tv Road to the White House 2020 Joe Biden Delivers Foreign Policy Speech CSPAN July 12, 2019 6:15am-7:00am EDT
regarding the muslim ban, family separation at the border and international agreements on climate change. he also spoke about threats posed by china and russia. from the city university of new york graduate center, this is 45 minutes. >> thank you. thank you. thank you very much. please. thank you for hosting us and welcoming generations, literally generations of new americans to wider and bigger and more optimistic future.
you have done so much for so many people for so long. thank you for allowing us to use this forum. political wisdom holds that americans, the american public doesn't vote on foreign policy. but i think that's an old way of thinking. in 2019 foreign policy is domestic policy in my view. and domestic policy is foreign policy. they're deeply connected. a deeply connected set of choices we make about how to advance the american way of life and our vision for the future. like everything about this election, the threat that i believe president trump poses to our national security and where we are as a country is extreme. and i don't think we can afford to ignore it. his erratic policies and
failures to uphold basic democratic principles have muddled our repulation and our -- reputation and our place in the world, and i quite frankly believe our ability to lead the world. so let me start today by reminding everyone about what has been lost with the chest thumping and self-inflicted setbacks and the manufactured crises of this administration. folks, american foreign policy, i think, has to be purposeful and inspiring. based on clear goals, driven by sound strategies. not by twitter tantrums. and the overarching purpose of our foreign policy, i believe, must be to defend and advance our security, prosperity, and democratic values that the united states stands for.
every president, democrat and republican, in modern history prior to donald trump has understood and carried out this basic directive. often imperfectly, but have -- we've never before has it been so thoroughly abandoned. i knew when i saw donald trump respond to the events in charlottesville, assigning a moral equivalence between those who promoted hate and those who opposed it, that the threat to our democracy was unlike any time at least in my lifetime. less than a year later trump again stood before the press. this time on foreign soil in helsinki. and repeatedly deferred to vladimir putin over american american's interest,
the american intelligence community, and i would argue over the american people's interest. i think it was one of the most shameful performances by a u.s. president in modern history. and one of -- one where we saw repeated again that last month at the g-20 summit where trump smirked along with putin making a joke out of russia's very real and very dangerous assault on our electoral institutions. trump's view and my view, the bases are cherish democratic values. at the very time they sycophant to a strong man he refuses that role. refuses to condemn saudi arabia for the gruesome murder of a journalist and american resident, and when he falls in love with a murderous dictator in north korea.
i know it's not literal, but think what message it sends around the world. he undermines our democratic alliances while embracing dictators who appeal to his vanity. and make no mistake about it, the world sees trump for what he is. insincere, ill informed and impulsive and at times corrupt. dangerously incompetent and incapable in my view of world leadership and leadership at home. it's why we've seen such a drop in how the rest of the world views the united states of america. one recent poll found america's leadership is now less respected than china's and on par with russia's. and if we give donald trump four more years, we'll have a great deal of difficulty of ever being able to recover america's standing in the world in our
capacity to bring nations together. it's desperately needed. i think it would be catastrophic to our national security and to our future. we can't let that happen. as president of the united states, i would remind the world that we are the united states of america, and we do not coddle dictators. the united states of america gives hate no safe harbor. there will be no more charlottesvilles. no more helsinkis. the challenge of following this disastrous presidency will not be just to restore the reputation of our credibility. it will be to enact a forward-looking foreign policy for the world as we find it today. and as we anticipate it will be tomorrow and years to come. much has shifted in the past few years.
the international landscape is more crowded, competitive, and complicated. and when we look at what's different today two key points jump out to me. one is that the speed and intensity of the gravest dangers means that the fates of nations are more intertwined than they ever have been. climate change. nuclear proliferation. international and transnational terrorism. cyber warfare. disruptive new technologies, mass migration. we're moving like moore's law is moving. none of them can be resolved by the united states alone or any nation acting alone. american security, prosperity, and our way of life requires the strongest possible network of partners and alliances working
alongside one another. donald trump's brand of america first has too often led to america alone. making it much harder to mobilize others to address the threats to our common well-being. the second concern is the rapid advance of authoritarianism, nationalism and ill liberal tendencies around the world. not just in russia and china but also from our allies. places like turkey, the philippines, hungary, and every part of the world technology and instant information are driving change at unprecedented speed and scope, causing many people home and abroad to feel confused and very vulnerable. democratic governments paralyzed by hyper partisanship. hobbled by construction are
-- by corruption are having a harder time delivering to their people. trust and institutions around the world is down and fear of the other is way up. together in my view these forces have driven dangerous resurgence of extreme nationalism and liberalism, of protectionism and xenophobia. and donald trump and the demagogues around the world are leaning into these forces for their own personal and political gain. but in my view, if we focus, this is not a moment to fear. it's a time for us to tap into the strength and audacity that took us to victory in two world wars and brought down the iron curtain. that triumph of democracy and liberalism over fascism and autocracy is what created the free world. it will define our future.
-- this contest will not just define our past it will define , our future. today democracy is under intense pressure more than any time since the 1930's, in my view. freedom house reported that of the 41 countries consistently ranked as free from 1985 to 2005, 22 have registered net declines in freedom in the last five years. yet while the world's democracies look to america to stand for the values that unite us and truly lead the free world, donald trump seems to be on the other team. while those living under oppression, yearning for freedom look to the united states for hope, trump has nothing really to offer. we can't forget that democracy is the road our society, the
root and wellspring of our power, and the source of our renewal. it strengthens and amplifies our leadership to keep us safe in the world and it's the engine of our ingenuity that has driven all our economic process and progress. you know, it's the heart of who we are. and how we see the world, but maybe equally important, how the world sees us. as president, i will ensure the democracy is once again the watch word of u.s. foreign policy. not to launch some moral crusade but because it's in our enlightened self-interest. we have to restore our ability to rally the free world so we can once more make a stand upon new fields of action together to face new challenges. we only have one opportunity to reset this democracy after
trump. and we have to be prepared to make the most of it. so what does it mean at least from my perspective and practice? first, it means repairing and reinvigorating our own democracy. even as we strengthen coalitions to democracies that stand with us on other continent. -- on every continent. i'll start by putting our own house in order. remaking our education system so the child's opportunity life isn't determined by their zip code or their race. reforming our criminal justice system eliminates discrepancies in the system and putting teeth back into our voting rights act. i will seek greater transparency in our campaign finance systems. we need to get big money out altogether and ensure that foreign dark money doesn't continue to pollute our politics. we need in my view to dedicate greater resources including
cyber resources to defending our electoral system which is still under siege. i served as a founding member of the transatlantic commission on election integrity to fight back against russia's attacks on western democracies. we asked candidates across europe and north america to sign a pledge committing to transparency in campaign finances and to reject the use of fabricated and hacked material. now that i'm a candidate for office, i've signed that pledge myself. and i urge everyone running for president, including the president of the united states to sign that same pledge. it's the right thing to do. as individuals and as a nation, we have to prove to the world the united states is prepared to lead, not just by the example of our power but by the power of our example.
to that end, as president, i will take decisive steps to renew our american values by returning transparency to our government. we believe in freedom of religion. that's why i'll end the muslim ban. we believe in free speech. that's why i will end the gag rule, the global gag rule that prevents money from getting n.g.o.'s who even talk about family planning. we believe in the power of free press. that's why i'll return immediately to daily press briefings in the white house, the state department, and the defense department. we are a nation of immigrants. president trump took those words, those literal words, nation of immigrants out of the statement, the mission statement of our citizen and immigrations services. i'll restore the words. it matters. our statue of liberty says
invites us and welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. i'll reverse trump's detrimental asylum policies, raise our target for refugees to a level commensurate with our responsibility and the unprecedented global need that exists. the biden administration would immediately end the horrific practice of separating families at our borders, holding children for profit detentions. there's no need for us to do that and still protect our borders. i'd order a review of the temporary protective status to vulnerable populations who cannot fully believe and find the safety of their own countries. ripped apart by violence and disasters including venezuelans and haitians.
we've always been a nation that chooses science over fiction. and from climate change to standards to harmful environmental toxins to global health policy, we're going to return facts to our policy making. i'll renew a government-wide focus on uplifting the rights of women and girls at home and abroad and reviettalize our commitment to human rights around the world. these changes and many more which i released on our website are just the start, a day one down payment on our commitment to living our democratic values at home. and then i will invite fellow democratic leaders and i mean this. invite fellow democratic leaders to put strengthening democracy back in the global stage.
i will organize and host in the united states during my first year in administration were i to be elected a global summit for democracy. renewal of the spirit and shared purpose of the nation's of the free world. building off the successful model we instituted during the obama/biden administration with the nuclear safety summit. leaders who attend must come prepared to cooperate and make concrete commitments to take on corruption and advance human rights in their own nations. we have to be honest about -- excuse me. we have to be honest about our friends that are falling short and forge a common agenda to address the greatest threats to our shared values. we'll include civil society
organizations from around the world that stand on the front lines in defense of democracy in their countries. we'll challenge the private sector including the tech companies and social media giants to make their own commitments. america's openness fuels their success. i believe they have a duty to make sure their algorithm and platforms are not misused to sew division here at home or empower their surveillance states to be able to facility their -- and facilitate their oppression and censorship in china or elsewhere. to spread hate or to spur people to violence. secondly, i will equip our people to succeed in the new global economy with a foreign policy for the middle class. to win the competition of the
future, we have to double down on sharpening our innovative edge, uniting economic might of our friends and other abusive practices to take them on. we know that economic security is national security. but there are a lot of communities across the country who are hurting because we've neglected the basics. our trade policy has a start at home by strengthening by strengthening our greatest asset, the middle class. for when it does well, everyone does well. we have to take care of everything i've talked about on the campaign trail by giving every student the skill and training they need to compete in the 21st century for the jobs of the 21st century.
america has access to quality and affordable health care which is absolutely necessary to invigorate that class. investing and rebuilding in our infrastructure, bridges, roads, modernizing airports, high speed rail, making sure americans have access to broad band networks. reforming our taxes to reward work not just wealth. listening and leading on a clean economy revolution to create 10 million new jobs here in the united states that pay well allowing us eventually to export those technologies overseas. i'll invest in research and development, the corner stone of my presidency will be just that so the united states is leading the charge for innovation around the world. there's no reason we should be failing or falling behind anyone.
china or anywhere else, when it comes to energy, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5g, high speed rail. folks, we have the greatest research universities of anywhere in the world. we have more than anywhere in the rest of the word combined. we cannot ensure our people are ready for this transition? that it will accompany any new technology, it would be a disaster. we need the most agile system to accommodate these changes. folks, we're virtually energy independent. we have a strong tradition of the rule of law. i see jack. that's why the rest of the world invests here, jack, as you know better than i do. they know they're safe and most important, we have an extraordinary population of workers and innovators who have never let our country down when given half a chance.
a foreign policy of the middle class will also work to make sure the rules of international economy are not rigged against us. because when american business compete on a fair playing field, we win. president trump may think his being tough on china all that he has delivered as a consequence of that is american farmers, manufacturers and consumers losing and paying more. his economic decision making is so shortsighted and as shortsighted as the rest of his foreign policy. china is playing the long-game, extending its global reach, investing in technologies of the future. when trump is designating our
oldest allies from canada to the european union as national security threats in order to impose damaging and pointless tariffs. by cutting us off from the economic clout of our partners he kneecaps our capacity to take on real economic threats. we need to get tough with china. if china has its way, it's going to keep moving and robbing u.s. firms of our technology, intellectual properties and forcing companies to give it away to do business in china. the most effective way we need to change is to build a united front of friends and partners to challenge china's abusive behavior. even as we seek to deepen cooperation on issues where our interests are converged like climate change and preventing a nuclear proliferation. there's
not going to be a back to business as usual on trade with me. we need new rules. we need new processes. that has the voices of all the shareholders at the table including leaders representing labor and the environment. we must negotiate from the strongest possible position. on our own, we represent a quarter of the world's gdp. but when we're joined by fellow democracies, that number doubles. china can't afford to ignore half the global economy if we're united. that gives us substantial leverage to shape the future rules of the road on everything from the environment to labor to trade to technology to transparency. so we can continue to reflect the democratic interest and values. america's interest and values. not china. not russia.
the world is not organized itself. and if we do not shape the norms and institutions that government relations among nations, rest assured that some nation will step into the vacuum, or no one will, and chaos will prevail. which brings me to my final point. the biden foreign policy agenda will place america back at the head of the table working with our allies and our partners to mobilize global action on global threats, especially those unique to our country. american leadership is not infallible. we've made missteps and mistakes instead of drawing on the full array of our strengths. let me be clear. i will never hesitate to protect the american people including when necessary by the use of force.
as vice president i work with president obama to craft the military and diplomatic campaign that ultimately defeated isis. in fact, it turned out trump's secret weapon to destroy the so-called caliphate was a continuation of the plan we put in place with personnel that we had put in place. we have the strongest military in the world. and i would argue in the history of the world. but as president, i will ensure it stays that way. i will make investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of this century, not the last century, this one and the next one. but the use of force should be a last resort, not a first. used only to defend our vital interest when the objective is clear and achievable and with
the informed, i emphasize the informed consent of the american people. it's long past time we end the forever wars which have cost us untold blood and treasure. him i have long-argued that we should bring home the vast majority of our combat troops from the wars in afghanistan and the middle east and narrowly focus on our mission to deal with al-qaeda and isis in the region. and we should end our support for the saudi-led war in yemen. it's hurting us. \[applause] staying entrenched in unwinnable conflicts drains our capacity to lead in other issues that require our attention. it prevents us from rebuilding the other instances of american
power. i'm make it my mission to restore american leadership, elevate diplomacy as a principle tool of our foreign policy. i will reinvest in a diplomatic core that this administration has hollowed out and put our diplomacy back in the hands of genuine professionals. so you don't hear an echo on the 7th floor of the state department any longer. above all, i see some diplomats here when our administration and others, above all diplomacy requires credibility and donald trump has corroded our country's credibility. you know, in the conduct of american foreign policy and especially times of crisis, the president of the united states word, his or her word is the
single most valuable asset the country has. by pulling out of treaty after treaty, reniging on policy after policy, walking away from america's responsibilities, and lying about matters big and small, this president has bankrupted america's word in the world at the moment. he has -- i don't know how to say it. he's alienated us from the very democratic allies we need most. trump has taken a battering ram to the nato alliance. he treats it like it's an american-run protection racket. he just doesn't get it. i really don't think he gets it. nato is at its heart, the very heart of nato. and our national security more than that, it is
an alliance of values. it's an alliance of values. it makes it far more durable, reliable, and powerful than partnerships built on coercion and on cash. the same is true of our core alliances in asia. let me be clear. working cooperatively with other nations to share our values and goals doesn't make america as it seems to imply in this administration, suckers. it makes us more secure. enables us to be more successful. we amplify our own strengths, extend our presence around the globe, magnify our impact while sharing the burden of leadership with our partners. no country, even one as powerful as ours, can go alone in the challenge of the 21st century.
i respect no borders and cannot be contained by any walls. as president, i will do more than just restore the historic partnerships. i'll lead an effort to reimagine them, to better meet the challenges we're grappling with today in the next 20 or 30 years to keep nato military capability sharp while also expanding our capacity to take on nontraditional threats like weaponized corruption, cyber theft, new challenges in space and on the high seas. and by the way, the increase in nato defense spending i would point out started under the obama/biden administration. we need to look for opportunities for strength and domestic cooperation with friends beyond north america and europe. reaching to our partners in asia including japan, south korea, australia, india, to fortify our
collective capabilities. sustaining, sustaining our ironclad commitments to israel security regardless of how much you may disagree with this present leader, it is essential. integrateing our friends in latin america and africa and seizing opportunities throughout the broader network of democracies, in order to gain and regain the confidence of the world, we need -- we have to prove again that america says what it means and means what it says. especially when it comes to the challenges that will define our time. renewal threat, renewed threat of nuclear war. mass migration. disruptive technologies. climate change. we cannot be a credible voice on the proliferation of nuclear
security, on proliferation and nuclear security while we're abandoning the very deals that we had negotiated. from north korea to iran, russia to saudi arabia, trump has made the prospect of nuclear proliferation a new nuclear arms race, and even the use of nuclear weapons more likely, not less. i've worked on these issues my entire career. i understand what's at stake, and i understand the consequences failing to act. that's why as president, i'd renew our commitment to arms control for a new era. the historic iran nuclear deal we negotiated blocked iran from gaining nuclear weapons with inspectors on the ground, international inspectors confirming that the agreement was being kept. you have trump casted aside, prompting iran to restart its
nuclear program and become more provocative and raising the risk of another disastrous war in the region. if tehran returns to compliance with the deal, i would rejoin the agreement and work with our allies to strengthen and extend it while more effectively pushing back against iran to destabilizing activities which we are allowed to do and we had partners to do with us. north korea, i will empower our negotiators to jump start a sustained coordinated campaign with our allies and others including china to advance our shared objective. it is a shared objective. a denuclearized north korea. i'll pursue an extension of the new star treaty, an anchor of strategic stability before the united states and russia and use it as a foundation for new arms control agreements. i would take other steps as well
to demonstrate our commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons. as i said in 2017, i believe the sole purpose of u.s. nuclear arsenal should be deterring and if necessary, retaliate against a nuclear attack. as president, i'll work to put that belief into practice after consultation with our allies and our military. by the same measure, we cannot push nations to meet their humanitarian obligations to address the biggest refugee migration crisis since world war ii if we're unwilling to live up to our democratic values and firmly reject trump's nativist rhetoric. it stands out that we, it stands, our nation, on our fathers, when you saw a father and a daughter's body on a shore dead, when children are taken
away from their parents, stuck in overcrowded detention facilities, denied the most basic necessities. when families are ripped apart, abandoning our deepestly held values, it does nothing. it does nothing to increase our security at the border and everything to diminish our standing in the world and the ability to lead by the power of our example. we need sensible policies to improve screening priorities at the legal points of entry to make smart investments in border technology. we need to work again with canada and mexico as neighbors, not as adversaries and we need to focus on the root causes driving migrants to our borders in the first place. as vice president, i secured commitments from leaders of guatemala and honduras after
multiple meetings to take on corruption, violence, and the endemic poverty in those countries that are the driving force of sending people away from their homes and to our borders. and then i worked with congress in a bipartisan effort to get aid packages to help support those reforms. and guess what. and guess what. $750 million. it was working. security improved. migrant flows began to decrease in countries like el salvador. but trump announced the end of our aid to central america via a tweet with no understanding of the consequences. if elected president, i will relaunch that initiative with the top to bottom review of our funding to the region, determine how we can continue to drive reforms that deliver results, and they will deliver results. when it comes to technologies for the future, like 5g,
artificial intelligence, other nations are devoting national resources and dominating their development. determining how they will be used. we have to ensure the 21st century technologies are used to promote greater democracy, shared prosperity, not to curb freedom and opportunity not at home or abroad. as new technologies shape our economies and societies, we have ensure that these engines of progress are bound by laws and ethics. we have done it at every technological turning point in our history. the biden administration would join together with our democratic allies to develop secure private sector led 5g networks leaving no community, rural or low income behind. and the last example i'll end with today is how the united states must lead the world to
take on the existential threat we all face. climate change. if we don't get this right, not much else will matter. i'll put us on a track to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. and equally important because the united states makes up only 15% of global emissions. i'll leverage our economic and our moral authority to put the world on a more urgent course by rejoining the paris climate accord and convene a summon of -- a summit of the world [applause] and that accord is negotiated said we have to up the ante, convening the biggest carbon emitters relying on nations to raise their ambitions and push progress further and faster.
we'll look for enforceable commitments that will produce emissions, reduce emissions, and global shipping and aviation. we'll pursue strong measures to make sure other nations can't undercut us economically as we meet our commitments. that includes assisting the china, the world's largest emitter of carbon stops subsidizing coal exports, outsourcing pollution to other countries by exporting billions -- by financing billions of dollars of dirty coal -- these are ambition goals, i acknowledge. and i won't accomplish any of them without the united states flanked by our fellow democracies leading the way. we're facing enemies both without and from within. hoping to exploit the fissures
in our society, undermine democracy, break up our alliances, return us to an international system that might. determines right. the answer to this threat is more openness. not less. more friendships, more cooperations, more alliances, more democracies. vladimir putin wants to tell himself and anyone who he can dupe into believing that the liberal idea, that liberal idea is obsolete because he understands its power. no army on earth can match the electric idea of liberty. passing freely from person to person, it jumps borders. it transcends languages and cultures. and it can supercharge
communities of ordinary citizens into activists and organize for change agents. we must once more harness that power and rally the free world to meet the challenges facing us today. and it falls to the united states of america to lead the way. no other nation has the capacity to do it. no other nation was built on that ideal, that promise alone. and it's overwhelming in our self-interest. we have an obligation to champion liberty and democracy. we have to remain our -- retain our credibility and look with unrelenting optimism and the future because we can do this. let's remember who in god's name we are. this is the united states of america. there's not a damn thing we've
been unable to do when we've done it together. thank you for listening to a very thorough speech. may god bless you all, and may god protect our troops. thank you. \[ applause ] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> friday, the house plans to vote on whether to reauthorize the 9/11 victim compensation fund. the fund was created to provide financial support to people suffering from medical issues as
a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks. the legislation would extend funding through 2090. legislative debate gets underway at 9 a.m. eastern. also, house majority leader steny hoyer and house speaker nancy pelosi announce the house will vote tuesday on a criminal contempt of congress resolution for attorney general william barr and commerce secretary wilbur ross regarding the census citizenship question. the floor debate and final vote all live here on c-span. coming up next, clifford young discusses the c-span poll on u.s. space policy. in an hour, michigan congressman dan kildee tells us about the --est on the spending dealt spending deadline and trade policy at 8:30 a.m., oklahoma representative tom cole