Joe Biden, President of the United States of America addresses the general debate of the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (New York, 21-27 September 2021).
“US military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first,” United States President Joe Biden told world leaders at the UN General Assembly adding in “today, many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed through the force of arms.”
The US is focused on the future and “instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past, we are fixing our eyes on devoting our resources to the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future,” Biden said at the 76th gathering of world leaders in New York.
In those challenges, Biden counted the COVID
-19 pandemic, climate crisis, “managing the shifts in global power dynamics, shaping the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber and emerging technologies and facing the threat of terrorism, as it stands today.”
Making a case for multilateralism, the US President said “It is a fundamental truth of the 21st century, within each of our countries and as a global community, that our own success is bound up in other succeeding as well. To deliver for our own people we must also engage deeply with the rest of the world to ensure that our own future must work together with other partners, our partners toward a shared future. Our security, our prosperity, and our very freedoms are interconnected, in my view is never before.”
“I believe we must work together as never before,” Biden said.
He stressed that “the United States will continue to defend ourselves, our allies and our interest against attack, including terrorist threats, as we prepare to use force, if any is necessary but to defend our vital US national interest, including against ongoing and imminent threats.”
Biden outlined the conditions for future engagements: “the mission must be clear and achievable undertaking with informed consent of the American people, and whenever possible, in partnership with our allies.”
He also said “we reserve the right to respond decisively to cyber-attacks that threaten our people, our allies and our interest. We will pursue new rules of global trade and economic growth, to strive to level the playing field, so that is not artificially tipped in favor of any one country at the expense of others. And every nation has right and opportunity to compete fairly.”
On Iran, the US President said his country “remains committed to preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapon” by working with the P5+1 group of countries (US UK, France, Russian Federation and China plus Germany) “to engage Iran diplomatically and seek to return to JCPOA. We're prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same.”
With the US out of Afghanistan
war, it is the first time in twenty years for the US President to stand in front of the General Assembly “with United States not at war,” Biden remarked.
“We've turned the page,” he said. “All the unmatched strength, energy and commitment, will and resources of our nation are now fully and squarely focused on what's ahead of us. Not what was behind.”
US President ended saying “I know this: as we look ahead, we will lead. We will lead on all the greatest challenges of our time - from COVID
to climate, peace and security, human dignity and human rights - but we will not go alone. We will lead together with our allies and partners and in cooperation with all those who believe as we do that this is within our power, to meet these challenges.”