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Saturday December 14th, 2019 9:36PM

Biden to promise US return to forefront of world democracies

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden plans a sweeping foreign policy address in which he will promise to reassert American leadership in combating the authoritarianism and global instability he says are proliferating under President Donald Trump.

Biden plans to outline his foreign policy vision on Thursday with a speech in New York and accompanying written proposals, including plans for a summit, early in his would-be presidency, that would bring together political and business leaders from around the world.

The immediate tasks, according to Biden aides who previewed his plans, would be to restore the United States' commitments to its allies around the world while taking steps to "restore and reinvigorate our own democracy." Biden also plans a defense of international trade, an emphasis on diplomacy and a promise for aggressive action to combat the climate crisis, with an explanation that all of those efforts can help curtail the worldwide flow of migrants highlighted by the current humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border .

But the campaign said the former vice president wants to make clear he envisions more than a return to the world as former President Barack Obama left it when he finished his second term in 2017. The campaign added that Biden sees a distinct rise in "nationalism, isolationism, xenophobia, protectionism (and) populism" since Trump succeeded Obama and that Trump's "America first" foreign policy actually increases threats to the U.S.

The speech comes amid increasing tensions with Iran, with Tehran admitting that it is enriching uranium beyond the levels allowed by a 2015 nuclear deal that Trump had abandoned ; and it comes days after Trump again met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, with the Republican president saying he wants to restart bilateral negotiations for an agreement.

Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate before serving as Obama's second in command, has made his international experience a central part of his pitch in the crowded Democratic primary . Yet his record also has drawn criticism from the left, with foreign policy progressives casting him as an eager cog in a bipartisan, hawkish establishment that has led the U.S. into decades of military conflict.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of Biden's top rivals for the 2020 nomination, has hammered Biden specifically for his support of the Iraq invasion during President George W. Bush's administration. Another progressive rival, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has committed to stopping what she describes as a cycle of "endless war." And both senators have explicitly tied rising global instability to the domination of the world economy by multinational corporations, including those that have benefited from the trillions of dollars the U.S. has spent on foreign wars in recent decades.

Ahead of the speech, Biden aides mostly sidestepped questions about whether he will address his previous record, but they said his outline will point to diplomacy and international alliances as the keys to stabilizing the world and preventing armed conflict.

Biden's outline, according to the campaign's preview, stops short of Warren's and Sanders' link between corporate profits and military conflict. But the former vice president does argue that economic conditions play a fundamental role in global stability. The campaign said Biden will emphasize his focus on building the American middle class while still defending a world economy dependent on international trade.

Though Biden is expected to stick to broad themes Thursday, aides said he will address U.S. relationships with Russia, China and North Korea. The campaign also said Biden wants to re-engage with Iran but that it must start with Tehran coming back into compliance with the 2015 deal.

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Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP

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