Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin highlighted several omitted foreign policy items in President Biden’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The president spoke on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which entered its sixth day Tuesday and has now claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, by announcing his administration is banning Russian planes from American airspace, in addition to economic sanctions and other measures.
While Ukraine was the most pressing international issue, Rogin noted that several other foreign policy concerns from the past year went unaddressed in the president’s remarks.
Biden did not mention Iran, despite his reported intentions to bring the regime back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House waived sanctions on Iranian civilian nuclear activities, which a senior State Department official told Fox News Digital was due to growing non-proliferation concerns related to increasing stockpiles of enriched uranium by Tehran. The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal in 2018, and reimposed several pre-deal sanctions on Iran.
President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., look on. (Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
(Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
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“No mention of Iran in Biden’s SOTU speech,” Rogin tweeted. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t want to talk about the deal his administration is working hard to complete.”
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North Korea was also left off the State of the Union script, Rogin continued, despite the ever aggressive behavior by dictator Kim Jong Un.
In this June 29 photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP/Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service)
The writer later mentioned how Biden did not address the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last August, which both Republicans and Democrats agreed was a deadly disaster. Liberal media who had previously been flattering of the president were uncharacteristically critical of him as the world watched the chaotic exit and Americans were left behind in Kabul. Thousands of Afghans were also left stranded as the Taliban reclaimed control of the country.
“No mention of the Afghanistan withdrawal last year in Biden’s SOTU speech,” Rogin tweeted. “It’s almost as if the administration doesn’t want to talk about the thousands of Afghans we left behind.”
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Rogin added Syria and China as crises or threats Biden avoided Tuesday night. Biden made only passing references to China.
Former speechwriters and communications experts for top elected officials and Cabinet secretaries agreed that Biden’s speech was lacking in foreign policy leadership.
“And except for a couple passing references to China, which are not nearly enough, this speech was lacking in addressing other national security matters,” David Wilezol, president of ghostwriting firm Seventh Floor Strategies and former chief speechwriter at the State Department, told Fox News Digital. “Thats not surprising, given the disaster the Biden administration created on our southern border and the rude awakening that awaits Americans if the administration successfully re-enters the indefensible Iran nuclear deal.”
U.S soldiers stand guard along a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.
(AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani)
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Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, was one observer who said he took particular offense to Biden’s omission of Afghanistan.
“It is shameful,” he said, according to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Twitter account. “And its further proof of @POTUSs apathy to the fate of Americans & Afghans still trapped in Afghanistan.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Kelly Laco, and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.