Foreign Policy Blogs

Re-cap and Analysis of the State of the Union Address


Monday's State of the Union Address was heavy on the economy and ideological posturing. However, foreign policy issues were addressed, and this blog would like to touch upon what was said.

Stepping back and taking a macro-viewpoint of the speech, Bush did not provide new policy initiatives, which we had wondered about on this blog with regards to North Korea. The President reviewed his administration's goal of advancing freedom, and he cited elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia and Ukraine as well as "demanding independence" in Lebanon. Notably left out was Palestine. While the administration may not have been pleased with the outcome, strong support was pushed onto the Palestinians for having a free and fair election. They did so, but the outcome of Hamas leading the Palestinian Authority soured the administration, thus it should be of no surprise that the administration does not include that election as a success in the advancement of liberty.

Let us now dive into the minutia of his speech.


Bush noted our surge and went on to describe the Sunni Awakening as the Iraqi surge. "In the fall of 2006, Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaeda's brutality and started a popular uprising called "The Anbar Awakening.' Over the past year, similar movements have spread across the country. And today, the grassroots surge includes more than 80,000 Iraqi citizens who are fighting the terrorists."

While successes can be drawn on the security front, political reconciliation remains a lofty goal. As an example of progress in reconciliation, President Bush mentioned the recently passed de-Ba'athification law. However, most analysts are unsure whether the law will truly serve its intended purpose. Looking at political reconciliation on the whole, the Center for American Progress concludes we have reached only 3 of the 18 benchmarks.

Israeli-Palestinian relations

President Bush reaffirmed his position that Palestine will have a state by the end of this year: "This month in Ramallah and Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of this year."

As we have discussed on this blog before, President Bush's influence can make the most difference on final-status issues. Optimism is crucial when dealing with tough negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and Bush should remain engaged on this front.

The Americas

Bush urged Congress to approve trade agreements for Columbia and Panama (in addition to South Korea). He noted that failure to pass the bill in Columbia would "embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere." A clear shot at Hugo Chavez.


Bush spoke of the 3,200 Marines sent to Afghanistan, in order to provide training for their police and army, along with fighting the Taliban. The U.S. Defense blog first mentioned this increase.

For the sake of keeping this post somewhat concise my partner will tackle Iran.