That was the essence of Joe Biden’s important Foreign Policy speech at the Security Conference in Munich Today.
“I come to Europe on behalf of a new administration determined to set a new tone in Washington, and in America’s relations around the world… We will engage. We will listen. We will consult. America needs the world, just as I believe the world needs America“
More below the flip…
After a deal seems to have been done to pass the Stimulus Bill on Monday, this is a vital reorientation back to America’s standing in the world, which has almost been as badly damaged as its economy by eight years of Neocon Unilaterism.
“There is no conflict between our security and our ideals. We believe they are mutually reinforcing… “The example of our power must be matched by the power of our example.
America will not torture. We will uphold the rights of those we bring to justice. We will close Guantánamo.”
The speech ranged over a series of important issues, including global collaboration in the face of climate change, the expectation of more help from NATO members in Afghanistan, and the cease fire in Gaza. But perhaps the most important elements were the follow through of an open hand extended to Russia and Iran…
On the former, Russia:
The United States rejects the notion that Nato’s gain is Russia’s loss, or that Russia’s strength is Nato’s weakness. The last few years have seen a dangerous drift in the relations between Russia and the members of our alliance. It’s time – to paraphrase President Obama – it’s time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.
Sounds good to me. But I’m not sure what my friends in Poland or Lithuania will think about this, especially given it seems to come at the price-tag of offering to shelve the Pentagon’s contentious missile shield in central Europe.
On Iran Biden was more circumspect…
The Iranian people are a great people. The Persian civilisation is a great civilisation. But Iran acted in ways that are not conducive to peace in the region or to the prosperity of its people; its illicit nuclear programme is but one of those manifestations.
Our administration is reviewing policy toward Iran, but this much is clear: we will be willing to talk. We’ll be willing to talk to Iran and to offer a very clear choice: continue down the current course and there will be continued pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear programme and your support for terrorism, and there will be meaningful incentives.
I’m certainly glad that Iran isn’t being lumped as part of ‘Islamic Terrorism’, and the unique cultural pedigree of that country has been recognised. With giving too much ground, it seems to me that – as the US and UK did with Libya – some kind of rapprochement with Iran is vital to secure more regional stability, especially in Southern Iraq, Southern Lebanon, and of course, Gaza.
I know Israel often feels under existential threat, but since Mossadegh in the 50s, so has the population of Iran. Relieving some of those tensions, co-operating rather than sabre rattling, might well help to diffuse the current Governments policies.
But what says the Moose?