The official text of Bush's 2006 State of the Union (SOTU) address is available at the White House Web site.
For Spain's El Mundo, the message about the Iraq War and the GWOT (global war on terrorism) seemed most important:
Concluir su "misión" en Irak y mantener la lucha contra el terrorismo, dentro y fuera de EEUU, son las prioridades de la agenda de George W. Bush para 2006, ha señalado el presidente en su discurso sobre el Estado de la Unión. "Nunca nos rendiremos frente al mal", ha asegurado.
[To conclude his "mission" in Iraq and to carry on the fight against terrorism, inside and outside the US, are the priorities of George W. Bush's agenda for 2006, the president pointed out in his discourse on the State of the Union. "We will never surrender to evil", he declared.]
My Blue Voice partner Wonky Muse calls our attention to the fact that antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested during the SOTU, to which she had been invited by a California Congresswoman.
Sheehan was ejected from the speech because she had a t-shirt with a slogan on it, the authorities said. Steve Gilliard observes, "The 'slogan' was the number of servicemembers killed in Iraq." Freedom is on the march.
Deutsche Welle's brief early report focused on the foreign policy aspects of the SOTU:
The President of the United States George W. Bush has made his annual State of the Union address to the US Congress. In his speech Bush insisted that US-led forces were winning the war in Iraq and ruled out a hasty withdrawal. The US President did not mention a timetable for the pullout of US troops, saying a sudden withdrawal would abandon America's Iraqi allies. Bush used his nationally televised address to challenge Democrats and other critics who have accused him of misleading the public about Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons capacity andmismanaging the conflict.
Vienna's Der Standard took Bush's grandiose claims for America's mission in the world and his threats against Iran as the most newsworthy parts of the speech:
Die USA müssen nach Ansicht ihres Präsidenten im Interesse der nationalen Sicherheit und des Weltfriedens die globale Führungsmacht bleiben. "Unsere Nation ist dem historischen, langfristigen Ziel verpflichtet, die Tyrannei in der Welt zu beenden", sagte George W. Bush in seiner "Rede zur Lage der Nation" am Dienstagaben vor dem Kongress in Washington. Die iranische Führung griff der US-Präsident mit scharfen Worten an.
Eine kleine religiöse Elite habe ein ganzes Volk als Geisel genommen und unterdrücke es, sagte Bush. Außerdem widersetze sich Teheran mit seinen nuklearen Ambitionen der ganzen Welt. "Die iranische Regierung lehnt sich mit ihren nuklearen Bestrebungen gegen die Welt auf, und die Nationen der Welt dürfen nicht erlauben, dass das iranische Regime Atomwaffen bekommt." Bush beschuldigte den Iran, Terroristen im Libanon und in den Palästinenser-Gebieten zu finanzieren. "Das muss ein Ende habe." Der US-Präsident meinte weiters, die USA hofften, dass sie eines Tages zu einem der engsten Freunde eines freien und demokratischen Iran würden.
[The USA must, according to the view of its president, in the interest of national security and world peace remain the leading global power. "Our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal - we seek the end of tyranny in our world", said the president in his "State of the Union speech" Tuesday evening to Congress in Washington. The president attacked the Iranian leadership with sharp words.
A small religious elite has taken an entire people hostage and represses them, said Bush. Besides that, Teheran is opposing the entire world with its nuclear ambitions. "The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons." Bush accusing Iran of financing terrorists in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. "That must come to an end." The president said further that the US hopes to one day become one of the closest of friends of a free and democratic Iraq.]
Matt Iglesias at TPM Cafe is wondering Which Isolationists? Where?. Bush talked about isolationists during the speech as though they were a burgeoning mass movement. Islesias writes:
I'm not hearing prominent members of the opposition party calling for the dissolution of NATO or American withdrawal from its mutual defense pacts with Japan and South Korea. I don't see Democrats advocating that we cut foreign aid spending or shutter embassies. Basically, I don't see any isolationism anywhere.
Matt apprently doesn't hang out a lot at Antiwar.com, where actual isolationists of the Old Right variety are very much in evidence (along with "realist" and "liberal internationalist" critics of Bush's war policies). But he has a good point. Bush on this idea was following in the footsteps of his father. Andrew Bacevich in his book American Empire (2002) writes about Old Man Bush during his presidency:
But to judge by [George H.W.] Bush's frequent remarks on national security, the most worrisome danger facing the United States lay not abroad but at home. As would be the case with Clinton, Bush professed to be mightily concerned that Americans after the Cold War would again succumb to the temptation to which he believed they were peculiarly susceptible: turning inward and ignoring the rest of the world.
No cause was more important than that of saving his fellow citizens from that error. Decrying the danger of isolationism became a frequent theme of the president's speeches. Bush denounced those who would "retreat into an isolationist cocoon." He railed against those "on the right and left [who] are working right now to breathe life into those old flat-Earth theories of protectionism, of isolationism." He even resorted to unvarnished demagoguery. [LIke father, like son! - Bruce] At ceremonies marking the fiftieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the president declared that "isolationism flew escort for the very bombers that attacked our men 50 years ago," thereby finding the millions who before December 7, 1941, opposed U.S. entry into World War II guilty not simply of bad judgment but of treason. ...
There were in fact few indications that the American people after the Cold War were inclined to "turn their backs on the world"- few, indeed, that they had ever done so throughout their history. But by reviving this shopworn refrain - and by portraying every foreign policy issue as a test of whether Americans would stay the course or shirk their duty to the world - Bush used isolationism as a calculated device for shoring up popular and congressional deference to the executive branch. Bill Clinton would do likewise. (my emphasis)
Spain's El País gave top billing to Bush's comments about America's reliance on oil:
En el discurso, Bush ha hablado sobre la necesidad de mejorar la tecnología para poder reducir las importaciones de petróleo en un momento en el que los precios del crudo están alcanzando topes históricos. "América es adicta al petróleo, que normalmente es importado de partes inestables del mundo", ha dicho Bush. "La mejor manera de romper esta adicción es a través de la tecnología".
[In the speech, Bush talked about the necessity to improve technology to be able to reduce oil imports at a moment in which the prices of crude have reached historic peaks. "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world", Bush said. "The best way to break this addiction is through technology. "]
I'm pretty sure whatever specifics he proposes on this will be some favorite oil industry scheme or some crony-capitalist boondoggle.
Germany's Spiegel also focused on the oil portions:
Er forderte die Erforschung alternativer Treibstoffe, um Ethanol aus Holz und Getreide zu gewinnen. ... Vom Sparen sagte der Präsident jedoch nichts.
[He encouraged research on alternative fuels, in order to produce ethanol from wood and grain. ... About conservation the president said nothing, however.]
Spiegel also reports on Cindy Sheehan's ejection from the chamber.
Think Progress is cranking out comments and fun facts related to the topics of the SOTU.
Juan Cole offers us a yardstick of progress on that energy independence thing (with a mention of Germany's Green Party along the way):
The way you could tell Bush was serious would be if he ordered the Pentagon to use green sources of energy where possible. If a major US bureacracy spent even a few billions on things like solar power and electric vehicles, there would be technological breakthroughs and prices would plummet.
Or Bush could rescind some of his tax cuts for the super-rich and use the money as incentive for green energy.
But as long as Bush, who is as he keeps reminding us, the chief executive officer of the US government, doesn't even require his own employees to try to use less petroleum, then all he is doing is mouthing plattitudes he stole from Al Gore and John Kerry, without intending to do more than flap his lips.
In the old SPD/Green government in Germany, substantial strides were made toward profitable solar power companies, because of government investment and support. That is what a real energy policy would look like, Mr. Bush. Get one.
I described my own gut reaction over at The Blue Voice. It starts out:
Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of a book about the opposition in Communist East Germany. But watching Bush deliver the SOTU Tuesday evening, I kept thinking of the label that Billmon uses for Congress when they're knuckling under to Bush: our Chamber of People's Deputies.
It really seemed like that to me this time. The SOTU has turned into a clown show. Dear Leader Bush delivers platitudes, and every few minutes the People's Deputies stand up and dutifully applaud the wisdom and vision of Dear Leader. It's really become silly.