In remarks to world leaders on Friday, President Joe Biden vowed that America remains committed to its foreign military alliances and promised to work closely with international partners in addressing the biggest security threats around the globe.
“I know the past few years have tested our transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined to re-engage with you and return back our position of trust and leadership,” Biden said in a message to the Munich Security Conference, held virtually this year.
“America is back. And we are not looking backward.”
Although Biden never directly mentioned his predecessor — former President Donald Trump — in his speech, the address was clearly focused on repairing relationships with foreign allies strained during Trump’s previous four years in office.
Biden proclaimed that the United States is “fully committed to our NATO Alliance” while also acknowledging “Europe’s growing investment in the military capabilities that enable our shared defense.” Trump had made European government’s lower-than-desired military spending a constant refrain of his presidency, leading to resentment from several alliance members.
But Biden invoked NATO several times in the speech as a lynchpin in global security challenges, including the need to resolve the 19-year military mission in Afghanistan.
“My administration strongly supports the diplomatic process that is underway to bring an end to this war,” he said. “We remain committed to ensuring that Afghanistan never again provides a base for terrorist attacks against the United States and our partners.”
The commander in chief also noted his recent order to halt Trump’s plans for a massive drawdown of U.S. forces stationed in Germany, although a broader review of military force posture around the world continues.
And Biden vowed that “we cannot allow ISIS to reopen and regroup and threaten people in the Middle East and elsewhere” and spoke against Russian, Iranian and Chinese aggression.
But dealing with those issues, he said, will require more than just American military might.
“The single best way to revitalize the promise of our future is if we work together with our democratic partners with strength and confidence,” he said. “I know we’ll meet every challenge and outpace every challenger.”
With just one month in office so far, Biden has not yet offered specifics on his plans for military end strength, global missions and funding. As a candidate, Biden repeatedly promised to provide enough resources for the Defense Department but also to invest more in diplomatic efforts and international aid than Trump.
The White House’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget is not expected to be released until April.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.