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Biden will urge nations to protect and nurture democracy

President Biden on Tuesday will seek to focus the world’s attention on the need to protect and nurture democracies, calling on the world to continue supporting Ukraine and urging advanced countries to do more to support the developing world’s economies .

In his third speech as United Nations president, Mr. Biden is expected to promote his administration’s achievements around the world, even as he faces domestic challenges: growing resistance to additional aid to Ukraine, shutdown looming government, inflation and sluggish approval ratings to come. elections next year.

The president’s speech Tuesday is the centerpiece of a week of international diplomacy as the Biden administration confronts threats from Iran, tensions with Israel and Ukraine’s slow, grinding efforts to repel the invasion Russian.

Mr. Biden arrives at the United Nations at a time when he has asserted American leadership in world affairs and repaired many of the relationships that deteriorated under his unstable predecessor, Donald J. Trump. But with the next election approaching and tied with Mr. Trump in early polls, many other countries will greet the president with uncertainty about his longevity.

“He will tell the world the steps he and his administration have taken to promote a vision of American leadership based on the principle of working with others to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” said Jake Sullivan, national director Of the president. security advisor. “The president will explain how these steps – how all these steps he has taken so far fit into a bigger picture.”

After a long career in the Senate and as vice president, Mr. Biden enjoys a strong reputation among his peers and is seen as a committed internationalist fighting the tide of isolationism. While the chaotic withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan has left bitter feelings among many traditional US allies, Mr. Biden has restored some of his global reputation by rallying the West and other allies against the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the fundamental foreign policy crisis of his presidency thus far. .

It has also managed to forge a series of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of China’s aggressive measures. It strengthened its relations with Australia, India, the Philippines and other countries in the region; elevated the status of a bloc called the Quad, consisting of the United States, India, Japan and Australia; he brought together the leaders of Japan and South Korea at Camp David for a three-way alliance that had long eluded Washington; and last week he cemented a strategic relationship with Vietnam during his first visit to Hanoi.

At the same time, America’s two main rivals appear weakened. Chinese President Xi Jinping appears less powerful on the international stage as his country’s four-decade economic growth streak flattens while Russian President Vladimir V. Putin can’t even make it to the United Nations meeting or at other major international gatherings due to an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Ukraine.

But with his approval ratings mired in the 40s and Mr. Trump threatening to regain office in the November 2024 election, Mr. Biden’s domestic problems loom large over this year’s meeting at the United Nations.

“Biden has many reasons to be satisfied with his position on the world stage, but the domestic political situation in the United States continues to introduce uncertainty,” said James M. Goldgeier, professor and former dean of the School of International Service at American University. “The 2024 presidential election and Donald Trump’s potential return to the White House create great uncertainty about the United States’ ability to chart a stable international course. »

On Monday, Mr. Biden announced the release of five Americans imprisoned in Iran, the culmination of a long negotiation in which the United States agreed to release $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues and release five Iranians imprisoned for sanctions violations.

Mr. Biden will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, the first face-to-face meeting between the two men since tensions between them escalated. And on Thursday, Mr. Biden will welcome Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, to the White House for the third time.

Mr. Biden’s advisers have publicly expressed confidence that a bipartisan majority in Congress would once again approve aid to Ukraine. But that approval appears likely to be hampered by the ongoing fight in Congress over the budget. This would deal a major blow to Mr Biden’s promise to support Ukraine’s military resistance “for as long as it takes”.

Mr Biden has been making the promise since the months before Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. It is at the heart of the president’s vision for a more robust foreign policy aimed at reversing Mr. Trump’s “America First” agenda.

“We are seeing, at this point, more – a strong signal of demand for more American engagement, for more American investment, for more American presence on all continents and in all regions of the world,” Mr. .Sullivan.

At the United Nations this week, Mr. Biden will argue that the same nations that came together to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must focus their attention on the desperate economic plight of some of the world’s poorest countries. world, many of which are in the southern hemisphere. .

This message follows on from that delivered by Mr. Biden at the Group of 20 nations meeting in New Delhi this month. And it’s part of the president’s strategy to counter China’s influence in developing countries with his Belt and Road Initiative, which helps poorer countries build ports, rail lines and communications networks.

At the Group of 20, Mr. Biden outlined his administration’s request to Congress for billions of dollars in financing for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to help mobilize even more private support for developing countries. White House officials said nearly $200 billion in credits could be extended to countries around the world in the coming years.

In his speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Biden plans to challenge other countries to do more to support nations whose populations are in deep economic distress and have little hope for the future.

Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said it was important for Mr. Biden to appear at the United Nations to explain American positions and policies.

These explanations can help ease concern around the world that the United States is engaging in the type of engagement sought by many of its allies.

With the exception of protectionist trade policies, “he has done an enormous amount to earn the relief most countries are feeling from the anxiety of the Trump administration,” said Ms. Schake, who served as the president’s national security aide. George W. Bush.

“But there will still be hesitation at the international level,” she said, “because President Biden cannot really reassure countries that their fear of a return to normalcy cannot materialize. presidency of Donald Trump.”