POTUS calls for ‘new era of relentless diplomacy’
UN Photo/Ariana Lindquist
UNITED NATIONS – United States President Joseph Biden addressed the 76th session of the UN General Assembly and said that the United States is moving into a “new era of relentless diplomacy,” in the shadow of frantic departure from Afghanistan and some diplomatic missteps by the White House lately.
The United States angered France over the nuclear-powered submarine deal with the United Kingdom and Australia.
Biden said in his speech to the world body that “Simply put, we stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history. And I’m here to share with you how the United States intends to work with partners and allies to answer these questions, and the commitment of my new administration to help lead the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future for all people.”
He highlighted the end of the war in Afghanistan as a turning point for diplomacy in the US which many see as a frantic pullout “a total disaster’.
Biden said “We’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy of using the power of our development, to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world.”
France recalled its ambassador in protest of the submarine deal with Australia. .
Biden met with British PM Boris Johnson at the White House on Tuesday
He also addressed UN Secretary General concerns on Tuesday, making clear that the US is not looking to start a Cold War and is willing to work with any nation.
Biden pledged to double U.S. financial aid to poorer countries to help them switch to cleaner energy and cope with the “merciless” effects of climate change. That would mean increasing assistance to about $11.4 billion a year. This is after five months ago doubling the amount to $5.7 billion a year.
France called AUKUS, the nuclear submarine deal between the US, UK, and Australia, a “stab in the back,” before canceling a gala in Washington D.C. and pulling their ambassadors from the US and Australia.
The initiative, which was meant to send a warning signal to China and repair a slight to Australia over the Afghanistan withdrawal, caused outrage after it upended a French defense contract worth at least $66 billion to sell diesel-powered submarines to Australia.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there was a “crisis of trust” with the US over the issue.
Biden emphasized his administration’s goal to participate in international forums and “spur global action on shared challenges,” cited the decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and to return to the Human Rights Council.
He said in his speech that “As the United States seeks to rally the world to action, we will lead not just with an example of our power, but God willing, the power of our example.”
Biden defended the US’ use of force against terrorist threats but said it must be used with caution.
“Using US military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first. It should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around the world.”
Biden highlighted the need to seek improvement of life for people all around the world, especially those whose governments are not serving their needs.
He stressed “Corruption fuels inequality, siphons off a nation’s resources, spreads across borders and generates human suffering. [It] is nothing less than a national security threat in the 21st century.”
“Let me be clear, I am not agnostic about the future we want for the world,” he later added. “The future will belong to those who embrace human dignity. Not trample it. The future belongs to those who unleash the potential of their people, not those who stifle it.”
Biden himself has been slammed for corruption over his son Hunter Biden’s business deals in China that allegedly set aside “10% for the big guy,” Joe Biden, as well as the father-son duo’s connection with a Ukrainian energy firm.
The first son still appears to own 10 percent of an investment fund controlled by Chinese state-owned entities. The fund was formed 12 days after Hunter Biden joined his father aboard Air Force Two for a December 2013 trip to Beijing.
Biden pointed to journalists, women, human rights activists and other protestors in countries like Belarus, Syria and Sudan as evidence that people have to work every day to defend their rights.
“I can tell you where America stands, we will choose to build a better future, we, you and I. We have the will and capacity to make it better,” the president concluded. “Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to waste any more time. Let’s get to work. Let’s make our future better now. It’s within our power and our capacity.”
Biden will host a bilateral meeting in New York with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at noon before heading back to the White House to meet with the British PM Boris Johnson.
Biden met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ahead of Tuesday’s address, during which Biden repeated his mantra “America is back” and that “we believe in the United Nations and its values.”
“The vision of the United Nations has never been short in ambition, any more than our Constitution,” Biden added.
“Ambition matters. Today, governments must continue to work together in a system to build on international law to deliver equitable prosperity, peace and security for everyone. This is as vital and important today as it was 76 years ago.”
Biden administration came under fire for a military airstrike launched last month in response to the ISIS-K suicide bomb that killed 13 US service members.
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, admitted 10 civilians were killed in the strike, including a number of children.
The Pentagon initially said the strike was successful and had killed those with connections to ISIS-K, before having to walk that claim back after it was first reported by the New York Times.
By Anjali Sharma