Pentagon leaders stoically followed along with President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech tonight, showcased as President Obama declared the United States “most powerful nation on Earth. Period.” and insisted “no nation dares to attack us” on a night that ten Navy sailors are spending captive in an Iranian prison.
“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close,” President Obama told the crowd to applause, adding, “We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.”
The President later boasted that, thanks to the efforts of his administration, he was able to “prevent a nuclear-armed Iran”: “As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.”
Also occurring as the President spoke, ten U.S. Navy sailors are being held captive by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, assaulted by Iranian soldiers as they attempted to transit between Kuwait and Bahrain earlier Tuesday. The soldiers are being held on Farsi Island, home to an Iranian military base, and Iranian media outlets have reported that their ships and GPS systems have been confiscated. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly expected the soldiers to be released “within hours,” but multiple media outlets confirmed the soldiers are being detained at least until Wednesday morning.
Multiple White House officials confirmed before the State of the Union address that the President would not mention the ten soldiers, with one telling Fox News there was “no chance” of it happening. The President claimed “no nation declares to attack us” instead of discussing a nation attacking the United States within hours of his speech.
The President also dismissed claims that the fight against the Islamic State “is World War III” and instead argued that those alarmed by the rise of the terrorist group may be playing into their hands. “We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions,” he stated. President Obama also noted that regions like “the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia” would be unstable without the presence of the Islamic State, though supporters of the group have been arrested in each of those regions and ISIS is significantly active in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa (Libya and Nigeria), and Asia (Afghanistan, Russia, and China).