Mar 02, 2022

Foreign policy hasn’t taken center stage like this in two decades,

Foreign policy hasn't taken center stage like this in two decades Not since President George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union in January 2002, four months after the 9/11 attacks, has an American president delivered a speech freighted with as much foreign policy significance as the one President Joe Biden delivered on Tuesday night. In 2002, Bush started laying the groundwork for the Iraq War, decrying a purported "axis of evil" that included Saddam Hussein's Iraq. On Tuesday, Biden called out the Russian authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin for his "unprovoked" war in Ukraine, while making clear that US troops would not be deployed there. Instead, Biden mounted a spirited defense of NATO and its 29 other members, vowing that the US would "defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power." After former President Donald Trump spent years gratuitously bashing NATO and embracing Putin, it was refreshing to hear a US president rousingly endorse the alliance, which Trump's own Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called "the most successful and powerful military alliance in modern history." Putin has long tried to undermine NATO. Now, due to his reckless military assault on Ukraine, that alliance could grow to include more members. Over the past several days, Russia's neighbor Finland, which has long held the position of military non-alignment, has taken a sharp turn and Finnish politicians are now actively considering joining. In his State of the Union address, Biden positioned himself as the leader of the free world. Given what we've seen in the last week, it didn't seem like a hollow boast. Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the senior editor of the Coronavirus Daily Brief and author of the new book "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden."