“We are committed to leading with strength, to upholding our values, to serving our people,” said Biden. “America is best positioned to advance our national security and economic prosperity when we bring together like-minded nations to support us. “
In his 20-minute speech to 1,000 servicemen and their families at Royal Base Mildenhall, Biden was eager to set the tone for his journey as a force in the face of challenges from Russia and China. He said he planned to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week “to let him know what I want him to know”.
Biden said he and other world leaders would take action to fight the pandemic, curb climate change and protect against “the growing threat of ransomware attacks … [and] the autocrats who let it go. “
Other countries are expected to pressure Biden to do more to help the world fight the coronavirus. Just before she landed, her administration confirmed she was purchasing 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to share with the world. The move could result in 200 million doses of Pfizer being shipped worldwide this year, followed by another 300 million in the first half of 2022.
“There isn’t a wall high enough to protect us from this pandemic,” Biden said.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One Wednesday that Biden shared vaccines because they are useful for the health of the United States.
“As he said in his joint session (speech), we were the ‘arsenal of democracy’ during World War II,” Sullivan said. “We are going to be the ‘vaccine arsenal’ over this next period to help end the pandemic.”
In Mildenhall, Biden appeared to enjoy the enthusiastic applause from the military and spoke freely about his late son, Beau, who served in Iraq, and his uncle who was shot dead in New Guinea during World War II. “Comfortable,” Biden said with a smile. “I always forget that I am president.”
Mildenhall is home to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the only permanent US Air Force air refueling wing in Europe. Inside a hanger adorned with American and British flags, a military band was playing. Outside, onlookers had gathered for days to catch a glimpse of Air Force One as Biden arrived in the country.
“To all of you, airmen and soldiers, I want to thank you. We owe you,” Biden said before referring to his son. “We’re so proud of you. So proud. And I just wish my major was here to thank you too, thank you for everything you do.”
First Lady Jill Biden, who is accompanying her husband to the UK, spoke before him. The president was introduced by a 14-year-old whose parents both serve in the military.
“You are our ambassadors to the world,” said the first lady. “Thank you for representing us with dignity and pride. “
Biden will spend the next four days at the gathering of Group of Seven world leaders. He will also meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and pay a brief visit to Queen Elizabeth.
He is expected to discuss a host of issues, including trade and fiscal issues, before heading to Brussels to meet with NATO and EU leaders on security in the face of challenges facing Russia and the EU. China.
His last stop will be Geneva, where he will meet Putin. Biden invited Putin to the meeting, although their interview should not lead to immediate agreements. The White House has said Biden is keen to meet with Putin to pressure him directly on cyber attacks and human rights and to discuss areas where they might have common ground, including nuclear weapons control and change. climate.
World leaders are eager to see how Biden tackles international issues as president in part because of the lack of emphasis on this during his first four and a half months in office. Biden is expected to present his vision as the opposite of Trump’s America First foreign policy, reconfirm his commitments to alliances, and stress that the actions he takes on the international stage will have a direct impact on average Americans returning home.
“When President Biden returns to Washington next week, we believe we will be in a materially stronger position to deal with the main threats and challenges this country faces: COVID, climate, China, cyber, Russia, and shaping the rules of commerce and technology. for the future, ”Sullivan said before the trip.