Wednesday Headlines

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has lashed out at President Barack Obama following his Tuesday evening State of the Union address, stating that the administration showed the it has adopted a policy of confrontation and has failed to assess its own actions, reports The Moscow Times.

“[The speech] shows that the U.S. still wants to dominate, and not even be first among equals,” Lavrov said Wednesday at his annual press conference. “They have a more aggressive foreign policy philosophy.”

While criticism from Republicans in Congress was to be expected, several members of the media expressed astonishment at claims made by Obama in his annual address.

“It sounded like the president was outlining a world that he wishes we were all living in but is very different from the world that you just described,” said NBC News’ Richard Engel after anchor Brian Williams listed the current global trouble spots, including a reported coup in Yemen.

“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, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism,” Obama claimed Tuesday night.

On each claim, Engel said the president was wrongly stating the situation.

“On stopping ISIL’s advance. That just isn’t the case,” said Engel, adding that “there is no support for the moderate Syrian opposition” and that overall the speech had a “general tone of suspended belief when he began talking about foreign policy.”

The difference between the world through Obama’s eyes and the world as it is was also noted by MSNBC foreign affairs analyst Andrea Mitchell.

“I think that on foreign policy, his projection of success against terrorism and against ISIS, in particular, as I said, is not close to reality,” said Mitchell in response to a question from her colleague Chris Matthews during a post-speech discussion.

While Obama claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin had been isolated, Mitchell responded, “Yes, Putin is isolated economically and the falling oil prices have hammered his economy. But at the same time, there’s renewed fighting in Donetsk, and we haven’t figured out Ukraine, we haven’t figured out how the NATO alliance can push back. Sanctions have not really worked, and Ukraine is going to need more weaponry, and they have not reached that point. So you’re right, Chris, it doesn’t match reality.”

Boko Haram Matches ISIS In Brutality, Fails In State Building Reuters’s Julia Payne on Boko Haram’s plans to carve out its own territorythat will revive the glory days of northern Nigeria’s medieval Muslim empires” despite a litany of killings, kidnappings, hunger and economic collapse.

“The Islamic state is a figment of their imagination. They are just going into your house and saying they have taken over,” said Phineas Elisha, government spokesman for Adamawa state, one of three states under emergency rule to fight the insurgency.

Does Iranian Nuclear Program Get Enough Scrutiny?
Ariane Tabatabai examines whether current inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are enough, or whether Iran should allow its nuclear program to be subject to more monitoring?


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