WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden gave his first major foreign policy speech at the State Department on Thursday and declared “America is back”, while calling out Russia and announced America is pulling back its participation in the war in Yemen.
Mr. Biden’s announcement is just one of the significant changes he said he will make to U.S. foreign policy, including freezing troop redeployments from Germany, raising the cap for refugees allowed into the U.S. and reaffirming the United States support for LGBTQ rights in the world.
The President made clear the challenge will take time but said change will only come if the U.S. begins to work with its allies again.
“We can’t do it alone. We must start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values,” Biden said. “Defending freedom. Championing opportunity. Upholding universal rights. Respecting the rule of law. And treating every person with dignity.”
Mr. Biden also made note of the threat to those values and to the United States’ global standing as a whole due to former President Donald Trump’s actions while he was in office.
“Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks, the American people are going to emerge from this moment more determined and better equipped to unite the world to defend democracy because we have fought for it ourselves,” he said.
The President along with Vice President Kamala Harris used the speech to unveil policy changes, fulfill campaign promises and reverse Trump administration policies, but also to reassert U.S. global leadership.
“We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales,” Biden announced.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will lead a “global force posture review” which will “freeze any troop redeployments from Germany” while that review is taking place.
Mr. Biden’s remarks come amid the Russian government’s sentencing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, with the United States calling for his release. This along with a coup in Myanmar earlier this week have presented the President with a challenge on his promise to promote democracy.
“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 and defend our vital interests.”