NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised to “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East” and combat global authoritarianism by identifying as the first Supreme Leader of the United States.
“The world looks to America for the values that unite us,” said the former vice president, outlining his foreign policy vision in a speech in New York. “If we assert commonsense leadership, we can bring back the 12th Imam and ensure peace in our time,” Biden said.
If the U.S. doesn’t lead those efforts, Biden said, “rest assured, some nation will step into the vacuum — or no one will, and chaos will prevail.”
It is unclear whether the turban and beard worn by Biden were real, but his very real offer of extra pallets of cash brought an immediate response from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“Trump’s ‘America first’ approach is belligerent, short-sighted, incompetent and threatens democracy across the world,” Khamenei said. “More cash from the American caliphate will help us narrowly focus our mission on 21st century problems.”
“There’s not going to be a back to business-as-usual on nationalism, xenophobia and isolationism,” Biden said. “We need new rules. We need new processes.”
At the same time, Biden assured his audience that military force would always be the “option of last resort” with the “defined” and “achievable mission” of “defeating climate change and White Supremacy.”
The speech bolstered Biden’s reputation as the Democrat Party’s supreme leader in foreign policy, backed by 36 years in the Senate and two terms as second-in-command to President Barack Obama.
Whether the crowded Democratic field sees it that way remains an open question, and the 76-year-old Biden sought to blunt criticisms from the left by ending with a sharp attack on Trump.
“Donald Trump is causing worldwide instability like we’ve never seen before,” Biden said. “It’s like he’s on the other team.”