Biden highlights commitment to alliances on first foreign trip stop
President Biden at his first stop on his first trip overseas as commander in chief said that America is ready to collaborate again with other democracies and he will work to strengthen alliances when he meets with Group of Seven (G-7) leaders in England this week.
“At every point along the way, we’re going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future,” Biden said in a Wednesday speech to U.S. troops at Royal Air Force Mildenhall.
“That we’re committed to leading with strength, defending our values and delivering for our people. America’s better positioned to advance our national security and our economic prosperity when we bring together like-minded nations to stand with us,” he added.
Biden’s trip to Europe will largely focus on attempting to shift away from former President Trump’s “America first” agenda and convincing allies that his administration wants to be a partner.
“Diplomacy’s essential because no single nation acting alone can meet all the challenges we face today because the world is changing,” he said. “Our NATO allies have had our backs when it’s matters, just like we’ve had theirs when it mattered. And now we need to modernize our alliance, investing in our critical infrastructure, our cyber capabilities, and to keep us secure against every threat we face over the last decade and the new challenges we’re about to face as well.”
Trump’s meetings with the G-7 regularly involved attacks on other world leaders and notably, a one-time refusal to endorse a joint communique from the organization.
During a trip to NATO in 2017, Trump refused to commit to upholding Article 5, the alliance’s common defense principle. He later did make clear his commitment to Article 5.
“I’m going to be clear that the transatlantic alliance will remain vital, a vital source of strength for the U.K., Europe and the United States,” Biden told troops Wednesday.
The president stressed that alliances with G-7 countries were not build by coercion or threats.
“They’re grounded on democratic ideals, shared visions of the future, and where every voice matters. Where the rights of all people are protected. It’s the same reason so many of you signed up to serve, to proudly defend and honor the democratic values that are the wellspring of our national strength,” he said.
Biden also previewed his highly anticipated face-to-face in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He told troops he’s going “to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” to applause from the audience.
“I’ve been clear. The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in harmful activities. We’ve already demonstrated that. I’m going to communicate there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies in the United States, and Europe, and elsewhere,” he said.
Biden thanked troops at the base and noted the added pressure they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic to stay safe and healthy.
“We’re so damn proud of you, so proud,” he said.
First lady Jill Biden also gave remarks at the base, focusing on her outreach to military families. The president was introduced by 14-year-old Sydney Glascock, daughter of Chief Master Sgt. Glascock, and Biden gave her a hug when he got on stage.
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