Amid the recent transfer of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Oman and Estonia, Obama once again pledged to close the detention facility, a promise he first made during his election campaign.
“Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of Gitmo in half. Now it’s time to finish the job,” Obama said, restating the goal he set in the last year’s State of Union. “This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay,” he said in 2014.
Another doubtful assertion, amid Moscow’s increased cooperation with the BRICS and Latin America, is that Washington’s sanctions policies had “isolated” Russia, a claim, Obama has also made many times before.
In his address President Obama said little about the issues US society has been facing over the last year, for example, police brutality and racial profiling. He only mentioned Ukraine only while speaking about anti-Russia sanctions, and devoted most of his speech to domestic economic issues, including the gender wage disparity.
“This Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work,” Obama said, obviously overlooking that the Equal Pay Act, abolishing gender pay disparity, was enacted by the 88th US Congress and signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963.
“In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition… to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group,” Obama said.
However, he stressed that the United States reserves the right “to act unilaterally” in order to “hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks” worldwide.
Regarding climate change, Obama mentioned the joint announcement the United States and China made in November, 2014 pledging to speed up the pace at which two countries reduce their CO2 emissions. “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it,” Obama stressed.
Concluding his speech, Obama said that “fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America” and called on Americans to start work on “the new chapter” right now, almost echoing the end of his 2013 State of Union address.