The US is fully committed to NATO, said President Joe Biden, after his predecessor Donald Trump had railed against the alliance for four years.
“The United States will work closely with our European Union partners to meet the range of shared challenges we face,” Biden told the Munich Security Conference on Friday, at his first speech aimed at world leaders since taking office last month.
Biden said Washington supports the goal of a Europe “whole and free and at peace,” adding “The United States is fully committed to the NATO alliance.”
The president underlined that he keeps faith in NATO’s Article 5, calling it “our own unshakable vow,” and recalled it was only invoked after the Sept. 11 attacks.
His remarks illustrated a stark difference from that of Trump who had criticized European members of NATO for not sharing the financial and military burden of the organization.
Biden, however, noted that he welcomes Europe’s growing investment in its own military capabilities.
The president said his administration is getting close to end the War on Terror that has lasted for almost two decades, noting Washington will make sure Afghanistan never again provides bases for terrorist attacks against the US, noting European partners helped efforts against ISIS/Daesh.
“We cannot allow ISIS to reopen and regroup and threaten people in the Middle East and Europe and the United States elsewhere,” he added.
Biden recalled that he has ordered halting of withdrawal of American troops from Germany, and said he is lifting the cap imposed by Trump administration on the number of US forces that are able to be based in Germany.
Noting that the past four years have strained US-EU relations, Biden said the US is “determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trust and leadership.”
Highlighting the importance of Transatlantic partnership, Biden said “America is back, the Transatlantic alliance is back, and we are not looking backward, we are looking forward together.”
“Transatlantic alliance is a strong foundation, in which our collective security and shared prosperity are built. The partnership between Europe and the US is and must remain the cornerstone of all that we hope to accomplish in the 21st century.”
Stating that global dynamics have shifted and new crises emerged that need attention, he said the partnership needs to focus both on global challenges and the competition among countries that try to divide the world.
Underlining their shared democratic values, Biden said the US and Europe can “own the race of the future.”
“Competition with China is going to be stiff. That’s what I expect. And that’s what I welcome,” he said, adding “We must push back against the Chinese government’s economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system. Everyone must play by the same rules.”
“We have to protect for space, for innovation, for intellectual property, and the creative genius that thrives with the free exchange of ideas and open democratic societies,” he said.
Biden also said challenges with Russia may be different than the ones with China, but saying “they’re just as real.”
Stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin “seeks to weaken the European project” and the NATO alliance, Biden said: “It is so much easier for the Kremlin to bully and threaten individual states.”
Biden emphasized that he is standing up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, calling those vital concern for Europe and the US.
“Russian recklessness and hacking into computer networks in the United States and across Europe and the world has become critical to protecting our collective security,” he added