“The United States will be with you,” US President Joe Biden reaffirmed this Friday to his European partners, who he warned of the current “fundamental debate” between democracy and autocracy, and called for cooperation in the face of “strategic competition” with China and the “threat” from Russia.
Biden delivered his first speech on the transatlantic relationship at a virtual edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) at which German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson showed his willingness to work closely with Washington following the distancing of the presidency from Donald Trump
“The transatlantic relationship is back,” said Biden, underscoring the “unwaivable commitment” of the US to the security of its NATO partners and Article 5 of the founding charter of the alliance, which ensures that all members will leave in defense when one of them is attacked.
Without mentioning his predecessor, Biden assured that his country’s ties with Europe endure because they are based on “shared democratic values” and “are not transactional or extractive” and promised to work “closely” with his traditional partners.
Merkel, who stated that “Germany is ready for a new chapter in transatlantic relations”, considered that the common agenda is “clear” and advocated working on the basis of common values and despite the fact that there are sometimes “differences” in the “interests”.
CHINA AND RUSSIA
Biden, who asked to look “to the future” on the basis of “collective security” and “well-being”, wanted to alert his partners to the “turning point” in which the world is currently, with a clash between systems.
Noting that he does not want to “return to rigid blocs” in reference to the cold war, he called for cooperation between democratic countries to “prevail” in the face of “challenges and defiant ones” and guarantee peace.
The US president urged to prepare for a “tough and long-term strategic competition” with China, whom he accused of failing to maintain Western standards in the economic and commercial spheres.
In addition, he warned against the “recklessness” of Russia, which “wants to weaken” the European project, pointed out its role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and denounced its multiple cyber attacks. “Putin seeks to weaken the European project and our NATO alliance,” he accused.
However, he called for cooperation even with Russia and China on “issues that affect us all” and cited, mainly, the fight against the pandemic and the climate emergency, an idea that Merkel and Macron adhered to in their respective interventions
The leaders of France and Germany also defended, against the suspicions, Americans, the reinforced European cooperation in the military field. This initiative, stressed the chancellor, is “complementary” to NATO.
“It is time to assume a greater burden of our protection. The EU and its key members have to be part of the solution for their own security,” said Macron, arguing that “an EU more involved in defense” does it. “more credible as members of NATO.”
In a show of return to the multilateral arena and of cooperation with his European partners, Biden also announced that he is willing to “negotiate” with Iran and the rest of the signatory countries of the 2015 nuclear agreement, called JCPOA, which the US abandoned under Trump.
“We are prepared to re-engage in negotiations with the 5 + 1 group on Iran’s nuclear program,” said Biden, thus showing himself willing to meet the demands in this regard from the United Kingdom, France and Germany, who have remained in agreement despite the difficulties.
The US president, however, added that it is necessary that this potential dialogue also address “the destabilizing activities” of Tehran in the Middle East.