America is back: Biden to allies

Washington: President Biden told allies Friday that he hopes to reestablish the U.S. as a reliable player in multilateral dealings with European countries after four years of “America First” policies pushed by former President Donald Trump.

“I’m sending a clear message to the world. America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back,” Biden said at a virtual appearance at the Munich Security Conference.

Biden articulated a series of broad commitments to European allies, emphasizing the importance of democracy and collaboration on economic issues, climate and national security. His speech last Friday is part of the White House’s ongoing efforts to undo what it believes to be the damage done by the Trump administration to its relationships with foreign allies.

Biden said his administration is “fully committed to the NATO alliance,” using language starkly different from that of Trump, who particularly in his first year as president frequently criticized the organization as obsolete and accused members of not paying their fair share.

Biden stressed that teamwork between Europe and the U.S. is critical in dealing with countries like Russia and China, though he made sure not to cast those challenges as a “new Cold War.”

“Competition with China is going to be stiff. That’s what I expect, and that’s what I welcome,” he said.

Turning his attention to the Kremlin, Biden pulled no punches on what he believes to be “malign” actions Russia has taken to sow chaos across the globe and called on countries to align themselves with Washington against Russian President Vladimir Putin — a radical change in tone from Trump, who often praised Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

“Putin seeks to weaken the European project and our NATO alliance. He wants to undermine the transatlantic unity and our resolve,” said Biden.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy Reuters)

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