Joe Biden Recommits to Global Leadership, Reversing Trump ‘America First’ Agenda

Vice President Kamala Harris, left, looks on as President Joe Biden delivers a speech on foreign policy, at the State Department, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden detailed his plan Thursday to end former President Donald Trump’s “America first” diplomacy and resume a focus on global leadership.

“The message I want them the world to hear today America is back,” he said.

Biden spoke at the State Department on Thursday afternoon, outlining his diplomatic agenda and the priorities of his administration, which were sharply different from those of his predecessor.

The challenges facing the world, he said, were authoritarianism, climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“We can’t do it alone,” Biden asserted promising to rebuild America’s “global policy and global power” by restoring alliances questioned by President Trump.

Biden claimed that America’s democratic values were “under intense pressure” and “pushed to the brink” during the Trump administration, promising to help lead the world.

He accused President Trump of hurting America’s alliances with Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, and Australia with policies of “neglect” and “abuse.”

“American alliances are our greatest asset and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies in key partners once again,” Biden said.

As an example, Biden said he would freeze Trump’s order to withdraw some troops from Germany.

Biden’s Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, also detailed the new approach, hinting that there would be a restoration of globalization in the new administration.

“At this moment of unprecedented global challenge, it’s more important the United States show up and lead because the world simply doesn’t organize itself to solve big problems,” Blinken said.

Biden also deployed tough rhetoric criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing former President Trump of failing to challenge the regime.

“I made it clear to President Putin in a manner very different from my predecessor that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens are over,” he boasted, calling out Putin for arresting and imprisoning political dissident Alexey Navalny.

But Biden was more diplomatic and vague when discussing China, describing the country governed by communism as “our most serious competitor.”

“We’ll confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive coercive action to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance,” he said.

Biden did not specifically address China’s actions to suppress democracy in Taiwan, their role in failing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, or their historical abuses on trade.

He told the world that America was still grappling with a history of racism, which he was working to address.

“We’ve taken steps to acknowledge and address systemic racism and the scourge of white supremacy in our own country,” he said.

Biden also promised to defend the rights of LGTBQI (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) people around the world.

He also promised to welcome more of the 80 million refugees around the world, while Trump had significantly reduced the numbers allowed into the United States.

“It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do,” he said.

Despite Biden’s repeated assertions that he would refocus his efforts on global leadership, he argued that it was all for the sake of the interests of the American people.

“We do it because it is in our own naked self-interest,” he said, adding that, “America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage.”


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