Biden, in 1st major global speech: We must tackle Iran's destabilizing activity

Carla Harmon
February 20, 2021

President Joe Biden will seek on Friday to rally global democracies and European allies to work together to address a range of concerns about China, but is not looking for a "new Cold War", a senior administration official said.The Democratic president, sworn in less than a month ago, will use a "virtual visit" to Europe to try to re-establish the United States as a multilateral team player after four years of divisive "America First" policies pursued by Donald Trump.

Biden will underscore that democracies, not autocracies, offer the best path forward for the world, after the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters made clear that democracy was fragile.

"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", Biden said on February 4.

"Democracy doesn't happen by accident", the president told the security conference.

Biden will be making his case after America's democracy was shaken at home by the assault on the Capitol on January 6, with many in his audience wondering if Trump was a populist, nationalist aberration or sign of things to come in the U.S.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to share surplus vaccine doses with developing countries and expressed interest in a global health treaty to ensure proper transparency in dealing with future pandemics.

Mr Biden made his address to a global audience as his administration has begun reversing Trump administration policies. And, addressing an global audience for the first time as president, he proclaimed repeatedly that the US was back at the forefront of the transatlantic alliance. Biden made numerous appearances as a senator and three as vice president.

"Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years, because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values", Biden told the security conference. Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2017.

He went on: "If we work together with our democratic partners, with strength and confidence, I know that we will meet every challenge and outpace every challenger".

To that end, the White House said Biden would be encouraging G-7 partners to make good on their pledges to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, even as he reopens the USA spigot.

The Biden administration had already signaled a break from Trump's nationalist approach.

Russian Federation has tried to destabilize and undermine democracy in the United States and Europe and elsewhere, Biden said, asking allies to stand firm with Washington.

"The threat of nuclear proliferation continues to require careful diplomacy, cooperation among us", Biden said. "Everyone, everyone must play by the same rules". "We must also address Iran's destabilizing activities across the Middle East, and we're going to work in close cooperation with our European and other partners as we proceed".

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency this week that it would suspend voluntary implementation next week of a provision in the 2015 deal that allowed United Nations nuclear monitors to conduct inspections of undeclared sites in Iran at short notice unless the US rolled back sanctions by February 23.

© Christopher Black/WHO via Reuters, FILE Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization attends a news conference on the outbreak of coronavirus disease in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 12, 2021.

"We are keen to sit down and hear what the Iranians have to say", the official said.

Making his first major worldwide address on foreign policy since becoming president in January, Biden said traditional U.S. allies should once again have confidence in Washington's leadership. He did not say whether he would stick to the deal.

Biden's remarks will build upon his actions in office so far.

He has returned the United States to worldwide agreements and organizations his predecessor left - including the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord, which the US officially became a party to again on Friday after Trump had pulled it out.

His strong criticisms of Russian Federation marked a shift for the United States, after four years in which allies had been perplexed by Trump's coziness with President Vladimir Putin despite the geopolitical threat posed by Moscow.

Other reports by iNewsToday