President Joe Biden made his pitch to European allies to welcome back American leadership and to join his administration in competing against China’s growing ambitions Friday.
Biden made the call in his address to the virtual Munich Security Conference in Germany, saying former President Donald Trump had abdicated America’s role of leading Western democracies and the world. He said “America is back,” and called on leaders to join the U.S. in competition against China and in thwarting Russia’s repeated cyber attacks against the U.S. and elsewhere.
“The United States, we’ll do our part. We’ll stand with you. We’ll fight for our shared values. We’ll meet the challenges of this new moment in history,” he said.
“Competition with China is going to be stiff. That’s what I expect. And that’s what I welcome,” Biden says, adding the U.S. and European partners can “own the race of the future.”
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) February 19, 2021
President Biden pointedly criticized Russia and its threat to democracies. He said, “The Kremlin attacks our democracies … It’s so much easier for the Kremlin to bully & intimidate individual states.”
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) February 19, 2021
Biden’s administration has prioritized America’s success over China since coming into power. Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin created a task force in early February to review U.S. policy and force posture entirely.
Biden also called on U.S. allies to join him in pressuring Iran to re-enter the Iran Nuclear Deal, which Trump took the U.S. out of in 2018. Iran has openly failed to uphold its end of the agreement since Trump reimposed sanctions, though Trump argued Iran was already doing so regardless. (RELATED: Iran Ends Nuclear Deal Commitment, Will No Longer Limit Uranium Enrichment)
Biden’s administration has said it is willing to re-enter the nuclear deal but that it won’t withdraw sanctions until Iran returns to upholding its end of the bargain.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken said before his confirmation Iran could have enough fissile material to create a nuclear bomb in “a matter of weeks” if it and the U.S. do not rejoin the nuclear deal.
While there is a separate timeline for creating a working nuclear bomb once the fissile material has been obtained, Iran is much closer to obtaining the material than it was under the Iran Deal, Blinken told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. Blinken argued that Iran was at least a year away from obtaining sufficient fissile material under former President Barack Obama’s Iran deal.
“The time that it would take Iran – based on public reports, the time that it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is down to, we think, a few months,” he said at the time. “So that’s a real problem, and it’s a problem that could get more acute, because if Iran continues to lift some of these restraints imposed by the agreement, that could get down to a matter of weeks.”