- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2019

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden vowed Thursday to pursue a “forward-looking” foreign policy focused on multilateralism and to move the United States away from President Trump’s “American First” approach that has hurt the nation’s image and ability to lead on the world stage.

Mr. Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate, delivered a sharp rebuke of Mr. Trump’s approach to world affairs, saying his erratic behavior and failure to uphold basic Democratic principles have weakened the nation.

“The threat that I believe President Trump poses to our national security and where we are as a country is extreme and I don’t think we can afford to ignore it,” Mr. Biden said in New York.

“Make no mistake about it, the world sees Trump for what he is — insincere, ill-informed and impulsive, and sometimes corrupt, dangerously incompetent and incapable in my view of world leadership and leadership at home,” he said. “It is why we have seen such a precipitous drop in the way the rest of the world sees the United States of America.”

Mr. Biden has long held that his foreign policy chops give him a leg up on the rest of the field of 2020 presidential contenders.

The former vice president sought to steer the discussion back to the nation’s role in world affairs issues after stumbling in the opening presidential debate and watching as his lead shrink in the polls.

Mr. Biden said the nation can restore its image by sending Mr. Trump packing in the 2020 election and embracing a new direction that promotes U.S. alliances abroad and makes a clear message that the nation will not “coddle dictators.”

He criticized Mr. Trump’s relationships with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

He said it is time to bring the “vast majority” of combat troops out of Afghanistan and to end support for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen. He vowed to sustain “our iron-clad commitments to Israel’s security.”

“Regardless of how much you may disagree with its present leader, it is essential,” Mr. Biden said, alluding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said he would restore the nation’s ties with NATO, invest more in diplomacy and host a global “Summit for Democracy” to “renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the Free World.” He also said he would rejoin the Paris Climate accord as well as the Iran Nuclear Deal if Tehran returns to compliance under the deal.

If the United States wants to restore its ability to rally the free world, Mr. Biden said the nation must lead by example at home by repairing the democracy at home. He said he wants to strengthen the nation’s schools, do more to protect the election system and make sure “foreign dark money” doesn’t pollute the nation’s politics.

“Democracy is the root of our society, the wellspring of our power, and the source of our renewal. It strengthens and amplifies our leadership to keep us safe in the world. It is the engine of our ingenuity that drives our economic prosperity,” his plan read. “It is the heart of who we are and how we see the world — and how the world sees us. That is why America’s ability to be a force for progress in the world and to mobilize collective action starts at home.”

On immigration, Mr. Biden said he’d reverse the Trump administration’s asylum policies, end the separation of migrant families at the border and stop holding immigrant children in for-profit prisons.

He also said he would bring back the daily press briefings at the White House that have been abandoned on Mr. Trump’s watch.

Mr. Biden said the “fates of nations are more intertwined than they’ve ever been” on issues ranging from climate change to nuclear proliferation and international terrorism.

“None of them can be resolved by the United States alone, or any nation action alone,” he said. “American security, prosperity and our way of life requires the strongest possible network of partners and alliances working alongside one another. Donald Trump’s brand of ‘America First’ has too often led to America alone, making it much harder to mobilize others to address the threats to our common well-being.”

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