Despite his calls for greater partnership, Biden’s address — his first before the international body as president and perhaps his most high-profile moment on the world stage since assuming office — comes as many in the global community have expressed skepticism of the United States’ actions in recent months.
For a president who campaigned intensely on a pledge to restore America’s international standing and has long touted his own diplomatic bona fides, Biden found himself in the curious position of reasserting his commitment to transnational alliances following a series of contentious U.S. foreign policy moves.
The United States’ allies in the two-decade war on terror remain frustrated with Biden’s handling of the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, and the Pentagon’s acknowledgment that a drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians has further damaged the administration’s credibility.
At the same time, Biden is still contending with France’s fury over a new trilateral security pact with the United Kingdom and Australia, which saw Canberra renege on a multibillion-dollar submarine deal it had brokered with Paris.
On Tuesday, however, Biden defended his international engagement over the past eight months, arguing he had “prioritized rebuilding our alliances, revitalizing our partnerships and recognizing they’re essential and central to America’s enduring security and prosperity.”
He also insisted America was “not seeking a new Cold War” as certain world leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, have warned of a worsening relationship between the United States and China.
“The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to shared challenges, even if we have intense disagreement in other areas,” Biden said, “because we’ll all suffer the consequences of our failure.”