Foreign Policy for America Statement on President Biden’s Diplomacy in Action

February 19, 2021

Foreign Policy for America Statement on President Biden’s Diplomacy in Action

Washington, DC – Not too long ago, President Biden stood at the State Department and declared “America is back. Diplomacy is back.” This week he and his administration truly made good on that promise to restore diplomacy to the center of American foreign policy.

Diplomacy has been the theme of the week. Today President Biden attended his first G-7 meeting and gave remarks at a virtual session of the Munich Security Conference, and Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry announced our return to the Paris Climate Agreement is official. Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Austin met with NATO defense ministers and Secretary of State Blinken met with European counterparts to discuss Iran and other topics.

This was a powerful signal that, when it comes to diplomacy, this administration intends to back its words with actions. Addressing global problems means renewing cooperation with our closest partners, as evidenced this week, and also engaging in dialogue with our competitors and adversaries in order to advance the security of the American people.

We commend President Biden on today’s bold financial commitment to the global effort to combat COVID-19, through the COVAX initiative. The global pandemic demands a global response, and we recognize that strong U.S. leadership in support of equitable vaccine distribution will mean a more rapid return to safety and prosperity for Americans.

The President’s remarks to the Munich Security Conference and his administration’s actions this week also signaled a commitment to diplomacy with Iran. By stating its readiness to meet with Iran and European partners, reversing the previous administration’s assertion that the UN snapped back sanctions, and reducing the domestic travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats at the UN, the administration is taking concrete steps to lay the groundwork for rejoining the JCPOA on a compliance-for-compliance basis. These prudent steps – the results of seasoned professionals committed to diplomacy – reverse the disastrous decision of the Trump Administration to walk away from the JCPOA and from our closest allies.

“President Biden’s speech today, and the actions of his administration, make clear his determination to revitalize American diplomacy,” said FP4A Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “We can meet the challenges of this moment – the pandemic, the global economic recession, the climate crisis, and growing threats to our democratic values – but only by re-engaging with our closest allies around the world. This was powerful presidential leadership on display.”

“President Biden is leading the U.S. back to center stage globally this week,” said Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and FP4A advisor. “His participation in the G-7 Summit will help the U.S. and the world in overcoming the pandemic. His speech at the Munich Security Conference returns the U.S. to leadership in NATO. His decision to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement today is pivotally important. He is off to a very strong start as President in strengthening America’s security and role in the world.”

“When we say diplomacy, some people just think about the polite conversation, the easy parts,” said Ambassador Dan Baer, former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and FP4A advisor. “But diplomacy is actually about the hard parts. It’s about problem solving and it’s an opportunity to sit down and talk seriously with partners and adversaries alike. President Biden and his administration have made clear they are committed to diplomacy, and more importantly that they understand the process of diplomacy is hard work.”

“The administration’s whirlwind week of transatlantic diplomacy, capped off with President Biden’s speech today at the Munich Security Conference, demonstrates quick action on its pledge to renew America’s alliances on issues including democracy, human rights, cyber security and technology, arms control, and climate change,” said Tom Schoenfelder, FP4A NextGen Europe working group member. “As decades of history have shown, transatlantic cooperation provides a powerful platform for tackling all of these challenges, not just in the U.S. and Europe, but across the globe.”