Without specifically citing the main political and economic rival of the United States, President Joe Biden said in a speech at the 76th UN General Assembly, this Tuesday (21), that his country is not seeking a new Cold War, although he has sent a series of messages to China.
“We will defend our allies and friends and we will oppose the attempts of stronger countries to dominate weaker ones, whether by force, economic coercion, technological exploitation or misinformation. But we are not looking for a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks “he stated.
Biden also said the country defends freedom of navigation, referring to Chinese claims in the South China Sea; took a stand against cyber attacks, which the country accuses Asians of coordinating; and cited Xinjiang, a Muslim minority region in which the US considers genocide.
At the opening of the session, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, had already warned of the problems caused by a “global division into two systems”. “I’m afraid our world is moving towards two sets of economic, commercial, financial and technology rules, two perspectives on artificial intelligence development and, ultimately, two military and geopolitical strategies. That’s the recipe for trouble. much more unpredictable than the Cold War,” he said.
Despite criticism, Biden’s speech focused on the need for countries to work together to tackle the coronavirus and the climate crisis. The American defended global efforts to expand vaccination against Covid, including the transfer of doses to nations with low rates of immunization.
Biden also pledged to double to $11.4 billion (BRL 60.3 billion) in donations to the international fund for developing countries to fight climate change. Still in the field of assistance, he stated that he intends to donate US$ 10 billion (R$ 53 billion) to fight hunger.
The Democrat faces strong international pressure. The most recent episode involves France, after the US announced a partnership with the UK to supply Australia with nuclear submarines — an action aimed at curbing China’s regional advances. The agreement meant the end of an Australian negotiation with France, which was seen as a “stab in the back” by the government of Emmanuel Macron.
Under European distrust, Biden used UN space, in his first General Assembly speech as president, to reaffirm the position that “the United States is back” on the global stage after his predecessor, Donald Trump, left forums and multilateral agreements.
“We are back at the table in international forums, especially at the UN, to focus on global actions and common challenges,” he said, who also nodded to the European Union and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Western military alliance). Biden also stressed that the country has returned to the Paris Agreement and that it will return to the UN Human Rights Council, which it had left during the Trump administration.
The American president also sought to defend himself from another episode for which he was criticized by the international community: the troubled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan after two decades of military occupation. The operation was attacked by the unilateral action of the Americans and by the scenes of chaos seen after the return of the Taliban to power, which culminated in the terrorist attacks at the airport in Kabul.
“We have ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan and as we end this era of never-ending warfare, we are opening up to a new era of never-ending diplomacy,” Biden told the UN.
When the withdrawal operation was completed, however, the tone of the American president was quite distinct. At the time, he recalled that the US is in serious competition with China and Russia and that its main mission is not “to protect America from the threats of 2001, but from the threats of 2021 and tomorrow”.
In addition to international criticism, the episode, added to the worsening of the pandemic in the country, cost Biden popularity. “Today, many of our concerns cannot be resolved with force of arms,” he said Tuesday, calling for more dialogue around the world. “Strength should be the last resort, not the first.”
Although session chairman, Maldives Chancellor Abdulla Shahid, asked leaders to limit their speeches to 15 minutes, Biden spoke for more than 30 minutes and was applauded at the end as he called for joint action. “We will choose to build a better future. Us, you and me.”