In his first address to Congress, President Joe Biden announced “America is on the move again.” Focusing on renewal and opportunity, he praised the progress of the country in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and ameliorating its economic costs. The President also advocated for a series of bold proposals that require new government investment in health care, education, infrastructure, and climate change.
Looking out at the world, President Biden said, “America is moving forward, but we can’t stop now:”
“We’re in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st Century. We’re at a great inflection point in history…We have to compete more strenuously than we have."
Mr. Biden rejected the view that democracy is on the losing side “because it takes too long to get consensus.” Democracy, he said, is “durable and strong” as long as it lives up to its commitments to justice and fairness. He told leaders around the world that “America is back:”
“We aren’t going to do it alone. We’re going to do it by leading with our allies. No one nation can deal with all the crises of our time –from terrorism, to nuclear proliferation, mass migration, cybersecurity, climate change as well as what we’re experiencing now with pandemics.”
Regarding the People’s Republic of China, President Biden said, “We welcome the competition. We’re not looking for conflict.” But he noted the United States will reject unfair trade practices and the theft of American intellectual property. He also said the U.S. will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific “not to start a conflict, but to prevent one.”
In response to Russia’s malign activities, President Biden pledged to respond directly and proportionately, as he has with the Kremlin’s cyberattacks and its interference in the 2020 Presidential elections. But on areas where Russia and the United States can cooperate to their mutual benefit, as they did on the extension of the New START Treaty, he will seek to do so.
Concerning the threats posed by the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, President Biden promised to work with allies and partners to address them through “diplomacy” and “stern deterrence.”
Because of the resolve of the American people, “Autocrats will not win the future,” said President Biden. “America will.”