Biden addresses G7, Munich Security Conference

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 22, 2021

President Joe Biden declared the "transatlantic alliance is back" on Friday in a powerful speech seeking to re-establish the United States as leader of the West against what he called a global assault on democracy. "The partnership between Europe and the United States.must remain the cornerstone of all that we hope to accomplish in the 21st century", he further said.

His speech came hours after a virtual meeting with other leaders of the Group of Seven (G-7) countries. "The US of today is no longer that one of the Cavalry is Coming!" We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world. "But none of us should fear or resent these changes".

Later in the day, Biden also spoke to the Munich Security Conference online. "And I believe with every ounce of my being that democracy must prevail".

His enthusiasm for strengthening the trans-Atlantic alliance, at a time when the charting a new course for its diplomacy in the post-Brexit era, fits in comfortably for Biden and USA national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

But Biden delivered harsh warnings about the threats he said are posed by Russian Federation and China.

"We're at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face - from the fourth Industrial Revolution to a global pandemic - that autocracy is the best way forward, and those who understand that democracy is essential to meeting those challenges", said Mr Biden.

Saying that the democracies must prepare for a long-term strategic competition with China, Biden said that "how the United States, Europe and Asia work together to secure the peace and defend our shared values and advance our prosperity across the Pacific will be among the most consequential efforts we undertake".

French President Emmanuel Macron also spent most of his speech championing his top priority of European "strategic autonomy" from the USA as Washington focused more on Asia.

It's not Biden's first time to prioritise his Canadian counterpart, who also received the new president's first call to a foreign leader just two days after taking office.

He added: "We must demonstrate that democracies can still deliver for our people".

"In particular multilateralism is boosted through the change in the U.S. government - the Biden administration has already demonstrated this with its first decisions" on returning to the Paris climate accord as well as lending support once again to the World Health Organization, she said.

Macron said that the US for decades had been "totally focused" on Europe that but this had changed with the rising importance of Asia. They say more needs to be done to shield Canadian workers from protectionist policies south of the border.

Biden, who earlier spoke to leaders from the G7 club of wealthy democracies, said his administration was again stressing alliance building, in contrast to Trump's isolationist policies and abrasive treatment of USA partners.

Richard Grenell, a former intelligence official under the Trump administration, took to Twitter to comment on Biden's speech.

Biden's attempt to unite Europeans on the basis of fighting "a common enemy" is also sending a message to the American people in a bid to distract them from brewing domestic social and economic problems, according to Graziani.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to be more diplomatic than her French peer, but was still firm.

But analysts also noted that while the USA defined democracy as essential, the Europeans did not describe it quite as centrally, focusing more on other issues instead.

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