Wednesday, 24 February, 2021


'America is back,' Biden tells security summit, vows 'unshakeable' North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commitment

Yahoo News Biden: Standing up for Ukraine "vital concern" for Europe, U.S.
Patty Aguilar | 20 February, 2021, 17:42

The session was crunched down to a video meeting by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, this year's host, and the European leaders made a decision to do the same for a brief, closed meeting of the Group of 7 allies that Biden also participated in.

And in a nod to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the policies of the president's predecessor, Biden would "acknowledge that democracy is under stress, democratic institutions are under stress, under challenge in the United States" as they are elsewhere, the official told reporters Thursday evening.

The return of the United States - effective Friday - to the Paris climate agreement was proof of Washington's intentions, he said.

It remains to be seen how G-7 allies will take Biden's calls for greater worldwide cooperation on vaccine distribution given that the us refused to take part in the initiative under Trump and that there are growing calls for the Democrat's administration to distribute some USA -manufactured vaccine supplies overseas. "Democracy doesn't happen by accident", the president said. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it.

His enthusiasm for strengthening the trans-Atlantic alliance, at a time when the U.K.is charting a new course for its diplomacy in the post-Brexit era, fits in comfortably for Biden and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Iran has been gradually abandoning its commitments under the deal in response to sanctions imposed under U.S. President Donald Trump, who pulled the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018.

But his comments came in the wake of a missile attack on a military base housing United States and coalition forces in northern Iraq that killed a foreign contractor working for the USA military and injured 14, including a U.S. soldier and contract workers. But he also pressed Europe to think about challenges in a new way - different from the Cold War, even if the two biggest geostrategic adversaries seem familiar. And he argued for pushing back against Russian Federation - he called Putin by his last name, with no title attached - mentioning in particular the need to respond to the SolarWinds attack that was aimed at federal and corporate computer networks.

Joe Biden has called on fellow world leaders to show together that "democracies can still deliver" as he underscored his administration's determination to quickly turn the page on Donald Trump's "America First" approach. The president avoided delving in to the hard question of how to make Russian Federation pay a price without escalating the confrontation. "He wants to undermine the transatlantic unity and our resolve", said Biden. But it was the dynamic with Macron, who has made a habit of criticizing the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance as nearing "brain death" and no longer "pertinent" since the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact, that captured attention.

Nor will USA frustration likely abate at Europe's go-slow approach to meeting NATO's goal that each member spend at least 2% of its gross domestic product on its defense.

But while such happy talk conveyed the palpable sense of relief among allies at Biden's full-throated commitment to mending frayed U.S. -Europe relations, plenty has changed over the past four years in ways creating new challenges.

"The United States is determined, determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, earn back our position of trusted leadership", he said. Biden also halted plans to remove 12,000 troops from Germany, which Trump had proposed in part to punish the country for not spending enough on its military. "We must take more of the burden of our own protection", he said. When Islamic revolutionaries took over Iran in 1979, forcing the shah to flee to the USA, militants seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for more than a year, demanding the shah's return. "Competition with China is going to be stiff". Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values, he said.

Speaking from Washington, Biden told his remote audience that "the partnership between the European Union and the USA must be the cornerstone of everything we must accomplish in the 21st century, just as it was in the 20th century". While Biden announced he would make good on an American promise to donate $4 billion to the campaign to expedite the manufacturing and distribution of coronavirus vaccines around the world - a move approved past year by a Democratic-led House and a Republican led-Senate - there were clear differences in approach during the meeting.

Where Trump called the European Union a foe, Biden held it up as a close partner.

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