President Biden delivered his first address at the United Nations Annual Meeting of Heads of State and Government on Tuesday with new words about his ability to return the United States to a position of global leadership after his predecessor promoted “America First” separatism. There are doubts.
Due to the still rampant Covid-19 pandemic, Biden speaks less than his general audience of peers, calling for a new era of global unity against the coronavirus, emerging technological threats, and the growing influence of autocratic states like China and Russia. .
“No matter how formidable or complex the challenges we face, governments and people still have the best path for all of our people,” he said, adding that the United States and its Western allies would remain important partners.
He urged the world to use violence “our last resort, not the first” and defended his decision to end the US war in Afghanistan, the chaotic US troop withdrawal that blinded the Allies.
“Right now many of our major problems cannot be solved at all or at gunpoint,” he said. “Bombs and bullets cannot protect against COVID-19 or its future form.”
But Biden’s efforts to help America, President Donald J. Trump, move beyond his more confrontational policies in the face of growing Allied disillusionment with his administration’s diplomatic approach.
Their notorious opposition to the choice between democracy and autocracy now seems different, as the Taliban have regained control of Kabul and many democratic achievements over the past 20 years have been undone. Covid is re-emerging in most of the world. And the French called their ambassador back in displeasure – not only because of the loss of a submarine contract worth more than $60 billion, but also because it became clear that they were not part of the Allied inner circle.
European Council President Charles Michel said in a briefing on Monday at the European Union Mission to the United Nations that “the basic principles for allies are transparency and trust”. Expressing astonishment and amazement at Biden’s attitude towards France, he said, “And what do we see? We see a clear lack of transparency and loyalty. ”
The Allies recognized the differences between Mr Biden and Mr Trump. But in talks over the past two weeks, he said there were new concerns about the United States.
They worry whether Biden actually supports it, as France’s foreign minister compared the submarine deal with Australia to a “knife in the back”. When you hear about a COVID booster vaccine in the US, they often wonder what to do with global supplies. And when you watch the United States execute the deal with Australia, you wonder if U.S. national interests have taken over the role of a world leader.
Biden and other leaders gathered in New York amid catastrophic climate change, polarized relations with the superpowers, and a devastating pandemic that has exacerbated the global divide between rich and poor.
The event was a serious test of confidence for Biden, who was one of the first to address the 193-member General Assembly. The final speech will be by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will order a day of competing views of the world’s two most powerful nations via a pre-recorded video.
Biden said the world was faced with a choice between Western-backed democratic values and his abandonment of China and other authoritarian governments. But he vowed not to instigate a new Cold War and said the United States would “compete vigorously and foment violence to uphold our values, our allies and our friends.”
“But we don’t demand – say again, we don’t want – a new Cold War or a world divided into hard blocs.”
Climate change and the pandemic are also expected to dominate this week, and Biden plans to host a COVID summit to help other countries improve their ability to make vaccines for poorer countries.