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Joe Biden wants to make defense of democracies crux of US foreign policy

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By Trudy Rubin

The most important element of Joe Biden's foreign-policy speech recently lay not in the details (which were thin) but in his embrace of one critical idea.

"The overarching purpose of our foreign policy," he said at City University of New York, must be to "defend and advance our security, prosperity, and democratic values that the United States stands for."

President Donald Trump's "failures to uphold basic democratic principles have muddied our reputation and our place in the world, and ... our ability to lead the world," Biden added. In other words, the greatest soft power America possesses ― its post-World War II status as the world's premier democracy ― is being squandered, both at home and in Trump's interactions with allies and adversaries.

Whether or not you support Biden, I believe he has advanced the most critical foreign-policy issue of 2020: the urgent need to restore democratic norms at home and revive U.S. leadership of the "free world" abroad.

Let me be more specific. America's premier standing in the world over the last seven decades has relied heavily on admiration and respect for the success and functionality of its system and institutions, including from citizens and leaders of adversarial nations. It has always astonished me how many leaders of dictatorial regimes send........

© The Korea Times