President Joe Biden gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, saying that “democracy does not arise by itself” and stressing that democracy must triumph over autocracy.
“We must protect, strengthen and renew (democracy)… We must prove that our model is not a relic of our history. It is the only and best way to realize the future we have promised. And if we work together with our democratic partners with strength and confidence, I know that we will meet any challenge and outperform any opponent,” Biden said in his speech, excerpts of which were released by the White House shortly before the conference began.
The U.S. president also spoke of the “tipping point” that is now in the global struggle between democracy and autocracy.
“In too many countries, including Europe and the United States, democratic processes are at risk… Historians will study this moment and write about it. This is a watershed moment. And I believe with all my heart that democracy must prevail,” Biden said.
Confronting Russian and Chinese threats
The U.S. president said major market economies must work together to address the challenges posed by other major economies, such as Russia and China, as well as numerous global issues ranging from nuclear nonproliferation to climate change and cybersecurity.
According to Agence France-Presse, Biden stressed that Russia, in his view, had taken “malicious” and deliberate actions to destabilize the United States, Europe and other countries. He called on allies to support Washington. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied such actions.
As for China, the world’s second-largest economy, Biden called on democracies to work together to counter the Chinese government’s policies, which he described as “contrary to our values.
Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to weaken the European alliance and stressed his continued support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“Russian leaders want people to think that our system is more corrupt or as corrupt as (Russia’s). But the world knows that’s not true, including the citizens of Russia know that,” Joe Biden said, “Putin wants to undermine transatlantic unity and our resolve. Because it’s much easier for the Kremlin to intimidate individual states than it is to negotiate with a strong and cohesive transatlantic community.”
In this regard, according to Biden, “upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity remains a vital issue for Europe and the United States.” In addition, combating “Russia’s recklessness” and cyber attacks on computer networks in the United States, Europe, and around the world “has become critical to protecting our collective security.”
The president added that “the problems associated with Russia may be different from those with China, but they are just as real.
The U.S. calls for unity among allies
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual Munich Security Conference is taking place in a virtual format. In addition to the U.S. president, the conference was also attended by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and leaders of the European Union, who had attended the G7 leaders’ summit a little earlier. The theme of the current conference was “renewal of transatlantic cooperation.
The Agence France-Presse reports that Joe Biden was the first U.S. president to address the Munich conference. A senior U.S. administration official told reporters that Biden’s participation in the G7 meetings and in Munich marked “abroad, confident and resolute call for a united Transatlantic alliance and partnership.”