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Joe Biden moves to regain footing with vow to restore pre-Trump world order

Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Joe Biden moved to get his presidential campaign back on track Thursday by highlighting an advantage he had over the rest of the Democratic field -- experience in foreign affairs -- declaring himself the candidate best qualified to restore America's place on the world stage and end the diplomatic tumult created by the Trump administration.

In an address at the City University of New York, Biden presented a blueprint for world leadership that rejected the alliances the Trump administration had built with autocrats and would restore U.S. relations with European countries and other major democracies.

"No army on earth can match the electric idea of liberty," Biden said. "We must once more harness that power and rally the free world to meet the challenges facing us today. It falls to the USA to lead the way. No other nation has the capacity to do it. No other nation was built on that ideal, that promise alone."

The vision offered by Biden is similar to that of several of his rivals in the Democratic primary, but the former vice president used the speech as an opportunity to remind voters of his deep experience in world diplomacy. Biden's supporters make the case that he is far better positioned to quickly reshuffle the world order to its pre-Trump state than other candidates in the race.

The former vice president took aim at Trump throughout the speech, warning of lasting damage America and its allies will suffer if the nation continues a course of tearing up international agreements like the Paris agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, and appeasing autocrats.

"He undermines our democratic alliances while embracing dictators who appeal to his vanity," Biden said of Trump. "And make no mistake about it, the world sees Trump for what he is: insincere, ill informed and impulsive, and at times corrupt. It's why we've seen such a drop in how the rest of the world sees the United States of America."

 

Biden added: "If we give Donald Trump four more years, we will have a great deal of difficulty ever recovering America's standing in the world and our capacity to bring nations together."

Biden spoke at length about the Iran deal that was negotiated during the Obama administration, promising that he would rejoin and strengthen it.

"Trump cast it aside, prompting Iran to restart its nuclear program, become more provocative," Biden said. "We have to prove again America says what it means and means what it says. 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 have worked on these issues my entire career," he declared. "I understand what is at stake. I understand the consequences."

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