President Joe Biden sought to reestablish the United States’ position as a transatlantic partner and leader Friday in remarks during the virtual Munich Security Conference, telling G7 leaders: “America is back” –Trump’s ‘America First’ era is over.
Speaking virtually from the White House, Biden described the transatlantic alliance as a “strong foundation” for shared security and prosperity.
In his own speech before the G7, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the United States back as “leader of the free world.”
“As you’ve seen and heard earlier, America is unreservedly back as the leader of the free world and that is a fantastic thing,” Johnson said.
“The gloom has been overdone. And we’re turning a corner and the countries we call the West are drawing together and combining their formidable strength and expertise once again.”
- The leaders suffered from a microphone malfunction – the kind that has plagued many work places struggling to meet online
- Johnson had to ask Germany’s Angela Merkel to mute herself
- ‘Can you hear us Angela,’ Johnson quipped, chuckling: ‘I think you need to mute’
Biden touted the United States’ renewed participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change and the World Health Organization, $2 billion investment in the COVAX plan to speed up COVID-19 vaccines, and interest in reopening Iran nuclear deal talks.
“The partnership between Europe and the United States, in my view, is and must remain the cornerstone of all that we hope to accomplish in the 21st century, just as we did in the 20th century,” Biden said.
He also decried threats to democracies across the globe made by those in favor of autocratic rule.
“Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it. We have to prove that our model isn’t a relic of our history; it’s the single best way to revitalize the promise of our future,” Biden said.
“And if we work together with our democratic partners, with strength and confidence, I know that we’ll meet every challenge and outpace every challenger.”
His administration on Thursday imposed visa restrictions on 43 Belarusians it accuses of undermining democracy in the European nation. Sixty-six Belarusians were also hit with visa restrictions in two previous rounds of punitive actions over the election and crackdown.
“As of today, [the State Department] has imposed visa restrictions on 109 individuals for their roles in the fraudulent Aug. 9 election last year and the violent crackdown in Belarus,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted Thursday. “The Belarusian people deserve free and fair elections.”
Bilken said in a statement that the United States “remains alarmed” over the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko that has cracked down on peaceful protesters, pro-democracy activists and journalists during the months of protests that have followed his election win in August to a sixth term.