Newly seated US President Joseph Biden posted some of his foreign policies in his initial speech on the subject Thursday.
He clearly outlined his goal of burnishing US leadership on the world stage amid challenges ranging from the Coronavirus pandemic and Russian aggression to the rise of China and cyber warfare, reiterating that those challenges “will only be solved by nations working together in common sense.”
He also announced that America was pulling back on its participation in the war in Yemen and taking steps to aid refugees and members of the LGBTQ communities worldwide.
“This war has to end,” Biden said, referring to the conflict in Yemen where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been fighting Saudi-led forces. The president said the US would be ending support for offensive operations there, “including relevant arms sales,” but would continue to help Saudi Arabia “defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“I made clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions ... are over,” Biden said. “We will not hesitate to raise the cost to Russia that defend our vital interests.”
He called the US’s democratic values “the grounding wire of our global power” and emphasized his desire to rebuild “the muscles of democratic alliances that have atrophied from four years of neglect and, I would argue, abuse,” a thinly veiled reference to his predecessor.
“I want the people who work in this building and in our embassies and consulates around the world to know that I value your expertise, and I respect you,” Biden said. “I will have your back. This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you. We want a rigorous debate that brings in all perspectives, and makes room for dissent. That’s how we’ll get the best possible policy outcomes.”
He offered a similar message to staffers upon arriving at Foggy Bottom with Vice President Kamala Harris, who repeatedly thanked the employees present and those joining virtually, for their service to the country.
“We, as a nation, must show both our allies and our adversaries that America will deliver,” she said.
Biden, too, praised the US diplomats and others on the staff as “incredible.” He also thanked the employees’ family members, many of whom, he noted, give up careers to go from post to post with US diplomats.