Biden Says US ‘Ready to Lead’ Again, Vows to Work With Allies
President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States will be “ready to lead” again on the global stage, turning the page on President Donald Trump’s unilateralist policies as he pledged to work together with Washington’s allies.
Introducing his new foreign policy and national security team, the Democratic former vice president signaled that he intends to steer the United States away from the “America First” nationalism pursued by Trump after taking office on Jan. 20.
The Republican incumbent has unsettled many US allies, in Europe and elsewhere, with a hard-line approach toward the NATO alliance and trade relations and abandonment of some international agreements.
Biden said his team, which includes trusted aide Antony Blinken as his nominee for US secretary of state, would shed what the president-elect described as “old thinking and unchanged habits” in its approach to the world.
“It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it, once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies, ready to stand up for our values,” Biden said at the event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
The world is much changed since Democrats were last in the White House four years ago. China is on the rise and emboldened, Russia has sought to further assert its influence and American moral authority has been dented by turmoil at home.
Biden also has tapped Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US ambassador to the United Nations, Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security and John Kerry as envoy on climate-related issues.
US foreign policy under a Biden administration is likely to focus on more of a multilateral and diplomatic approach and taking new paths on issues such as climate change.
Biden said he has been struck in calls with roughly 20 world leaders “by how much they’re looking forward to the United States reasserting its historic role as a global leader over the Pacific, as well as the Atlantic, all across the world.” Biden added that it is his core belief that “America is strongest when it works with its allies.”
“That’s how we truly keep America safe without engaging in needless military conflicts, and our adversaries in check and terrorists at bay,” Biden said, also mentioning the challenges of controlling the current pandemic and potential future ones, climate change, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats and the spread of authoritarianism.
Biden did not reference the country’s longest war — the Afghanistan conflict — as Trump moves to reduce US forces.
Members of Biden‘s team underscored his message.
“I want to say to you,” Thomas-Greenfield said, “America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
Biden has moved swiftly to assemble his team and make Cabinet choices after besting Trump in the Nov. 3 election. Trump has waged a flailing legal battle to try to overturn the results, claiming the election was stolen from him.
Biden urged the Senate to give his nominees who require confirmation by the chamber “a prompt hearing” and expressed hope he could work with Republicans “in good faith to move forward for the country.”
“Let’s begin that work … to heal and unite America as well as the world,” Biden added.
Not long after Biden‘s event, Trump made an appearance at the White House for the annual ceremonial pardoning of a turkey ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, remarking, “That’s a lucky bird.”