In his first foreign policy speech on Thursday, US President Joe Biden declared “America is back” on the global stage and announced to end support for the war in Yemen.
While promising a new era after the scattershot foreign policy of his predecessor, Donald Trump, he signalled aggressive approaches to China and Russia and urged Myanmar’s military leaders to halt their coup.
“American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy. We must meet the new moment … accelerating global challenges from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation,” said Biden.
Trump angered European and Asian leaders with tariffs, fracturing of global alliances, and threats to withdraw US troops. He did little to push back against a wave of authoritarianism in some countries.
After a Trump-inspired mob attacked the US Capitol on Jan 6, protesting Biden’s election win, foreign allies and rivals alike expressed doubts about the health of American democracy.
Biden’s speech on Thursday was a full-throated attempt to vanquish those doubts, and convince Americans of the value of a forceful international approach.
“Investing in our diplomacy isn’t something we do just because it’s the right thing to do for the world,” he said. “We do it in order to live in peace, security and prosperity. We do it because it’s in our own naked self-interest.”