At UN, Biden Boasts About 'Era of Relentless Diplomacy', Calls Military Power 'Tool of Last Resort'

© REUTERS / EDUARDO MUNOZU.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.09.2021
President Joe Biden made his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, amid growing tensions with allies and partners in the wake of the Afghanistan fiasco, and a major diplomatic scandal with France over a controversial nuclear submarine deal with Australia.
The United States is "opening a new era of relentless diplomacy" in the aftermath of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden has announced.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Biden characterised military power as a "tool of last resort," and suggested that any mission involving the US military in the future "must be clear and achievable, undertaken with informed consent of the American people and whenever possible in partnership with our allies."

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"Today, many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed through the force of arms," Biden added.
"We've ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan, and as we close this period of relentless war, 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, of renewing and defending democracy, of proving that no matter how challenging or how complex the problems we're going to face, government by and for the people is still the best way to deliver for all of our people," the president said.
US 'Not Seeking' Cold War With China

"We are not seeking – I say it again – we are not seeking a new Cold War," Biden stressed, addressing recent criticism by UN Chief Antonio Guterres, who warned the United States to repair its "completely dysfunctional" relationship with Beijing before it turns into a Cold War even more dangerous than the last one.

Pointing to global hotspots, Biden said the US would continue to seek the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean Peninsula, and reiterated that Washington would be "prepared to return to full compliance" with the Iran nuclear deal "if Iran does the same."
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'America is Back'
Biden boasted that his administration was "back at the table in international forums, especially the United Nations" to address global "shared challenges," and cited US reengagement with NATO, the European Union, ASEAN, the Quad alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO). "We rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, and we're running to retake a seat in the Human Rights Council next year at the UN," he said.
The president also promised that the US would do its part in addressing the climate crisis, which he called "borderless" and said requires global cooperation. The same, he said, applies to the coronavirus, suggesting that that crisis cannot be defended against with "bombs and bullets." Biden called for a global vaccination effort.
Biden also addressed terrorism, saying that the world "must...remain vigilant to the threat of terror, that terrorism poses, whether emanating from distant regions of the world or in our own backyard...Those who commit acts of terrorism against us will continue to find a determined enemy in the United States. The world today is not the world of 2001, though. And the United States is not the same country we were when we were attacked on 9/11, 20 years ago."
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Biden did not comment on the border crisis raging on the US's southern border with Mexico in his speech, but told reporters outside the assembly hall afterward that his administration "will get it under control," without elaborating.
Asked to comment on the geopolitical implications of Biden's UN address, Dr. Timothy Hagle, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, says it's "hard to say" whether his promised "new era of diplomacy" will really take place, or is just a vague promise open to a broad range of interpretations.
"Biden naturally has to consider the effect a new foreign policy might have domestically. Republicans in the US Congress generally won’t like it, but even some Democrats will be hesitant to have the US withdraw from the world stage too much. Foreign policy isn’t usually a major issue in US electoral politics, but something like what happened during the withdrawal from Afghanistan, or if some other major event occurs because of the US’s perceived weakness, could certainly become a major issue for the 2022 midterm elections and later for the 2024 presidential race." Hagle explained.
"An additional problem for Biden is that he isn’t seen as a strong leader on foreign policy issues. Recall that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Biden had been wrong in nearly every important foreign policy issue for the last four decades. Added to that is how Biden handled the US departure from Afghanistan and the submarine deal. Such actions are not likely to make US allies feel they can count on the US. Again, however, some countries that don’t like the US playing a leading role on the international stage would likely welcome such a change," the professor added.
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