The President of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke for the first time at the UN General Assembly, in New York, at the opening of debates between heads of state this Tuesday (21). The Democrat called for attention to the fight against Covid-19, called for moderation in the use of American military power and called attention to climate change.
“Bombs and bullets will not defend the world of Covid-19 and its variants,” said Biden.
In opening the speech, Biden put the pandemic and possible new health crises as an example that the world is facing a “inflection point”. The US president, then, drew attention to the decisions of this decade that, according to him, will influence the entire course of history.
“We are at a time of great pain but extraordinary opportunity,” he said.
The United States is going through a difficult time in the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new spike in cases and deaths caused by the disease. The pace of vaccination, which started at an accelerated pace, has stalled in the face of American resistance to taking the vaccine. In some states, not even 50% of the population is immunized.
See below topics discussed by Biden during the speech at the UN
Afghanistan and terrorism
Biden briefly advocated the withdrawal of US military personnel who had been in Afghanistan since 2001 — an occupation considered the longest war ever fought by the US. “We have ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan, and we are opening a new era of strong diplomacy, of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways to help people around the world,” he said.
“We are going to prove that, no matter how challenging or complex the problems, government of the people and for the people is still the best way to work for all people,” concluded Biden, without directly mentioning any country or organization.
The US president is facing a crisis of popularity, with the lowest approval since taking office, fueled by the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul – American public opinion believes that the White House failed to guarantee peace in Afghanistan during the withdrawal of the military from the USA on mission in Asian country.
In Tuesday’s speech, he did not directly mention the Taliban. But Biden — without citing groups or countries — said that “the aching sting of terrorism is real.”
“The US is no longer the same country that was attacked on September 11, 20 years ago. Today, we are better equipped to detect and prevent terrorist threats and we are more resilient in our ability to fight them,” he said, citing again democracy as the best way to prevent the birth of terrorist factions.
“One of the most important ways that we can really improve security and prevent violence is to improve the lives of the people of the world who realize that their governments are not meeting their needs,” he added.
Relationship with other countries
Biden also tried to portray the US as a country “back to the table in international forums” and cited the World Health Organization (WHO) — an innuendo to former President Donald Trump, who announced at the end of his administration that the country would leave the health agency for disagreements about China.
In speaking, the US president reinforced the importance of the Indo-Pacific — that is, countries in Asia and Oceania that the White House has seen as essential in light of China’s commercial and military pretensions — and also signaled a caress for the European Union, whose countries are historically allied with the Americans.
The statement follows an open crisis with European Union countries, especially France, after the US signed a military agreement with the UK and Australia.
That deal included a submarine construction contract that angered Paris because the French were already talking to the Australians about this type of vessel. The crisis has reached the point where the chancellor of France calls the agreement a “stab in the back,” and President Emmanuel Macron has summoned ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultations — which, in diplomatic language, works to demonstrate grave discontent.