Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Biden draws sharp contrast with Trump in presidential debut on world stage

WorldFeb 19, 2021 01:36PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden visits the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia 2/2

By Andrea Shalal and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday drew a sharp contrast with the foreign policy of his much-derided predecessor, Donald Trump, and urged democracies to work together to challenge abuses by autocratic states such as China and Russia.

In his first big appearance as president on the global stage, an online "virtual visit" to Europe, Biden sought to re-establish the United States as a multilateral team player after four years of divisive "America First" policies under Trump.

Speaking to the Munich Security Conference, Biden drew a stark contrast with the more transactional foreign policy of Trump, who angered allies by breaking off global accords and threatening to end defense assistance unless they toed his line.

"I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined - determined - to re-engage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership," he said.

Several years ago as a private citizen at the Munich Security Conference, Biden reassured participants rattled by the Trump presidency, telling them: "We will be back." On Friday, he told the virtual online audience: "America is back."

The message of collaboration echoed his message during a private videoconference earlier on Friday with the leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, a senior administration official said.

Biden plans to join G7 members for an in-person summit hosted by Britain this summer.

U.S. partnerships had endured and grown through the years because they were "rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values," Biden said. "They’re not transactional. They’re not extractive. They’re built on a vision of the future where every voice matters."

He said U.S. allies must stand firm against the challenges posed by China, Iran and Russia, saying Russia was seeking to weaken the transatlantic alliance and calling for unity to counter what he called China's abusive economic practices.

"The Kremlin attacks our democracies and weaponizes corruption to try to undermine our system of governance," he said. "(Russian President Vladimir) Putin seeks to weaken the European project and our NATO alliance. He wants to undermine our transatlantic unity and our resolve," Biden said.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any such action.

Biden stressed what he called America's "unshakeable" commitment to the 30-member NATO alliance, marking another switch from Trump, who called NATO outdated and even suggested at one point that Washington could withdraw from the alliance.

Biden also arrived bearing gifts - a $4 billion pledge of support for global coronavirus vaccination efforts, the re-entry of the United States into the Paris climate accord and the prospect of a nearly $2 trillion spending measure that could bolster both the U.S. and global economies.

Biden said the world was at an inflection point, but he was convinced that democracies, not autocracies, offered the best path forward for the world.


Biden said major market economies and democracies needed to work together to tackle challenges posed by great-power competitors like Russia and China, and challenges ranging from nuclear proliferation to climate change and cybersecurity.

He took particular aim at China, the world's second largest economy, and its failure to abide by international standards, arguing that democracies must shape the rules to govern the advance of new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

"We have to push back against the Chinese government's economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system," he said.

Chinese companies, he said, should be held to the same standards that applied to U.S. and European companies.

"We must stand up for the democratic values that make it possible for us to accomplish any of this, pushing back against those who would monopolize and normalize repression," he said.

The Biden White House is reviewing China policy across all fronts, including its military buildup and trade policies, its actions in Hong Kong, treatment of minority Uighurs in Xinjiang and its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

On the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear program, Biden said the United States looked forward to re-engaging in diplomacy amid efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal that Trump abandoned.

The G7 countries, who control a little under half of the world economy, sought at their meeting to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic towards rebuilding their economies with free trade and countering China's "non-market oriented" policies.

Biden draws sharp contrast with Trump in presidential debut on world stage

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email