Defense

February 5, 2013

Europe remains cornerstone of U.S. engagement, Biden says

Europe remains the cornerstone and catalyst for America’s engagement with the world, Vice President Joe Biden said in Munich Feb. 2.

The vice president spoke at the annual Munich Security Conference, where he also addressed the situation with Iran and what the nations of the world can do together to confront the terrorist threat.

The Munich Conference is one of the preeminent gatherings of security leaders in the world, and Biden is not stranger to the group. As a senator on the Foreign Relations Committee he often journeyed to Munich and he last addressed the body in 2009, as the newly elected vice president.

The sanctions the world has placed on Iran are working, the vice president said. He stated that the U.S. position on Iran is not containing the rogue nation from gaining nuclear arms, but preventing it. “We’ve also made clear that Iran’s leaders need not sentence their people to economic deprivation and international isolation,” he said. “There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy, backed by pressure, to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran’s court, and it’s well past time for Tehran to adopt a serious, good-faith approach.”

Biden contrasted what the world was like when he last addressed the conference in 2009. “Four years ago, the world was mired in the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression,” he said. “Today, times remain tough for too many American and European families – but conditions are improving.”

The United States and European nations must work to put their economies on a sound footing, he said. That, after all, is the key to national power and influence, Biden added.

In 2009, al-Qaida was on the ascendancy, the vice president said. “Osama bin Laden was alive and well and plotting against our countries, inspiring followers,” he said. “Now, as a result of the joint efforts of all of our countries and renewed and relentless focus on counterterrorism, the cooperation of our law enforcement agencies, and President [Barack] Obama’s unflinching determination to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, … we’ve made progress. We’ve dealt that organization, al-Qaida, a crippling blow, [and] made all our homelands more secure.”

Now it is the affiliates of al-Qaida that pose the danger, he said. Affiliates in Yemen, Somalia, North Africa, Iraq and Syria, while not posing the same threat as the original group, still are dangerous. “Increasingly they are targeting Western interests overseas,” he said. “That’s why we have been just as relentless in taking them on.”

These extremists are exploiting porous borders, broad swaths of ungoverned territory, readily available weapons and “a swelling generation of disaffected young people whose futures are stifled by stagnant economies,” he said.

The solution is not to spend billions on defense, but to reach out and engage these nations and peoples, Biden said. “It will take a comprehensive approach – employing the full range of the tools at our disposal – including our militaries,” he said. “That’s why the United States applauds and stands with France and other partners in Mali, and why we are providing intelligence support, transportation for the French and African troops and refueling capability for French aircraft. The fight against (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) may be far from America’s borders, but it is fundamentally in America’s interest.”

Biden noted there has been progress over the past four years in many areas, but much remains to be done. The issues confronting the United States and Europe are solvable, he said, but the nations must work together closely to address those issues.

Over the next four years, he said, the United States wants to advance a comprehensive nuclear agenda to strengthen nonproliferation; combat climate change; enhance initiatives to promote global health and food security and end extreme poverty; and strengthen alliances.

“As I hope we’ll all agree, although our mutual agenda has shifted over the past four years, one important thing remains unchanged: We need to work together; we need to stick together,” Biden said. “We need you as much as you need us. Neither the United States nor any other country can alone address the challenges we face.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 
 
Navy photograph by POC Sam Shavers

Navy christens, launches future USS Detroit

Navy photograph by POC Sam Shavers Ship’s sponsor Barbara Levin breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow during the christening ceremony for the littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Detroit (LCS 7) at Mari...
 

 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Shyu: Army modernization entering ‘death spiral’

Army photograph by David Vergun Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, visits industry reps at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army after speaking on a ...
 
 
Navy photograph

U.S. Navy’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft achieves IO

Navy photograph The U.S. Navy announced that the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye achieved Initial Operational Capability Oct. 10. IOC signifies that the first operational squadron, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, is ma...
 
 
Navy photograph by PO2 Tim D. Godbee

USS Coronado conducts dynamic interface testing with Fire Scout

Navy photograph by PO2 Tim D. Godbee An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 prepares to land on the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) during visit, board, search ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>