clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here’s what President Biden told the UN about COVID-19, Afghanistan and more

President Joe Biden gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House.
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington.
Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

President Joe Biden gave his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, speaking about a number of topics such as COVID-19, climate change and the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What did President Biden say during his UN speech?

Biden, in large part, said he is not seeking a cold war — which might have been a nod to China — nor is he seeking a world that is divided. He suggested that the world is at an important point in history where the world will be tested to decide how united it will be.

  • “We stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history. And I’m here today to share with you how the U.S. plans to stand with partners and allies in answering these questions,” Biden said.

What Biden said on Afghanistan

Naturally, Biden’s speech turned to the U.S. military and the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was one of the biggest foreign policy decisions in the world in recent memory, so it was no question he would address it.

  • Biden said the U.S. had ended “20 years of conflict in Afghanistan, and as we close this period of relentless war we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy. Of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world.”
  • “U.S. military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first.”

What Biden said on COVID-19

Biden spoke about the coronavirus, which continues to plague the world. He called for people to be vaccinated against COVID-19, too, across the world.

  • “Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19, or its future variants. To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will. We need to act now to get shots in arms as fast as possible,” he said.
  • “Our shared grief is a poignant reminder that our collective future will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity and to act together,” he said.

What Biden said about democracy, unity

And Biden preached about the need for democracy in the world, hoping to bring down tyrants across the world. He called for unity, too, hoping to bring the world together and set a positive course for the next decade. World security has never been more interconnected than it is now, he said.

  • “Democracy remains the best tool we have to unleash our full human potential,” Biden said. “Now, we must again come together to affirm the inherent humanity that unites us is much greater than any outward divisions or disagreements.”
  • “I am not agnostic about the future we want for the world,” he said. “The future will belong to those who embrace human dignity, not trample it. The future will belong to those who unleash the potential of the people, not those who stifle it.”