posted on Jan, 20 2015 @ 07:58 PM
Third, we’re looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century.
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families,
especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And
tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and
protect our children’s information. If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the
technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.
In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back Ebola — saving countless lives and
stopping the spread of disease. I couldn’t be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. But the job
is not yet done — and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics,
invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty.
In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules — in how they trade, how they resolve
maritime disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. And no
challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.
2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have
all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.
I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not
a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best
scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see
rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and
hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use
it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress
endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international
action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement — the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China
committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now
stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.
There’s one last pillar to our leadership — and that’s the example of our values.
As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new
technology like drones is properly constrained. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of
the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s
why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.
As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice — so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison
that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of GTMO in half.
Now it’s time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It’s not who we are.
As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties — and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and
industry in our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven’t. As
promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more
safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while
Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new
challenges and opportunities. Leading — always — with the example of our values. That’s what makes us exceptional. That’s what keeps
us strong. And that’s why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards — our own.
You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America
or a white America — but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a
chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home — a state of small towns, rich
farmland, and one of the world’s great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every
ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.
Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that
our politics seems more divided than ever. It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws — of which there are many — but also as proof
that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock
for us to ever do anything about it.