Joe Biden appeared on the elegant green marble podium at the United Nations this week, as the coronavirus infected more than half a million people every day around the world, as wildfires and floods exacerbated by climate change devastated the earth, and as the United States struggled to prevent a new Cold War with China. In high-profile language, the president has attempted to redirect the world’s focus away from the tragic end of America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, and the recent split with its oldest ally, France. Only eight months into his presidency, Biden He is already trying to reset his foreign policy. “I am standing here today for the first time in twenty years with the United States not at war. We have turned the page,” Biden told the room. “As we end this period of relentless warfare, we are opening a new era of relentless diplomacy, To use the power of our development assistance to invest in new ways to lift people around the world, renew and defend democracy.” The words were welcome, but issues of credibility remain regarding America and the leadership of its new president.
“Biden has an overwhelming advantage at the United Nations, which is that he is not Donald Trump”, Richard Guan, from the International Crisis Group, tell me. “In the United States, we’re used to it. But for leaders who have had to put up with four years of false rhetoric, anything Biden says would be a massive improvement.” At the same time, Gowan noted that the recent wave of crises means Biden will not be greeted with the hero he expected when he first took office, with more foreign policy experience than any other US president. Already, world leaders are skeptical about how far Biden will go to make international cooperation – rather than America First policies – work.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, America’s power and standing in the world has been primarily determined by its military deployment, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in the increasing use of special forces to counter terrorists and other threats around the world. At the United Nations, Biden attempted to craft a new post-war peace agenda. “American military power should be our tool of last resort, not our first tool, and it should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around the world,” he said during a half-hour speech. He pointed out that bombs and bullets cannot defend against it Corona virus disease-19 Or its future variables, or mitigate the problems caused by rising temperatures, devastating storms and deadly famines. Biden emphasized that America’s fate depends on the cooperation and success of other nations. “In order to serve our people, we must also engage deeply with the rest of the world,” he said.
This year’s General Assembly summit has an apocalyptic atmosphere, especially with fewer delegates, all persuasive and far apart. The cave room looked like it was from a science fiction movie. The United States had urge Delegates should stay indoors, fearing that the flood of visitors to New York could become a super-widespread event. After each head of state spoke, a masked worker quietly scanned the platform and changed the microphone head. Biden warned that the world was standing at an “inflection point in history” — the dawn of a “decisive decade” that would “define our future.”
Presidents like to frame their first year in office as a historical turning point or a new era. But this annual summit looks particularly realistic. In an opening speech on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used catastrophic language to describe the challenges facing the world. “We are on the edge – and we are moving in the wrong direction,” Guterres said She said. “Our world has never been more threatened. Or more divided. We are facing the greatest series of crises of our lifetimes.” “The world must wake up,” he said.
The question is whether the leaders will heed his warnings and generate the required political will. During the pandemic, global momentum waned and international muscles atrophied, as governments across six continents shifted their focus to mere survival. Last year’s General Assembly was hypothetical. This year, first-class leaders, including China Xi JinpingAnd she chose to give virtual speeches. The regular set of bilateral or group meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations – where most of the real work is done – has been drastically reduced.
Biden’s main proposal — which will be delivered in a virtual meeting on the pandemic, which he will host from Washington on Wednesday — is to ensure that 70% of the world’s 7.8 billion people are vaccinated before the next General Assembly, within a year. . It is an ambitious and perhaps unrealistic goal, especially since developed countries have already begun to give a third dose. World Health Organization mentioned Last week, 5.7 million doses were administered globally – but seventy-three percent of them went to only ten of the ninety-three UN member states. The injustice is amazing. “This is a moral indictment of the state of our world,” Guterres said. “It’s outrageous.” Across Africa, nearly three percent of the population has been vaccinated. In the United States, for comparison, Fifty-five percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, and more than two million people have already received a third injection. Vaccination rates across most of Europe She is even higher.
On climate change, Biden’s challenges are broader. new UN report Prepared for this year’s General Assembly warned That by 2030, emissions of gases that warm the Earth’s climate are expected to increase by more than sixteen percent from 2010 levels. Scientists say emissions must fall by at least a quarter by the end of the decade in order to avert further natural disasters. Last week, the United States and the European Union announced a pledge to reduce global methane emissions by thirty percent in the next nine years. But these are just words without a binding obligation. Countering the current trajectory will require actions on the part of a much larger number of countries, particularly China. John Kerry, the US special envoy on climate, has so far not succeeded in winning any commitment from Beijing, which argues that it does not want to compromise on Washington’s proposals without concessions in favor of its global agenda. At the United Nations, Biden announced plans to double US funding to help developing countries combat climate change and make America “the leader in public climate finance.” He called on other industrialized nations to “put their highest possible ambitions on the negotiating table” at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, in November. But, on Monday, Guterres warned that there was already a “high risk of failure”.
For Biden, the timing of the UN Assembly could not be worse. many NATO The Allies remain troubled by the sudden and frantic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The final decision was made unilaterally by the Biden administration; Made other timings NATO States practically do not notice the withdrawal of their troops, citizens or Afghan personnel. Biden’s speech at the United Nations was also overshadowed by a sudden row with France, which erupted when Biden announced, last week, that the United States and Britain would help Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines – undermining a long-standing deal under which France would sell sixty-six submarines. $1 billion from conventional submarines to Australia. Selling nuclear technology for the first time to Australia – primarily to build capacity in the Indo-Pacific, to counter China – has enormous strategic implications. But she also burned an ally – again, without warning. President Emmanuel Macron immediately recalled the French ambassador to Washington, in a precedent in a relationship traced back to France’s pivotal military assistance during the Revolutionary War. “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me very much of what Mr. Trump was doing,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
For Paris, the dispute has struck at the heart of the rules-based order that has long been the basis of the Western alliance. In June, Biden and Macron walked down a coastal corridor in Cornwall, during the G7 summit, with arms intertwinedLike lovers. Macron chirp Photo of both: “Now that we’re together, united, determined to make a difference, it’s time to make it happen. I’m sure we will, JoeBiden!” And at a party in July, France unveiled a Ten feet tall bronze replica The Statue of Liberty in the front lawn of the French ambassador’s home in Washington. Le Drian flew for it. “For more than two centuries, across the Atlantic, from one shore to another, from one generation to another, from one adversity to another, we have been writing history together under the sign of freedom and brotherhood,” said Le Drian. She gathered an audience including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. “Brothers of not only arms but also brothers of the heart.” US officials have tried to view the Australia incident as a controversy. But in a sign of the current tensions, Macron canceled his virtual appearance at the General Assembly, and his foreign minister refused to meet Blinken.