19/02/2021 – 20:40 Updated: 02/19/2021 – 20:40
“USA will be with you”, reaffirmed this Friday the president of this country, Joe Biden, to his European partners, whom he warned of the current “fundamental debate” between democracy and autocracy, and called for cooperation against the “strategic competition” with China and the “threat” of Russia. The president delivered his first speech on the transatlantic relationship in a virtual edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in which the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, showed their willingness to work closely with Washington after the distancing of the presidency from Donald Trump.
“The transatlantic relationship is back,” said Biden, who underlined the “unwaivable commitment” of the US with the security of its NATO partners and article 5 of the founding charter of the alliance, which ensures that all members will leave in defense when one of them is attacked. Without mentioning his predecessor, Biden assured that his country’s ties with Europe endure because they are based on the “shared democratic values” and “they are not transactional or extractive” and he pledged to work closely with his traditional partners.
Merkel, who stated that “Germany is ready for a new chapter in transatlantic relations”, considered that the common agenda is “clear” and advocated working on the basis of common values and despite the fact that there are sometimes differences in interests . However, he pointed out that his country remains committed to achieving defense spending equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP), as agreed in 2014 by the NATO partners, and announced that this year the military budget will already reach 1.5%.
China and Russia
Biden, who asked to look to the future on the basis of “collective security” and well-being, wanted to alert his partners to the “inflection point” in which the world is currently, with a confrontation between systems. Noting that he does not want to return to rigid blocs, referring to the cold war, he called for cooperation between democratic countries to prevail against “challenges and defiant ones” and guarantee peace.
The US president urged to prepare for a “tough and long-term strategic competition” with China, whom he accused of failing to maintain Western standards in the economic and commercial spheres. In addition, he warned against the “recklessness” of Russia, pointing out its role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and denouncing its multiple computer attacks. “Putin seeks to weaken the European project and our NATO alliance”, he accused.
However, he called for cooperation even with these two rival powers on “issues that affect us all” and cited mainly the fight against the pandemic and the climate emergency, an idea that Merkel and Macron adhered to in their respective interventions. The leaders of France and Germany also defended, in the face of US suspicions, strengthened European cooperation in the military field. This initiative, stressed the Chancellor, is “complementary” to NATO.
Antonio Martinez. Berlin
“It is time to take a greater burden of our protection. The EU and its key members have to be part of your own security solution“, said Macron, who argued that” an EU more involved in defense “makes its countries” more credible as members of NATO. ”
The Iranian nuclear pact
In a sample of back to the multilateral ring And in cooperation with his European partners, Biden also announced that he is willing to negotiate with Iran and the rest of the signatory countries of the 2015 nuclear agreement, called JCPOA, which the US abandoned under Trump. “We are prepared to re-engage in negotiations with the 5 + 1 group on Iran’s nuclear program,” said Biden, thus showing himself ready to meet the demands in this regard from the United Kingdom, France and Germany, which have remained in the agreement despite the difficulties.
The US president, however, added that it is necessary that this potential dialogue also address “the destabilizing activities” of Tehran in the Middle East.