mandag 22. februar 2021

Biden sought to rally U.S. allies in Munich, but unity will prove difficult as China’s influence grows

It was by design that Joe Biden deployed the term “inflection point” three times in his most significant foreign policy speech as president on Friday. He wanted to ensure the historic weight of his words was not missed. Above all, he wanted his virtual audience at the Munich Security Conference to hear that global democracies faced a defining moment in their accelerating contest with authoritarianism, and that they dare not underestimate the stakes. It is an argument I have made frequently in this space, but one that had not yet been so clearly articulated by a U.S. president.

“We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future and direction of our world,” Biden said to a receptive audience, though it was also an audience unsettled by the sudden, if welcome, shift from the cold shower of President Trump’s America First to the global embrace of his successor.

“We are at an inflection point,” Biden said, “between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face, from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic, that autocracy is the best way forward … and those who understand that democracy is essential, essential to meeting those challenges.”