Unity and Strength the Focus of President Biden’s State of the Union
The theme extended to the coordinated response of the West to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
President Biden dedicated nearly a third of his remarks to the intensifying war in Europe, while China was only touched upon lightly and within the realm of trade and competitiveness.
After receiving critique on the Afghanistan withdrawal and AUKUS agreement, Biden has earned points for managing transatlantic cohesion and unveiling President Putin’s plans for invading Ukraine.
In his speech, Biden emphasized that Putin thought he could divide us but was met with “a wall of strength.” In addition to describing the robust sanctions already in place, measures against Putin’s oligarchs, and nearly one billion dollars of assistance to Ukraine, Biden announced shutting down US airspace to Russia.
Countering Putin has emerged as the immediate foreign policy challenge of the United States. It also offers a bipartisan rallying cry despite some voices on the right lauding Putin and accusing Biden of weakness.
Ukraine is exhibit A in President Biden’s big-picture focus about the battle between democracies and autocracies.
The president’s statement that “freedom will always triumph over tyranny” received standing ovations from both sides of the aisle. The courage of the Ukrainian people and their leader Volodymyr Zelensky was showcased as an example of inspiration. Many members of Congress donned blue and yellow apparel to show their support.
Ukraine is exhibit A in President Biden’s big-picture focus about the battle between democracies and autocracies. Although no US troops will be sent to Ukraine, he prepared the American people for how Putin’s moves will carry costs around the world. He pledged to tap oil reserves in order to ease the rising cost of gas.
Americans may not yet grasp the stakes of Putin’s quest to change the balance of power in Europe and do away with the rules of the liberal international order. But President Biden is convinced that “when the history of this era is written,” Russia will come out weak and the rest of the world will have shown strength.