I’m looking forward to the State of the Union address tomorrow night; it promises to mark the back-to-business start of Obama’s second term and the official proclamation of his agenda. While I would understand if the bulk of the speech is taken up with matters of domestic policy, I do hope to get a few minutes devoted to foreign policy. While there are many issues that vie for the top of the foreign policy agenda, The New York Times is reporting that Obama will outline efforts to continue his policy of reducing the number of nuclear weapons:
President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to reinvigorate one of his signature national security objectives — drastically reducing nuclear arsenals around the world — after securing agreement in recent months with the United States military that the American nuclear force can be cut in size by roughly a third. Mr. Obama, administration officials say, is unlikely to discuss specific numbers in the address, but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018.
I’m also hopeful that Obama will mention drone policy, the diplomatic (and military) dance with Iran, cyberwarfare, and possibly Mideast peace talks (given his upcoming trip to Israel). I don’t expect him to mention Syria, as prospects for a NATO-led intervention there now appear dim. Even as I know that the economy, the budget, sequestration, and immigration will likely dominate the speech, I will be looking for a few key foreign policy passages to signal that Obama’s second term will not neglect this topic that we find so fascinating.