General

Biden speech to signal to world that America’s back

President Joe Biden will make clear Thursday that the world should expect a more diplomatically engaged United States moving forward, starting with him putting the brakes on Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Germany.

Biden will also announce in a speech at the State Department that the U.S. will stop supporting Saudi Arabia’s military offensive in the long-running war in Yemen in hopes of ending one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

“We must meet this new moment of accelerating global challenges – from a pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation – challenges that will only be solved by nations working together in common cause,” Biden will say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

Biden’s most public diplomatic efforts of his young presidency will signal to the world that America’s back after four years in which Trump pressed an “America First” mantra.

Trump last year, despite congressional resistance, announced plans to redeploy about 9,500 of the roughly 34,500 U.S. troops stationed in Germany, which hosts key American military facilities like the Ramstein Air Base and the headquarters for U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command.

Trump announced the pullback after repeatedly accusing Germany of not paying enough for its own defense, calling the longtime NATO ally “delinquent” for failing to spend 2% of its GDP on defense, the alliance benchmark.

No reductions or changes have been made to U.S. troop levels since Trump’s announcement. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hinted at a likely reconsideration of the order in a conversation with his German counterpart last week, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Austin told German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer that the U.S. would make its decision in consultation with her and her government, Kirby said. German officials have hoped that the order would be rescinded by the new administration.

During Thursday’s visit to the State Department, officials said, Biden also plans to announce that he will increase the cap on the number of refugees allowed into the United States to more than eight times the level at which the Trump administration left it.

Trump drastically reduced the refugee admissions cap to only 15,000 before he left office. Biden’s plan would raise that number to 125,000, surpassing the ceiling set by President Barack Obama before he left office by 15,000.