The war in Ukraine changes focus ::


– Just over a week ago, President Joe Biden’s first speech on the state of the Union was focused mainly internally, addressing the economic and public health concerns of the United States.

Here are the key findings from Biden’s address.


Speech and the war in Ukraine gave Biden both a platform and an urgent reason to speak of the struggle between democracy and autocracy not as an abstraction but as an urgent reality.

Biden has repeatedly spoken of the battle between the values ​​of liberal democracies and autocrats, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the greatest foreign policy challenge facing the world.

But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the astonishing unity that the United States and European allies have demonstrated in response – have given the president an opportunity to speak on the issue to a global audience.

“In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracy is rising to this point, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security,” Biden said: “This is a real test. It will take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people. «

He noted that the West has united against tough sanctions that “block Russia’s access to technologies that undermine its economic power and weaken its military forces for years to come,” he announced sanctions in the news to close US airspace to all Russians. flights. and paid tribute to the Ukrainian people for “repelling with pure courage.”


For most of his first year in office, Biden found himself at the center of cultural wars. With his “State of the Union”, the president, who made his long career in politics living in an ideological milieu, had moments when he sought to turn to the center.

He dismissed those to the left of his party who are in favor of cutting police funding in the midst of national reasoning about police in black communities.

“We all have to agree: the answer is not to deprive the police. The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training needed to protect our communities. ”

After months of being beaten by Republicans for immigration, he allowed “we need to secure the border and fix the immigration system.” But he also urged Republicans – and the American public – to look at the issue pragmatically, hinting that the country’s worker becomes smaller as the country emerges from a coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s not just right – it’s economically reasonable,” Biden said.


While he appeals to the higher ideals of democracy, Biden believes many Americans will handle the war through prices rather than geopolitical risks.

This is a stunning contrast in priorities as Ukrainians ask the U.S. and their allies for weapons to defend themselves, while the U.S. and Europe focus primarily on energy spending in their own economies, which tend to experience growth rather than growth. existence.

“I am taking decisive action to ensure that the pain of our sanctions is directed at Russia’s economy – and I will use all available tools to protect American businesses and consumers,” Biden said, announcing the planned release of another 30 million. barrels of oil from U.S. oil reserves. According to the AAA, gasoline prices average $ 3.61 per gallon. But much of that growth came in the last year, not on Russia’s machinations.

This is a sign that Biden sees that his own political wealth relies on family budgets and lowers inflation, perhaps even more than the land war in Europe.


Biden almost said that – the motto that disappeared from his political program of the day: “Back is better.” Or, WWII. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a crucial choice of Democrats in the Senate, divided equally, declared the BBB dead without a eulogy.

Biden, outlining his agenda, instead said, “I call it the creation of a better America.” So what does it look like? It is very similar to his previous agenda, except that it has been reduced.

The price cap on prescription drugs remains mixed. Just like the policy to combat climate change, which is now being shown as a way to reduce energy costs for families. Financial support to limit childcare costs still exists, although the extended tax credit for children from the coronavirus assistance package does not work. Universal kindergarten remains a priority, but the main goal of this whole policy is no longer to win the future, as Biden once argued. It’s all about lowering inflation, a problem that is hampering Biden’s popularity here and now.


Biden said the country had gone beyond the pandemic, even though it still needed to remain vigilant against mutations. His big argument is that the country cannot change its past divisions, although it must fight the pandemic on a united front.

He noted that most of the country can now be without masks. Most Americans are vaccinated and can get more vaccines if needed. Schools are open and workers can return to offices. “COVID-19 should no longer control our lives,” Biden said, echoing statements he made on July 4 last year, when the disease also appeared in the rearview mirror.

The difference this time compared to the summer of 2020 is not only in the increase in the number of vaccinations, but also in the lessons of omicron and delta waves, which have caused an acceleration of infections and deaths.


The number of words says a lot about where Biden’s mood is now.

His remarks include variants of the word “work” more than a dozen times when it refers to people who work. Inflation was half a dozen mentions, and the forms of the word “price” in the list of accrued expenses were mentioned 10 times. “Pandemic” was mentioned eight times, and COVID-19 appeared a dozen times.

He tried to emphasize the unity of the guerrillas, unfolding the phrase “Democrats and Republicans” three times. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (20 mentions) has supplanted China as a geopolitical adversary, as China has received only two mentions. And there was a clear villain: Putin was called 12 times.


Blue and yellow are the new black.

While the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, lawmakers have demonstrated their support for Ukrainians with their choice of clothing.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi wore a blue suit decorated with a pin of the flags of Ukraine and the United States. Representative Eric Swalwell was wearing a blue scarf.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who had a large paper flag of Ukraine pinned to his suit, had a small wardrobe. (His Ukrainian flag fell as he made his way through the crowded passage to get to his seat.)

Many deputies – and guests – also had small Ukrainian flags. In support of the Ukrainian people, First Lady Jill Biden has an embroidered applique of sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, sewn to the sleeve of the dress near the wrist.

The war in Ukraine changes focus ::

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