Washington: Delivering his last State of the Union address, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that the US remains the most powerful country on Earth.
"The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It's not even close," Obama said in his speech.
The address came amid nervousness in America about terror and the changing economy.
Obama told Americans not to fear the future, while hailing a period of "extraordinary change" laden with both opportunity and the risk of wider inequality.
Hailing "US troops as the finest fighting force in the history of the world," Obama said “no nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin.”
“Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead—they call us," he said in his address.
"Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears."
Obama further accused his critics of playing into the hands of Islamic State by comparing the fight against the militant group to World War Three.
Obama, who delivered his last State of the Union speech to Congress before leaving office next year, said it was fiction to declare the United States was in economic decline or getting weaker on the international stage, despite rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates vying to replace him in the November 8 election.
"Masses of fighters on the back of pick-up trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence," Obama said, according to prepared remarks.
"That’s the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. 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 said, referring to Islamic State by an acronym.
The remarks were a repudiation of Republican criticism of his strategy against Islamic State and, not so subtly, of Republican front-runner Donald Trump`s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
(With agency inputs)