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Eli Lake

Biden’s Relentless UN Diplomacy Has a Downside

The president made a very nice speech at the United Nations, but it won’t matter much unless his words are backed by a credible threat of force.

How far can relentless diplomacy go?

How far can relentless diplomacy go?

Photographer:  Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

In his first speech as U.S. president to the United Nations General Assembly, Joe Biden promised the world that this period of “relentless war” was giving way to “a new era of relentless diplomacy.” In this new era, he explained, the U.S. would be working with other nations to lift people out of poverty, defend and renew democracy, address climate change and shore up traditional alliances such as NATO.

It all sounds marvelous. But it is difficult if not impossible to advance U.S. interests and values without a credible threat of military action — which is to say, one that is not belied by events on the ground. And his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan shows that the premise of Biden’s global vision is a mirage.