In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, the US President draws a line under his predecessor’s foreign policy. “America is back,” he says to Europe – and sharply criticizes Russia.
In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, US President Joe Biden announced an improvement in the relationship between the US and Europe and a return to old alliances. A clear promise to bridge the rifts that his predecessor Trump tore in recent years. It was the first ever speech by a US president at the conference.
“I am sending a clear message to the world. America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back,” said Biden in his video message on Friday. Biden thus drew a line under the era of his predecessor Donald Trump, in which relations between the United States had plummeted to a low point. “I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic alliance. But the United States is determined to work with Europe again,” said Biden. A free, prosperous and peaceful Europe continues to be a core concern of the United States.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had terminated international treaties, made the advantage of one’s own country a maxim and alienated allies in a row. Relations with Germany also became increasingly frosty under Trump. The new US president now wants to initiate a change of course. He advocates a return to international organizations and agreements and wants to work more closely with traditional US allies again.
“An attack on one is an attack on us all”
Biden clearly acknowledged himself in his speech on NATO: “The United States is fully committed to our NATO alliance,” he said. He pledged that the US would honor its obligation to provide military assistance. Article 5 is a guarantee. “Attacking one is attacking everyone,” said Biden. The democrat also welcomed the fact that European states were investing more in their military capabilities and thus in “common defense”.
The new US President strongly promoted democracy worldwide: “We have to show that democracies are still good for our people,” said the US President. “Democracy does not happen by chance. We have to defend, strengthen and renew it.” Democracy is under attack in many places, including Europe and the United States, Biden said. “Historians will write about this point in time. It is a turning point,” he said.
In view of the corona pandemic, Biden spoke out in favor of setting up an “early warning system” for new biological threats. It is about “preventing future threats, discovering them and confronting them because they will come,” he said. The World Health Organization (WHO) must be reformed. Turning to the United Nations, Biden added: “We need a UN system that focuses on biological threats and can initiate swift action.”
In his speech, Biden identified Russia as a major threat to Western democracies. “The Kremlin is attacking our democracies and institutions,” he said. Russia’s head of state Vladimir Putin wants to weaken European projects and undermine the transatlantic partnership. It is important to counteract this. At the same time, Biden warned against a return to a “block world like in the Cold War”.
Biden confirms readiness to negotiate with Iran
In his speech, Biden confirmed the readiness of the USA to start new negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program. The threat of nuclear proliferation required “careful diplomacy” and international cooperation. “We need transparency and communication in order to minimize the risk of strategic misunderstandings or errors.”
For this reason, the United States had extended the New Start disarmament treaty with Russia and was ready for new negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program with the states party to the nuclear agreement, from which the United States had unilaterally withdrew under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump. The State Department in Washington announced on Thursday that the US was ready to hold talks with Tehran in the dispute over the Iranian nuclear deal.
The nuclear deal was concluded in 2015 between Iran and the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and China. Trump unilaterally terminated the agreement in 2018. Because of the change in power in the White House, there is hope that the US could revert to the deal. As a prerequisite for this, Washington repeatedly cites that Tehran must again fully meet its obligations.