Biden appeals to UN to team up on pandemic and climate responses after diplomatic flaps

Biden appeals to UN to team up on pandemic and climate responses after diplomatic flaps
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President Joe Biden implored world leaders to work together during his inaugural United Nations General Assembly address as his own recent diplomacy missteps diluted his message.

Biden's speech marked an end to former President Donald Trump's "America First" foreign policy framing. Biden boasted about the reengagement of the United States with the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Accord, telling delegates that "our own success is bound up in others succeeding as well."

"To deliver for our own people, we must engage deeply with the rest of the world. Our security, prosperity, and our very freedom are interconnected as never before — and so we must work together as never before," he said.

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Biden cited the growing number of transnational problems, including the coronavirus pandemic and climate changes, that require international cooperation.

"Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19," he said. "To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will."

“We will lead not just by the example of our power but, God willing, by the power of our example,” Biden said.

Along with the Iran nuclear deal and a two-state solution in the Middle East, Biden also referenced his botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The withdrawal angered allies, who contend they were not kept apprised of the president's decisions.

"As we close this period of relentless war, we're opening the new era of relentless diplomacy, using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways and lifting people up around the world," Biden said. "U.S. military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first, and should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around the world."

Prior to his appearance, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had warned the U.S. not to embark on a Cold War with China as the two powers compete for influence.

"We are not seeking, I’ll say it again, we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks," Biden said Tuesday, before repeating his pitch for democracy. "Democracy remains the best tool we have to unleash our full human potential."

Biden's remarks were delivered during a week in which French President Emmanuel Macron has avoided taking his call. French officials have criticized their U.S. counterparts for forging a new national security alliance with the United Kingdom to help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines. The pact scuttled a billion-dollar contract Australia signed with France for diesel-electric submarines.

Republicans, such as former Trump U.N. ambassador and possible 2024 GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, have seized on Biden's mistakes after the longtime Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman and vice president claimed the U.S. "was back."

"Biden needs to confront our challenges head-on: China unleashing COVID, North Korea testing missiles & Iran’s support of terror," she tweeted. "He must encourage countries not to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate govt. Time for strength. No more deflection & distraction."

A day earlier, White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplayed the possibility that Biden's diplomatic blunders had undermined his message.

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"Reestablishing alliances doesn't mean that you won't have disagreements or you won't have disagreements about how to approach any particular issue in the world," she told reporters Monday.

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Tags: News, Biden, Biden Administration, Joe Biden, White House, United Nations, Foreign Policy, National Security

Original Author: Naomi Lim

Original Location: Biden appeals to UN to team up on pandemic and climate responses after diplomatic flaps

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