WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday reassured world leaders of America’s commitment to its European allies, breaking from former President Donald Trump after he eroded relationships under his leadership.
Biden spoke virtually at the annual Munich Security Conference, making his first major address to European leaders since taking office a month ago. The President declared strongly that “America is back.”
“The range of challenges the U.S. and Europe must take on together is broad and complex,” Biden said from the White House. “The last four years have been hard, but Europe and the United States have to lead with confidence once more.”
Biden took on Russia for its activities online, accusing Russian President Vladamir Putin — using only his last name — of attempting to destabilize Europe.
“The Kremlin attacks our democracies and weaponize corruption to try undermine our system of governance,” Biden said. “It is so much easier for the Kremlin to bully and threaten individual states than it is to negotiate with a strong and closely united trans-Atlantic community.”
The President announced he was halting a withdrawal of troops from Germany, and voiced support for NATO and its Article 5 commitment to collective defense. European leaders have watched on as the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and say it will take time for them to gain America’s trust again.
“I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship,” Biden said. “The US is determined to reengage with Europe. To consult with you. To earn back our position of trusted leadership.”
Biden never Trump by name but said the U.S. was committed to re-engaging with allies after four years of an isolationist approach by Trump.
“We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world. 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,” Biden said.
“The United States is fully committed to our NATO alliance. We will keep faith with Article 5, it’s a guarantee. An attack on one is an attack on all; that is our unshakeable vow,” he said.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson applauded Biden for recommitting to the Paris climate agreement, calling it “a great step forward.”
“I am a man of my word,” Biden said Friday. “America is back.”