In his first major foreign policy address, President Joe Biden vowed to confront the enemies of ‘democracy’ globally, while seeking to reclaim America’s ‘moral credibility’ and leadership in LGBT and climate change issues.

Speaking at the State Department headquarters in the nation’s capital on Thursday, Biden outlined his foreign policy vision in a 20-minute address, laying out a sprawling list of priorities for his administration, among them countering supposed US “adversaries.”

“American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy,” Biden said early in his remarks.

The days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions – interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens – are over… We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people. 

He added, however, that Washington must also engage with its “competitors” diplomatically, pointing to an agreement between the US and Russia to extend the New START arms control pact by five years, which he dubbed the “only remaining treaty between our countries safeguarding nuclear stability.”

While the president noted the US is “ready to work with Beijing,” he quickly turned to a litany of allegations against the country. Biden accused China of waging an “attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance,” as well as “economic abuses” – somewhat mirroring rhetoric from his predecessor, former president Donald Trump.

Announcing the need for a “course correct” for US foreign policy, Biden said he had ordered a “global posture review” of the American military footprint to ensure it is “appropriately aligned” with his national security goals, adding that during the review, a troop withdrawal from Germany previously ordered by Trump would be frozen.

Also on Biden ending US ‘support for offensive operations’ in Yemen doesn’t mean actual end to war, skeptics caution as activists rejoice

As part of the same shift in policy overseas, the president pledged to step up diplomacy to “end the war in Yemen,” calling it a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe,” though declined to acknowledge it was his own former boss, ex-president Barack Obama, who first supported Saudi Arabia’s bloody bombing campaign in the country.