First big appearance at UN: Biden: The age of democracy is not over

First big appearance at UN
Biden: The age of democracy is not over

In contrast to his predecessor Trump, the new US President Biden is offering a new era of cooperation before the UN General Assembly. He speaks out against military intervention and in favor of “relentless diplomacy”. He is confident about the preservation of democracy in the world.

US President Joe Biden used his address to the United Nations to take an oath of democratic values. “The authorities of the world may try to proclaim the end of the age of democracy, but they are wrong,” said Biden during the general debate at the UN General Assembly in New York. “The truth is, the democratic world is everywhere.”

Biden mentioned anti-corruption activists, human rights defenders, journalists and peace protesters in Myanmar, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela. “It (democracy) lives in the brave women of Sudan who endured violence and oppression to drive a genocidal dictator out of power,” Biden continued. The future belongs to those leaders who let their people breathe freely instead of suffocating them “with an iron hand”.

In his speech, Biden also made it clear again that the US did not intend to conflict with China. “We are not striving for a new Cold War,” said Biden in his first speech to the UN General Assembly as US President. The United States did not want the world to be divided into rigid blocks. The great powers of the world have a responsibility to shape their international relations carefully. “So we don’t tip from responsible competition into conflict.”

Biden: USA ready for tough competition

The US President did not explicitly name China. But Biden made it clear that the US was ready for tough competition, stood up for partners and allies, and opposed all attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s video speech at the UN General Assembly is also still expected.

Previously, Biden had spoken of the beginning of a new era of diplomacy, which had been heralded with the end of the Afghanistan mission and which would take the place of military interventions. “As we end this time of relentless war, we are opening a new era of relentless diplomacy,” said Biden in his first speech to the UN General Assembly as US President. Military force only needs to be used as a last resort.

The last US troops left Afghanistan at the end of August. This ended the international military operation in the country after almost 20 years. Biden’s government had recently caused some international displeasure because of the troop withdrawal. The US President had rigorously carried out his withdrawal plans despite warnings from experts and contrary to the line of international partners and vehemently defended his decision despite the chaos during the withdrawal.

“Have to work together like never before”

Biden used his appearance at the UN general debate to make a clear commitment to multilateralism and international institutions such as the United Nations. The security, prosperity and freedom of the international community are more intertwined than ever before. “And that’s why I believe we need to work together like never before.” The US is back at the table of international forums such as the United Nations. The world is at a turning point, and faced with major challenges such as the climate crisis, a decisive decade is ahead.

Biden’s first UN appearance as US President is seen by many as the highlight of the General Assembly. His predecessor Donald Trump had used the stage year after year to promote his “America First” policy of going it alone. Biden, on the other hand, started with the promise to strengthen international cooperation in all areas again.

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