Joe Biden examined his foreign agenda on Tuesday before the UN General Assembly, questioned in recent weeks by the crisis in Afghanistan and that of nuclear submarines. With a strong commitment to multilateralism, the US president has defended international cooperation to face global threats such as climate change and the covid-19 pandemic, the initial headlines of his message, but he has also addressed a wide range of issues. international organizations, from their support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the fight against hunger in the world. Just seven months after arriving at the White House, Biden made his speech a declaration of intent not without answers and explanations to the criticisms of his allies, irritated by the disbandment of Afghanistan or the pact against China in the Pacific. But he has also tried to sound hopeful, ruling out the existence or even the risk of a new cold war between the West and China.
The most powerful message, advanced the day before by the White House, was precisely the one addressed to China, although without naming it. “We are not looking for a new cold war, or a world divided into rigid blocs, but the US will oppose any attempt by powerful countries to dominate those that are weaker,” he said. The only explicit reference to Beijing was sidelong: “We must denounce abuses like those in Xinjiang and Ethiopia.” The Chinese regime is in the crosshairs of the international community for the repression of the Uighurs, the Muslim majority in the region. The Biden Administration adopted new sanctions on Monday for the ongoing conflict in the Ethiopian region of Tigray.
The White House has been categorical in rejecting fears of a reissue of the bloc conflict that defined part of the 20th century, encouraged this weekend by UN Secretary General António Guterres. But the dissonance between Washington and the head of global diplomacy seems to persist, judging by the Portuguese’s statements on Tuesday: “The world has never been so threatened or so divided (…) I am afraid that we are sliding towards two different sets of economic factors, commercial, financial and technological norms, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence and, ultimately, two military and geopolitical strategies. A recipe for a conflict much less predictable than the cold war, ”Guterres concluded in his inaugural address to the 76th General Assembly.
More optimistic, or at least confident, than the Portuguese, the dominant melody of Biden’s speech was the chant of multilateralism as a solution to avoid these unfathomable dangers. “The US will turn to multilateral institutions to manage challenges such as those in the Indo-Pacific region [en alusión al pacto de seguridad estratégica contra China], and will not use force except as a last resort, “he said at the beginning of his speech. Likewise, it will only undertake military actions abroad that are “clear and feasible”, an allusion to the lost war in Afghanistan after 20 years of intervention and heavy investment. The US is not the same country today as it was in 2001, he added, when the Al Qaeda attacks provoked intervention in the Central Asian country, and it is “much better prepared” to respond to the “global terrorist threat.” “Terrorism is real and hits everywhere,” he said, while candidly calling on the Taliban to respect human rights and defend the rights of Afghan girls and women, for their “contribution to society in all levels”.
In addition to promising 10 billion dollars to fight hunger “in the United States and in the world,” the world population needs new mechanisms to guarantee and finance global health security, the Democrat said in reference to the pandemic, so Washington will announce new commitments to advance the fight against covid. It will also work with Congress to double aid to least developed countries to help them combat climate change. “The US will lead this response [a la covid-19 y el cambio climático], but he is not going to do it alone ”, he affirmed. Under the umbrella of the UN’s big week, a parallel forum is being developed, at the request of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to prepare for the next COP26 in Glasgow. For the Biden Administration, the challenge of climate change is a fundamental axis of its domestic agenda.
The only concrete announcement of his speech was precisely on the financing of the global fight against climate change – a “reason for pride”, defined by Biden – which involves doubling the amount offered in April (about $ 5.6 billion a year). year), an insufficient amount according to environmental organizations. With Biden’s promise on Tuesday, the United States would now allocate up to $ 11.2 billion a year to the environmental cause.
With regard to Iran, Biden reiterated his Administration’s commitment to prevent the Ayatollah regime from equipping itself with a nuclear weapon, while making clear his intention to “return to the international nuclear agreement with Tehran”, if the country “does the same.” He also expressed his determined commitment, through “serious and sustainable diplomacy”, to advance the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
In what was undoubtedly a jug of cold water for one of the parties – the weaker one – Biden insisted that the “two-state solution” to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is “the best option” to ensure peace and stability in the area, although he acknowledged that it is still “a long way off.” “We are very far from that goal at the moment, but we must never allow ourselves to abandon the possibility of progress,” he concluded.
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