Joe Biden Speech on Foreign Policy Transcript February 4:
“America is Back”
President Joe Biden gave a speech on key foreign policy issues at the State Department on February 4, 2021.
“America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.”
Joe Biden: (00:00)
Mr. Secretary, it’s great to be here with you. And been looking forward a long time to be able to call you Mr. Secretary. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s an honor to be back in the State Department under the eyes of the first American chief diplomat, Benjamin Franklin. And by the way, I want you all to know that the press was Benjamin Franklin professor of presidential politics at Penn and I thought they did that because I was as old as he was but I guess not. Anyway, all kidding aside, it’s great to be here and stand alongside our most recent senior diplomat, secretary Tony Blinken. Mr. Secretary thank you for welcoming us today. We’ve worked together for over 20 years, your diplomatic skills are respected equally by your friends and our competitors around the world. And they know when you speak, you speak for me. And so, is the message I want the world to hear today.
Joe Biden: (01:19)
America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy. As I said, in my inaugural address, we will repair our alliances, engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s, and tomorrow’s. American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy. We must meet the new moment, accelerating global challenges. From the pandemic to the climate crisis, to nuclear proliferation, challenging the will only to be solved by nations working together and in common, we can’t do it alone. We must start with diplomacy, rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values.
Joe Biden: (02:21)
Defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law and treating every person with dignity. That’s the grounding wire of our global policy, our global power. That’s our inexhaustible source of strength. That’s America’s abiding advantage. Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks, the American people are going to emerge from this moment stronger, more determined and better equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy because we have fought for it ourselves. Over the past few days, we’ve been in close cooperation with our allies and partners to bring together the international community to address the military coop in Berma. I’ve also been in touch with leader McConnell to discuss our shared concerns about the situation in Berma And we are United in our resolve.
Joe Biden: (03:32)
There can be no doubt, in a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election. The Burmese military should relinquish power they have seized, release the advocates and activist and officials they had detained, lift the restrictions on telecommunications and refrain from violence. As I said earlier this week, we will work with our partners to support restoration of democracy and the rule of law and impose consequences on those responsible. Over the past two weeks, I have spoken with the leaders of many of our closest friends, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, NATO, Japan, South Korea, Australia, to be reforming the habits of cooperation and rebuilding the muscle of democratic alliance that have atrophied over the past few years of neglect and I would argue abuse.
Joe Biden: (04:42)
American alliances are our greatest asset. And leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies and key partners once again. By leading with diplomacy, we must also mean engaging our adversaries and our competitors diplomatically, where it’s in our interest and advance the security of the American people. That’s why yesterday the United States and Russia agreed to extend the new START treaty for five years to preserve the only remaining treaty between our countries, safeguarding nuclear stability. At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s’ aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens are over.
Joe Biden: (05:44)
We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interest in our people. And we will be more effective in dealing with Russia when we work in coalition and coordination with other like-minded partners. The politically motivated jailing Alexei Navalny and the Russian efforts to suppress freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are a matter of deep concern to us and the international community. Mr. Navalny like all Russian citizens is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution. He’s been targeted, targeted for exposing corruption. He should be released immediately and without condition and we’ll also take on directly the challenges posed by our prosperity, security and democratic values by our most serious competitor, China. We’ll confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive course of action to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance.