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Biden's State of the Union takes aim at Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS

President Joe Biden kicked off his first State of the Union address Tuesday night by condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and praising Ukrainians’ bravery in defending their country. He also vowed to inflict more pain on Russia, announcing that the US would join the EU and Canada in banning Russian aircraft from US airspace. Indeed, some have criticized the move, saying this makes it harder for Americans in Russia to leave, but the Biden administration says there are other routes available for reaching the US.

Moreover, Biden sought to reassure the American people, already disillusioned by record-high inflation, that punitive measures against Russia will be targeted and that he’ll work to protect American consumers and businesses. Acknowledging global fears about potential massive disruptions to gas and oil supplies, Biden announced that the US, along with dozens of allies, is working to release 60 million barrels of oil from global strategic reserves to reduce reliance on Russia’s stock. This has the potential to ease pressure on gas prices and reduce President Vladimir Putin’s leverage on the oil market.

Biden also took aim at China, noting that he warned his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, “never to bet against the American people.” He also reiterated the need to further invest in research and development at home in order to compete with Beijing’s advancements.

On the domestic front, Biden inched to the center, rebuffing the “defund the police” platform that has proven self-defeating for his Democratic party. He also emphasized his “Made in America” agenda and called for big reforms to the tax code.

Takeaway. Republicans in attendance joined the Democrats in applauding Biden's pronouncements on Russia and Ukraine.If nothing else, the United States, it appears, is strongly united against Vladimir Putin.


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