APTOPIX Biden

President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Joe Biden summoned the world’s nations to forcefully address the festering global issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses in his first address before the UN General Assembly  on Tuesday. He decried military conflict and insisted the US is not seeking “a new Cold War” with China.

But while stressing to fellow world leaders the urgency of working together, Biden avoided addressing criticism from allies about the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and a diplomatic tempest with France.

Instead, Biden used his address before the annual gathering of world leaders to make his case that the United States remains a reliable international partner following four years of President Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy.

“We’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy, of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world,” Biden said.

The president offered an impassioned plea for cooperation, to friends and adversaries, arguing that overcoming a daunting list of crises “will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity.”

Biden said the US, under his watch, had reached a turning point with the end of military operations in Afghanistan last month, closing out America’s longest war. That set the table, he said, for his administration to shift its attention to intensive diplomacy at a moment with no shortage of crises facing the globe.

“Today, many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed by the force of arms,” he said. “Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19 or its future variants.”

Biden offered a  robust endorsement of the UN’s relevance and ambition at a difficult time in history, and sought to reassure wary allies of US cooperation.

He pledged to double US financial aid to poorer countries to help them switch to cleaner energy and cope with the “merciless” effects of climate change. That would mean increasing assistance to about $11.4 billion a year. This after five months ago doubling the amount to $5.7 billion a year.

As part of the fight against climate change, rich nations for many years have promised to spend $100 billion a year in climate help, but a new study shows that they’re $20 billion a year short. Biden said his new commitment would help rich nations reach their goal.

In climate negotiations there’s a dramatic rich-poor nation gap. Developing nations and others are reluctant to curb emissions further of heat-trapping gases without help from developed nations, which in the words of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are “the guys that created the problem.”

Biden seemed to look past the mounting skepticism he’s faced from world leaders in the early going of his presidency, including criticism that Biden has given too little weight to allies’ concerns on issues that have ramifications for America’s friends on the world stage.

Eight months into his presidency, Biden has been out of sync with allies on the ending to the US war in Afghanistan. He has faced differences over how to go about sharing coronavirus vaccines with the developing world and over pandemic travel restrictions. And there are questions about the best way to respond to military and economic moves by China.

His recent blow-up with France was born out of a three-way agreement between the US, Britain and Australia that undercut a more than $60 billion French submarine deal in favor of a plan to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.

The move is expected to give Australia improved capabilities to patrol the Pacific amid growing concern about the Chinese military’s increasingly aggressive tactics.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday there was a “crisis of trust” with the US as a result of the episode.

Biden wasn’t so concerned. Asked by a reporter as he arrived at the UN on Tuesday how he planned to repair relations with the French, Biden responded with two words: “They’re great.”

In an interview before meeting with Biden on Monday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press  that he was concerned about the “completely dysfunctional” US-China relationship and the possibility it could lead to a new Cold War.

The secretary-general did not back off his concerns about the US-China tensions as he addressed leaders at the opening of Tuesday’s gathering.

Biden sought to play down concerns about China tensions escalating into something more, saying: “We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.” Notably, Biden didn’t utter the word “China” in his 34-minute address.

(1) comment

Jimzan 2.0

Is Biden having an accident in his diaper ?...lol lol The more Biden tries to act like he has courage...the more pathetic he looks. Weak, frail, and clueless...these are the words that come to mind when looking at Biden. He needs to get better photographers and maybe do some airbrushing on his photos...my cat has more courage than Biden...lol lol Biden the Jokes on U.S.

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