fear and division, and do what it takes to defend our
nation and forge a more hopeful future — for America and for the world.”

Obama then ticked off his list, pursuit of the terrorists of
9/11, strengthening the Homeland Security Department, filling gaps identified
in the 2009 Christmas Day attack, banning torture by the United States,
revitalizing partnerships around the world, killing or capturing hundreds of al
Qaeda operatives, a troop surge in Afghanistan, initiating the end of the war
in Iraq, negotiations with Russia on Strategic Arms Reductions (START), the
Non-proliferation treaty, and a statement that violators of international
agreements, Iran and North Korea, would “face growing consequences” and
isolation from the world community.

For those of us who follow foreign affairs, this was enough
because we can see the work being done in the State Department, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and
throughout the administration. Whether it be Secretary Clinton speaking out on Internet
Freedom
, or a report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on al Qaeda in Yemen and
Somalia
, the Obama administration is already delivering on the promise of
keeping the United States secure and doing things necessary to reduce our risks
in the world and hold rogue nations and terrorists accountable.

If we consider what
the State Department is working on
, it is a very long list of what should
be important to us as citizens of the world, as Americans and members of a
society that asks too often, “what’s in it for me?” A better question to ask is “what
can we do as a nation to facilitate international cooperation and reduce the
risks of living in a 21st century world community?”

While policy
wonks may not have heard enough about their favorite things in the State of the
Union Address, seven minutes was enough to make the point that the foreign affairs work is
getting done.

I hope you will check out some of the links in this post and
get more involved in understanding the work our country is doing in foreign
affairs.

~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County.  Check
out his blog, Big Grove Garden.
 
  E-mail Paul Deaton


START Negotiations

Cold Warriors Say No to Nukes

Iran, North Korea and Nuclear Weapons

Clinton on Iran Sanctions

Spending Freeze Must Include Defense

START-ing Without China

Do Neocons Comprehend English?

Foreign Policy Magazine

Obama and Bioterrorism