Instability will continue in many parts of world, including Pakistan: Obama

Published: January 13, 2016
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US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the US Capitol January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the US Capitol January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: In his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world — in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia, according to the White House official website.

“Our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world — in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia,” Obama declared.

Pakistani-American NYPD cop to be guest at Obama’s State of the Union address

He continued, “Some of these places 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 will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage,” he added.

Speaking about the Islamic State group, Obama said the terror group did not pose an existential threat to the United States, warning that such talk only emboldens America’s enemies.

President Obama attempted to reset the tone of the national security debate, which has grown more extreme and fearful as the battle to succeed him heats up.

He called on Congress to help him finally close the war or terror detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which he branded a gift to extremist propagandists seeking to stir anti-American sentiment.

And he declared the US military to be the best funded and best trained fighting force in the history of the world, more than capable of seeing off the terrorist threat.

“But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands,” Obama warned a Congress dominated by his Republican opponents.

“Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence.”

US forces are leading an international coalition bombing the IS group from the air over their heartland in Iraq and Syria, and training Iraqi ground forces.

Obama gives last State of the Union address

Obama has vowed to dispatch special forces to guide Syrian Arab and Kurdish militias closing in on the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Raqa.

And US intelligence is helping its allies locate and neutralize extremists plotting attacks in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and European cities.

But Obama has vowed not to follow his predecessor George W Bush in committing thousands of ground troops to open-ended conflict in the Middle East — and Islamic State attacks have continued.

Last month, a gun attack by a radicalized couple in San Bernadino, California that left 14 dead particularly shocked the American public.
The crowded Republican field jostling for the chance to run for the White House has seized on this and the uncertain progress in the Middle East to brand Obama weak.

“Today, I met with law enforcement officials from San Bernardino, and I can tell you what they need: actions, not words, to secure our country,” said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Yet the White House is more focused on releasing battle-hardened extremists from Guantanamo Bay than keeping terrorists from opening up new safe havens across the world,” he continued.

“Sadly, it appears the president still wants to falsely declare the war against Islamist terror over, while Americans want him to win it.”
Obama gave such arguments short shrift.

President Obama’s Asia pivot approach

Of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — where 105 terror suspects plucked from the battlefields of the world are still held — he declared: “It’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.”

And he threw the challenge of mounting a serious campaign against the Islamic State group back at Congress, demanding they pass a law authorizing the ongoing war.

“If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorize the use of military force against ISIL,” he said.

“Take a vote. But the American people should know that with or without Congressional action, ISIL will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them.”

And, in order to defend his own bona fides as a determined anti-terrroist warrior, he referred his critics back to the greatest victory of his first term against al Qaeda.

“If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden.”

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Malatesh
    Jan 13, 2016 - 11:15AM

    Wakeup Pakistan at least now, you have a golden chance to disassociate yourself from the mess your senior ex-officers created..

    Otherwise the day is not far when the entire world including your friend China, Afghanistan will support India to teach a another lesson.. Recommend

  • For real?
    Jan 13, 2016 - 11:20AM

    I clearly remember him saying “in parts of Pakistan”, implying that parts of Pakistan are unstable which is largely true. This shows Obama’s intelligence, he knows that Pakistan is twice the size of California and has as many people as Brazil.Recommend

  • Saad
    Jan 13, 2016 - 11:45AM

    Pakistan has been largely spared due to Gen.Raheel but once the army goes back to its barracks, anything can happen. Maybe the army will also have to be the policeman in future.Recommend

  • Al Muttaqan
    Jan 13, 2016 - 1:22PM

    Is he outlining his plan or just giving a threat?

    Either way, we’re ready. So bring it on, USA.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 13, 2016 - 1:31PM

    @For real?:

    Did he say “parts of Pakistan”? He said ‘parts of the world”, but mentioned Afghanistan and Pakistan as nations (not parts of).

    Pakistan has stable regions, but as a nation it isn’t stable. Stability of a nation is reflected with the stregth of its institutions and the monopoly of coercive power of the ‘state’. In Pakistan, constitution says the ‘state’ power is exercised by govt. But, elected govt doesn’t exercise full control over its Military (thus causing institutional instability). The state also is not in control of coercive powers within its territory. In atleast one of these cases Pakistan mirrors Afghanistan.

    So, Obama seems to be mentioning this instability.Recommend

  • Besharam Khan
    Jan 13, 2016 - 2:05PM

    @Malatesh. Oh so you can pinpoint Pakistan mess but can’t highlight the policies of USA and West which destabilized whole world peace for decades.Recommend

  • Malatesh
    Jan 13, 2016 - 3:27PM

    @Besharam Khan:
    I don’t care about mess US or anybody created as long as it doesn’t affect India directly or indirectly…

    We care about your mess because it is not only affecting you but affecting us as well..Recommend

  • Kaleem
    Jan 13, 2016 - 5:19PM

    Obama didn’t give any divine verdict. We know how much security situation has improved and we are constantly getting to normal. Obama, check us in few years. Recommend

  • John B
    Jan 13, 2016 - 5:37PM

    @harkol:
    He did say parts of Pakistan . I even thought that it was a clever choice of words Recommend

  • Uzair
    Jan 13, 2016 - 9:36PM

    Pathetic speech by a person who still has illegal prisons, conducts illegal mass surveillance, illegally carries drone strikes in other countries and has prosecuted the most whistle-blowers in the country’s history. Hasn’t prosecuted a single person involved in fraudulent activities in the financial crisis. Instead he used the tax-payer’s money to bail them out. This person does not have the moral authority to comment on other parts of the world.Recommend

  • someone
    Jan 13, 2016 - 10:08PM

    @Al Muttaqan:
    People like you are very entertaining but if USA started to reflex slight muscles, your army and civilian government would bend backwards. Recommend

  • Abdullah khan
    Jan 13, 2016 - 10:10PM

    The actions of US against Islamic extremists will be good news for Muslim society because these Draculas are not only sacking the blood and cutting the throat s of their own people but also destroying the image of Islam and also dangerous for present geography of Muslim world, Iran and KSA governments are also included in these Muslim extremism Recommend

  • vinsin
    Jan 13, 2016 - 11:42PM

    @Uzair:
    And who has given you authority to do the same?Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 14, 2016 - 1:04AM

    No. 1, it was Obama’s last such statement and he used a broad brush. Off course, instability once created has its own life and takes time to end. Obama should also have said how much this instability was the creation of US policy failures and deliberate actions.

    Afghanistan was poor , but not violent before Russian came in and American followed to oust them from there.

    Pakistan was making efforts to develop, but had no trace of extremism and terrorism before our ill-wishers dug their teeth in and manipulated the situation.

    Nations makes mistakes, but also learn lessons. We have done that. Pakistan is getting out of it . We do not need Obama’s forecast and will Inshallah in 2016 overcome major part of instability.

    If Obama wants to give a parting gift , it should be to accept American failures , say sorry to the nations who suffered in the wake fo US policies . They will take care of the rest.

    As far India, it is irrelevant except as spoiler . It is trying to fish in troubling waters. Enough for the present . Recommend

  • Gemini
    Jan 14, 2016 - 1:21AM

    Why don’t we Asian’s all together invade United States and finish the terrorism on this planet?Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 14, 2016 - 1:45AM

    Yes,instability will continue on many parts of the world as long as USA and Jews are funding ISIS and other terrorist organizations to lead us towards World War 3,according to their New World Order conspiracy.Recommend

  • Naresh
    Jan 14, 2016 - 4:21AM

    According to the Article Obama said “In his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world — in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia, according to the White House official website.
    CheersRecommend

  • Chacha Jee
    Jan 14, 2016 - 5:14AM

    What a day. Obama publicly chastised pakistan and on world stage re-emphasised AF-Pak combination and then indian Elected state Governor a Randawa Jatti chastised Obama and Trump on behalf of Republican party. Governor Niki is also key note speaker at republican convetion. She could be choice for Vice President post a heart beat away from presidency. She will be used to counter hillary in the main electionRecommend

  • brar
    Jan 14, 2016 - 6:12PM

    @NHA: So you agree that there are troubled waters ? Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 14, 2016 - 7:30PM

    @brar: It is not long before Pak will be out of this situation which is not of its making. India is culprit and be sure Pak will not let you have your way , what may come. Most of Indian assets have been eliminated in Pak while those on Afghan soil will be taken care of in due course. Recommend

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