Biden Speech At Munich Security Conference: 'America Is Back' President Biden sought to turn the page on the Trump administration's "America First" ethos in a speech to the Munich Security Conference where he tried to repair frayed ties with European allies.
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Biden Takes His 'America Is Back' Message To The World In Munich Speech

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Biden Takes His 'America Is Back' Message To The World In Munich Speech

Biden Takes His 'America Is Back' Message To The World In Munich Speech

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NOEL KING, HOST:

President Biden just gave a speech at the White House. It was his first as president to a foreign audience. He told U.S. allies in the G-7 group of nations that he is leaving behind Donald Trump's "America First" approach.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I'm sending a clear message to the world - America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back. And we are not looking backward. We are looking forward together.

KING: Joining us now from the White House, NPR correspondent Franco Ordoñez. Hey, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hey, Noel.

KING: Yesterday, the Biden administration essentially said it is ready to work with allies on a new approach to Iran. What details did Biden give today?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, he said that this is a tangible sign of the multilateral approach that President Biden wants to take. Former President Donald Trump obviously quit the deal. Biden is now saying he wants to talk.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: The range of challenges Europe and the United States must take on together is broad and complex. I'm eager to hear - I'm eager to hear next from my good friends and outstanding leaders, Chancellor Merkel, about her thoughts on the way forward together.

ORDOÑEZ: You know, and just to be clear, no meeting has been scheduled. Biden did not outline a timetable for talks, and he cautioned that Iranian interference had to be addressed, too. And frankly, it's also unclear if Iran would even agree. They've demanded that sanctions be lifted first. But you know, Noel, regardless, this is a significant step toward diplomacy with Iran that we have not seen in four years.

KING: Speaking of the past four years, in Biden's speech, did he sound like he was trying to convince U.S. allies, given everything that has gone on in the past couple of years?

ORDOÑEZ: Yes. I mean, he's got to convince them. You know, he was speaking at a virtual session of the Munich Security Conference. This is a group of national security officials that he's been talking to for decades. And it's a group that has been concerned about the rise in populism around the world. Biden said he knew that the last few years have been strained and tested the NATO alliance. But he said that the United States is determined to reengage and also earn back Europe's trust and leadership. And he gave his vow to work with NATO.

You know, he also talked about working together on global challenges like the pandemic and climate change. Earlier today, he told G-7 leaders that the United States would contribute $4 billion to a fund for COVID vaccines for poor countries. On the climate, he pointed to the fact that the United States rejoined the Paris climate agreement. In fact, that took place today officially. He brought up China and said allies must work both to compete and protect both sides' economies, trade and democratic values.

KING: Was any Russian representative at this meeting today?

ORDOÑEZ: There were a lot of talk about Russia. I mean, Biden himself called out and said that he was concerned about their efforts. He said that the Kremlin has been trying to bully and threaten the United States and Europe. And he said that democracies are at an inflection point and said historians would write about this time.

KING: This was Biden's first public address to a global audience. What is next on his agenda?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, he's going to keep on talking about all of these issues. Biden is hosting a leaders summit on Earth Day in April to work on climate change goals. And then the United Kingdom is hosting the annual G-7 leaders summit in June. The White House said Biden hopes he will be able to attend that event in person.

KING: NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.

Thanks, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you.

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