President Joe Biden made this point extremely apparent in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. With one stroke, Russian President Vladimir Putin effectively erased Russia from any standing among the world’s civilized nations.
The United States, and by extension Biden, are on the side of right, and anyone who may be wavering should consider how appropriate it might be to join in — even though the US President will not seek to incite conflict. If there was one theme from Biden’s speech, it was a straightforward one.
In the first sentence of his speech, Biden vehemently denounced Putin’s decision to mobilise 300,000 reserve troops for deployment in Ukraine on Wednesday and his implied threat to use nuclear weapons if he felt threatened. Above all, Biden noted, Putin’s “imperial” behaviour has “shamelessly broken the essential tenets” of the United Nations and the charter under which it runs, to which most members have sworn themselves. This violation began the minute Putin declared war on Ukraine.
“Simply put, the goal of this conflict is to annihilate Ukraine’s right to exist both as a state and a nation. Whatever you think, wherever you are, and who you are should make your blood run cold “stated US President.
The way that Biden put it, a “battle between democracy and despotism,” was effective. It should be clear where the United States stands and which side the UN and its members should support if a country may pursue its colonial goals without suffering any repercussions. “We selected liberty,” said Biden. Russia has found itself on the wrong side of every equation, “spewing out lies,” from food security to nuclear non-proliferation to development.
Naturally, the Non-Aligned Movement framework still remains, which has prevented many UN member states from fully endorsing many policies adopted by wealthy countries in recent years. It was established in 1960, at the height of the Cold War, and continues to have meetings on occasion as its members work to forge a way between the main countries.
However, it might not be the best time to remain neutral. In his list of potential advantages for entering the developed and democratic world, Biden highlighted the $2.9 billion in new aid to combat global food hunger.
“As a result of the aggression against Ukraine, numerous countries throughout the world placed sanctions on Russia, which Russia is now trying to blame for the catastrophe — the food crisis. So let me make one thing crystal clear: Our sanctions expressly permit Russia to export food and fertiliser. No restrictions. Food insecurity is getting worse because of Russia’s war, and only Russia can put an end to it.”
It was a strong point, and Biden brought it up several times throughout his speech. The war in Russia “rises the global economy,” according to Biden, who urged the world’s creditors to start forgiving loans to the poorest nations. In essence, Putin declared, “Russia alone can put a stop to this war.”
In reality, Biden’s wording implying that the world must start to effectively pick sides was neither unique nor even the most extreme.
In his opening remarks to the General Assembly on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that those who remain “neutral are incorrect. They are committing a historical mistake. In a way, those who remain silent now are aiding the cause of a new imperialism.” Finally, he concluded by saying that their actions “trampled the current order.”
Biden offered a number of proposals that should find favour in some circles, but are unlikely to ever be adopted due to the UN’s intricately entrenched structure.
He advocated expanding the UN Security Council’s membership and adding more nations from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa as permanent members. Naturally, this would muffle the voices of either Russia or China, who are both permanent members, but it barely would stop them from using their veto, which has rendered this council essentially powerless in dire situations.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, went even farther late on Wednesday when he called for Russia to be stripped of its UN voting rights and removed from the Security Council as part of a “fair punishment” for the country. Most General Assembly members gave him a rare standing ovation as their reward.
Biden may have realised that the Chinese leadership is beginning to have second thoughts about how strongly he would want to embrace Putin, who is at least somewhat flailing, because he chose not to emphasise the close relationships between the Russian president and Xi Jinping.
Biden declared, “We do not seek conflict. “A Cold War is not what we seek.” Additionally, he stated that the US will continue to be “committed to a One China policy,” implying that it would acknowledge China’s viewpoint without fully endorsing it.
If there was one lesson to be learned from this speech, it was this one: “If you’re still committed to a strong foundation for the good of every nation around the world, then the United States wants to work with you.” This speech seemed intended as much for an American audience in the midst of a midterm political campaign as it did for a global audience or even an audience of one in the Kremlin. Naturally, if voters continue to provide Biden the authority to do so.