On January 30, US President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address at a joint session of Congress. The event was attended by members of both the Republican and the Democratic parties as well as by “dreamers,” the people who came to the US when they were still children.
MAIN POINTS OF THE SPEECH
Firstly, in the first hour of his speech, Trump only spoke of US domestic problems, such as tax cuts, the economy, trade, and immigration.
Secondly, the White House occupier called on Americans to unite into “one people, one American family.”
Thirdly, it should be noted that Trump mentioned Russia only once in the speech that lasted an hour and twenty minutes. “Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values. In confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense,” the president said. He also noted that “we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression.”
Fourthly, Trump announced a program of modernizing the infrastructure into which 1.5 trillion dollars will be invested.
“Trump’s speech was 80 percent celebration of what he has done and 20 percent talking about what he would like to do,” a CNN report says.
The Washington Post carried an editorial, “A divisive and misleading State of the Union,” which points out that Trump did not mention many of the nation’s biggest, longer-term threats, and “sadly, the morning after a very long speech, none of that is going to look any different.”
Steven PIFER, senior fellow, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative, Brookings Institution:
“The SOTU did not give much indication of what kind of foreign policy President Trump intends to pursue. He mentioned Russia once, only in passing, and did not mention Ukraine at all. SOTU speeches tend to focus more on domestic policy rather than foreign policy, but this one seemed to have less specifics on foreign policy than most. Mr. Trump’s National Security Strategy named Russia one of the five major challenges confronting the United States and the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy noted that Russia and China pose the two priority challenges to US security. The fact that Mr. Trump did not have more to say about Russia in the SOTU will reinforce the view that the President does not agree with significant parts of his National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy.”
Adrian KARATNYCKY, senior fellow, Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center; managing partner of Myrmidon Group LLC, Washington D.C.:
“Trump’s State of the Union echoes the tone he adopted at his remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, one of moderation and the search for consensus and cooperation, with only occasional bows to economic nationalism. We are seeing a Thermidor in the Trump Revolution. Partly, this is the result of declining poll numbers and Trump’s desire to rebuild his low level of support. Partly it is occasioned by the fact that ‘revolutionaries’ like Bannon and General Flynn have been purged from his inner circle and Trump is now surrounded by pragmatists with military and business backgrounds. Analysts like to say that today there are two Trumps: the Twitter Trump and the Teleprompter Trump. Trump did not depart from his written text, which reflected the policies that have been shaped by his team. It was primarily a domestically oriented speech, focused on new infrastructure projects, a more restrictive and intelligent immigration policy, and reminders that recent economic growth and lower unemployment are the result of his policies. Remarks on Russia’s aggressive foreign and security policy and the war on Ukraine was missing. The focus was on North Korea and China as threats or adversaries. Still, US policy on Russia has moved toward tougher sanctions and the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine’s military. Though driven by the Congress and Trump’s circle of advisors, the policy seems secure and is likely to endure in the coming years. Polls show wide approval for the tone of moderation, optimism, and hints of a Trump more eager to cooperate with allies around the world and with both parties at home. Some 70 percent of Americans who heard the speech had a positive view of it. Sometimes the world reacts to Trump as the President of Twitter, sometimes to Trump as the President of the United States. Last night, we were hearing the institution of the President speaking, not a sometimes erratic, sometimes ill-informed Donald Trump.”