The United Nations’ annual high-level General Assembly week was kicked off on September 21st by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ delivery of what can only be described as a doomsday speech. Shortly thereafter, President Joe Biden made his unimpressive debut on the United Nations General Assembly’s world stage, delivering his first speech there as U.S. president.
“I am here to sound the alarm: The world must wake up,” Guterres warned in his speech. “We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction. We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes.”
Guterres recited a litany of what he described as the world’s worst crises that require immediate global attention and political will to resolve, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. “COVID-19 and the climate crisis have exposed profound fragilities as societies and as a planet,” Guterres said. “Yet instead of humility in the face of these epic challenges, we see hubris. Instead of the path of solidarity, we are on a dead end to destruction.”
The UN’s chief diplomat put his usual diplomatic jargon aside, calling the dichotomy between the wealthier and poorer nations in terms of vaccination rates “a moral indictment of the state of our world… an obscenity.” He condemned “billionaires joyriding to space while millions go hungry on earth.” Rhetorically speaking, Guterres was taking no prisoners.
Guterres laid out a number of divisions in the world that he said must be bridged in order for the world to have a chance to survive. Among them, Guterres noted, “our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial, and technology rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence — and ultimately two different military and geo-political strategies.” Obviously alluding to China and the United States, Guterres put on his diplomatic hat again in presenting this division in moral equivalence terms.
Guterres concluded by promoting his “Common Agenda” for a better world. He said that “Interdependence is the logic of the 21st century” and that “it is the lodestar of the United Nations.”
When it was President Biden’s turn to address the General Assembly, he picked up on many of the same themes as Guterres but did so in a much less dramatic fashion.
Biden called for global unity in the face of multiple crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, technological threats, terrorism, regional conflicts, and aggressive expansionism by authoritarian regimes.
“Our security, our prosperity and our very freedoms are interconnected, in my view as never before,” Biden said.
To the contrary, Americans’ freedoms are inalienable rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. At the end of the day, the United States must depend on its own military and economic strength to preserve those freedoms.
Biden tried to distinguish his globalist approach to foreign policy from former President Donald Trump’s America First agenda, without specifically mentioning Trump’s name. The U.S. “will lead on all of the greatest challenges of our time, from COVID to climate, peace and security, human dignity and human rights, but we will not go it alone,” Biden said. “We will lead together, with our allies and partners, in cooperation with all those who believe as we do, that this is within our power to meet these challenges, to build a future that lifts all of our people and preserves this planet.”
The United States didn’t go it alone during the Trump administration, but it did lead from a position of strength. The Trump administration forged historic peace agreements in the Middle East and led coalitions to fight Islamist terrorists. It strengthened ties with Israel, put NATO on a sounder financial footing, and entered into multiple trade agreements with other countries. It tried summit diplomacy with North Korea. However, the Trump administration managed to do all this without subordinating America’s national security interests and economic well-being to the selfish interests of other nations and to vacuous globalist institutions.
Trump used his General Assembly speeches to confront our adversaries directly and warn them of severe consequences if they threatened the United States or its allies.
Biden was too afraid in his first General Assembly speech as U.S. president to even mention China or Russia by name when he rattled off threats against the United States and its allies posed by cyberattacks, theft of intellectual property, interference with freedom of navigation, and disinformation campaigns.
The U.S. president declared in his speech his intention to work closely with our allies only days after he angered France by blind sighting our oldest ally over the nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the United Kingdom. France announced that it was recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia, the first time in the long history of the U.S.-France alliance that France recalled its ambassador to the U.S. because of such a rift. This happened on Biden’s watch, not Trump’s.
Biden demonstrated his own weak foreign policy doctrine during his General Assembly speech when he sought to recast his disastrous withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan as ending “a period of relentless war” and starting “a new era of relentless diplomacy.”
Biden doesn’t think much of projecting military power to back up diplomacy with relentless adversaries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. “US military power must be our tool of last resort,” he said.
Biden would rather withdraw all U.S. troops recklessly from Afghanistan against military advice, leaving the Taliban terrorists in charge and Americans behind in Afghanistan. He thinks his diplomats can reason with the Taliban fanatics, even with all of our troops gone. Too late. The Taliban are reverting to their old ways. Al Qaeda is back.
Biden said that “as the United States seeks to rally the world to action, we will lead not just with the example of our power but, God willing, with the power of our example.” What kind of example did the Biden administration think it was setting when it ordered an “over the horizon” drone attack that ended up killing an innocent aid worker and nine family members, including seven children, and then wouldn’t come clean until the press exposed what actually happened?
Biden would also rather rely on globalist institutions like the UN that often sink to the lowest common denominator of a membership that includes many autocratic regimes.
“We’re back at the table in international forums, especially the United Nations,” Biden boasted to the dignitaries and other attendees listening to him in the General Assembly chamber. Biden thinks it is a good thing that his administration is having the United States rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement that China and other countries have been exploiting to America’s disadvantage. He is proud that the U.S. is running to retake a seat in the dysfunctional, misnamed UN Human Rights Council next year.
Biden drew his oft-repeated line between democracies and autocratic regimes. “The future belongs to those who give their people the ability to breathe free, not those who seek to suffocate their people with an iron hand authoritarianism,” Biden declared. “The authoritarians of the world, they seek to proclaim the end of the age of democracy, but they’re wrong.” Not if China has anything to say about it and the U.S. continues to stumble because of the mistakes of its weak current commander-in-chief.
All in all, Biden’s speech contained little that we haven’t heard multiple times before.
The only real news in the speech was Biden’s vow to seek congressional approval for doubling the significant amount of funding the United States has already committed to “public international financing” to help developing nations tackle the climate crisis. China, by the way, has maneuvered itself into still being deemed a “developing” nation, part of its deceptive means to manipulate globalist institutions and obtain special concessions.
President Biden’s UN General Assembly speech received tepid applause. “During Biden’s speech,” according to pool reporting from the General Assembly chamber, “the Austrian Chancellor seemed not entertained, checking his phone, then he started examining his UNGA badge and cracking his fingers following that.”
Joe Biden failed to impress even his fellow globalists. His UN General Assembly debut as U.S. president came up short of what a competent U.S president, confident in his country’s exceptionalism, could have accomplished.
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