Biden Pleads for Democracy Over Autocracy in Rebuke to Trump in Munich Speech

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Biden Pleads for Democracy Over Autocracy in Rebuke to Trump in Munich Speech” – below is their description.

    President Joe Biden urged U.S. allies to uphold democracy in his first major speech to an international audience on Friday, warning that the world faces an “inflection point” in history that could result in a tilt toward autocracy.

    “We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world,” Biden said in remarks delivered remotely to the Munich Security Conference. “Between those who argue that — given all of the challenges we face, from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic — autocracy is the best way forward and those who understand that democracy is essential to meeting those challenges.”

    The new U.S. president seeks to persuade other industrialized democracies that his country is ready to repair alliances and work collectively to confront global challenges, abandoning the “America First” posture of the Trump administration. In the opening minutes of his speech, Biden committed to observe NATO’s mutual defense guarantee, known as Article 5 — something former President Donald Trump initially declined to do while president, sparking controversy.

    “We’ll keep faith with Article 5,” Biden said. “It’s a guarantee. An attack on one is an attack on all. That is our unshakable vow.”

    Biden also said he had ordered a halt to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Germany that Trump directed shortly before leaving office, a move interpreted by the U.S. ally as a snub of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor who was an occasional foil for the former president.

    Unlike his predecessor — who often complained that the U.S. had been exploited by its partners and demanded trade and defense concessions from longtime allies — Biden argued that partnerships “rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values” would pay the greatest dividends. U.S. relationships “are not transactional” or “extractive,” an implicit repudiation of former President Donald Trump.

    Domestic strife in the U.S. and Europe has left “democratic progress under assault,” Biden warned.

    “We must demonstrate that democracies can still deliver for our people,” Biden said. “That is our galvanizing mission. Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it. Fight for it. Strengthen it. Renew it.”

    “We have to prove that our model isn’t a relic of history,” he said.

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