“The world is at a turning point” and “the present decade is crucial in the history of mankind.” These words, US President Biden used in his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly, the annual meeting of heads of government. In his speech, he repeatedly called for more and better international cooperation.
As humanity‘s top three threats, Biden mentioned climate change, the corona crisis, and the increase in nuclear weapons. In the latter, he explicitly referred to Iran, that as far as the US is concerned, should not get their hands on an atomic weapon at all costs.
Without mentioning a country by name, Biden said that the US is not looking for another Cold War with another powerhouse. “We will lead the world based on values and our powers.” However, the US will “stand up” for allies and act when major powers try to weaken smaller countries, the president said.
However, the deployment of military resources must be a last resort. “It shouldn’t be an answer to every problem we see in the world. For the first time in 20 years, there is a US leader who is not at war. Instead of continuing to fight a war of the past, we focus our eyes on the challenges of our collective future.”
The US will focus more on diplomatic means, Biden said. For this purpose, existing alliances are strengthened or revived. The call for cooperation is in great contrast to his predecessor Donald Trump, who seized the UN meeting to criticize globalism and defend his ‘America First’ policy.
As far as climate change is concerned, countries should aim for the “most far-reaching ambitions” for climate change, Biden said. In addition, he wants to double the US climate emergency aid budget for developing countries.
He also promised to come up with “more commitments” in terms of global corona control, but did not give any details.
Bolsonaro to protect the environment
Brazilian President Bolsonaro addressed the UN meeting as the first world leader earlier this afternoon. The right-wing populist politician is regularly criticized for his environmental policy and deforestation in his country, but in his speech he assured that Brazil will counter illegal deforestation. “We are committed to environmental protection,” said the President.
Later today, the leaders of China, Turkey, Iran, Venezuela and Suriname will be speaking. Demissionary Prime Minister Rutte addresses the General Assembly on Friday.