In his address to world leaders at the Munich Security Conference, President Joe Biden said “democratic progress is under assault.” Biden’s statements represent a forceful about-face from the previous administration and a return to the global stage, reversing the Trump administration’s more isolationist policies.
“We’re at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all of the challenges we face, from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic, that autocracy is the best way forward, they argue, and those who understand that democracy is essential, essential to meeting those challenges,” Biden said during the virtual session.
“Historians are going to examine and write about this moment as an inflection point, as I said. And I believe with every ounce of my being that democracy will and must prevail,” he added.
In affirming his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the transatlantic alliance between the United States and Europe, Biden also repudiated Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, for continued aggression.
“Putin seeks to weaken the European project and our NATO alliance. He wants to undermine the transatlantic unity and its resolve because it’s so much easier for the Kremlin to bully and threaten individual states than it is to negotiate with a strong and closely-aligned transatlantic community,” he said.
Biden’s remarks come after he affirmed his commitment to the Group of 7 a few hours earlier. G7 leaders pledged to make 2021 “a turning point for multilateralism.” Biden announced a $4 billion pledge of support for global coronavirus vaccination efforts, the United States’ return to the Paris Climate Agreement, and the possibility of $2 trillion in support to bolster the global economy.