Obama's SOTU Wish List For The World

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President Obama outlined his vision for the country in his final year in office — and beyond — in Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

In addition to making the case for action on major policy debates going on here in the United States, Obama touched on some of the biggest issues facing the entire world today, and America's role in shaping global politics.

"American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world — except when we kill terrorists — or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling," he said. "Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right."

Here's what Obama had to say on five key topics in global affairs — and what he wants Congress and the American people to do about them.
On Defeating The Islamic State Terrorist Group
"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. 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: If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden. Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell. When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit."

On Relations With Cuba
"You want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere? Recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo."

On The Guantanamo Bay Military Detention Facility

"I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo: It’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies."

On The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP)

"It cuts 18,000 taxes on products made in america, and supports more good jobs. With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in that region, we do. You want to show our strength in this century? Approve this agreement. Give us the tools to enforce it."

On Acceptance & Tolerance Of People From All Corners Of The Globe:

"[We] need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness, it’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal, it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith. His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that 'to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.' When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals and it betrays who we are as a country."

For more on the biggest global news stories we're following this year, check out our "16 Things You Need To Know About The World In 2016" roundup here.


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