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Biden slams Trump's foreign policy as "dangerously incompetent"

Biden calls Trump "dangerously incompetent"
Biden calls Trump "dangerously incompetent" 05:30

Joe Biden's presidential campaign is about saving the country -- and the world -- from President Trump, and that message runs through the plans he has to reshape U.S. foreign policy, too. 

Biden blasted the president as "dangerously incompetent and incapable, in my view, of world leadership and leadership at home." 

"And make no mistake about it -- the world sees Trump for what he is: insincere, ill-informed and impulsive. And sometimes corrupt," Biden added. 

Beyond eviscerating Trump for a lack of moral global leadership, Biden laid out how he would deal with the world's hot spots. 

He vowed to end "forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East" by removing the "vast majority of troops" from the region. Biden did not mention the Iraq war during the speech -- that was an invasion he voted to support in 2002.

And he also said the U.S. must end support of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the Yemen war, an issue Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has championed in the Senate.

If Tehran decides to comply with the limits of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Biden said he would push to re-enter the deal. Mr. Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 because the administration concluded the deal didn't do enough to prevent Iran's disruptive activities in countries like Syria and Iraq. 

Biden told the audience that President Trump's foreign policy approach to Iran, North Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia has in fact "made the risks of new arms races, new proliferation, and even the use of nuclear weapons greater than they were before."

Addressing the future of U.S.-led negotiations with North Korea, Biden said he would "empower" negotiators to work on denuclearizing North Korea with the help of allies, especially China, a country Biden took time on Thursday to criticize for its disruptive global behavior. He didn't say whether he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.   

Biden said the president's responses to crises have demonstrated the decline of democracy. "There will be no more Charlottesvilles. No more Helsinkis," Biden said referencing the white nationalist rally in Virginia and also the president's alleged siding with Russia's Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence community in Helsinki, on the question of whether Russia had meddled in the 2016 presidential election. 

Should he win the presidency, Biden would in his first year convene a "summit of the world's democracies" in an effort to strengthen the ties between leaders of foreign democracies, private industry executives, and heads of U.S. technology companies. 

Biden's globalism is an answer to Mr. Trump's "America first" pronouncements, which the Biden campaign says has resulted in "America alone." The explicit inclusion of the technology sector in Biden's 2021 summit presents a contrast with Thursday's White House social media summit, which is not expected to include Twitter, Google, Amazon or any of the major tech companies. However, a number of conservative websites and organizations that have complained of liberal bias by big tech are attending Mr. Trump's summit.

Biden wants to challenge social media companies to take responsibility in upholding Democratic values, including addressing the abuse of technology by "surveillance states facilitating oppression and censorship, spreading hate, stirring people to violence," the campaign official said. 

One of the ways Biden would increase transparency is by holding a daily press briefing at the White House, the State Department, and the Defense Department. It has been 122 days since the White House held a press briefing. 

Iran announced this week that it has for the second time breached the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, enriching uranium to beyond the level of purity allowed under the agreement struck during the Obama administration. Last year, President Trump pulled the U.S. unilaterally out of the 2015 agreement and imposed crippling sanctions on Tehran.

Already, other Democratic candidates are taking jabs at Biden's foreign policy record. 

Governor Jay Inslee told reporters on Thursday that Biden has to own up to sending the U.S. into war with Iraq. 

"I thought it was a horrendous lack of judgment to give George Bush the authority to go to war, and I considered the vice president, whom I respect, who's done some tremendous work during his public life, but that was a misjudgment of such cataclysmic loss to the United States and people around the world. I do believe he has to take responsibility for that," Inslee said. 

On the trail, Biden often talks about his experience with foreign policy while he served in the Obama administration. At a fundraiser in South Carolina in May, Biden compared himself to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and said that since he announced his candidacy, at least 14 heads of state have contacted him.

"I think, whether I'm right or not, I know as much about American foreign policy than anyone around, including even maybe Kissinger," Biden said, adding, "I say that because I've been doing it my entire adult life."

Even though foreign policy has not yet emerged as an issue voters are eager to hear about this cycle, Biden is at least the fifth candidate to focus a speech entirely on foreign policy. John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, and Pete Buttigieg have given foreign policy addresses since launching their campaigns, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren gave speeches in 2018 before announcing their candidacies and have written essays on foreign policy, too.

"Political wisdom holds that the American public doesn't vote on foreign policy, but I think that's an old way of thinking," Biden said at the outset of his speech.

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