Aaron Velez | News Editor
September 26, 2021
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden called for a gathering of the United Nations to acknowledge the dire, but persistent, global crises, such as the sharply changing climate, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and neglect in regards to human rights.
Biden denounced a few conflicts specifically, and he openly criticized the “America first” policy that former President Trump had proclaimed during his four years in office. Additionally, he attempted to de-escalate rising concerns with China indirectly, stating that the US is “not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.”
Although he used his first United Nations address to take some contentious topics head-on, Biden delayed the inevitable conversations about areas like growing tensions with previous allies such as France, and, most importantly, his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.
“I think it’s good to have a meeting that is more global than national,” junior Madeline Macchia said after researching Biden’s speech. “It puts the importance on the issues affecting everyone, like advocacy for climate change and equality”
Not all people saw Biden’s decision to assemble the United Nations as a positive action; some believed that Biden showing up directly after pulling out of Afghanistan was poor form. When Biden brought up issues regarding women’s and human rights discussing how they “will hinge on our ability to recognize our ‘common humanity,’ ” it struck a tone-deaf chord with many who saw leaving Afghanistan as a direct contradiction of this ideal.
“It seems very hypocritical to talk about ‘our’ role in this,” junior Ashley Jahed said in response. “Obviously it was him and not me who decided to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan when we were essentially the last line of defense for protecting the Afghan civilians and their rights.”
Biden is set to meet with several leaders, including Emmanuel Macron, in an attempt to settle disputes between America and their longtime French allies. His first UN address and resulting meetings certainly offered insight into how he plans to take on foreign diplomacy for the next few years as President.
Biden’s final sentiment was an important and non-divisive one. “We will choose to build a better future. We, you, and I, we have the will and capacity to make it better. Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to waste any more time,” he said. “We can do this.”