It’s been a sobering two weeks for fans of America’s septuagenarian president. Even before he took office, Joe Biden was telling the world ‘America is back’ — a refrain he repeatedly returned to both in official speeches and on his personal Twitter account. But as the scenes of Afghanistan’s rapid collapse have appeared on timelines and televisions across the West, such confident assertions have curiously disappeared from the rhetoric of the supposed ‘leader of the free world.’
The embattled Democrat has repeatedly refused to extend the timetable of America’s withdrawal ahead of the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 despite the failure to evacuate all those Afghan’s most at risk of reprisals. Below Cockburn charts seven times the 78-year old president told his people that he would reverse the perceived drift and decline of America’s foreign policy under the leadership of his predecessor Donald Trump.
In the aftermath of the G7 summit, June 20, 2021
On my first overseas trip as president, I made it clear: America is back. Diplomacy is back. And we’re ready to work side-by-side with our allies to tackle the toughest challenges of the 21st century. pic.twitter.com/fRwtmrYLhf
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 20, 2021
That’s a wrap, folks. I’m on my way back to the White House from my first overseas trip as president. After a busy week, it’s clear America is back, our alliances are stronger than ever, and we’re ready to tackle the toughest global challenges of our time alongside our allies.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 17, 2021
Remarks at the US-EU summit, June 15, 2021
‘I brought the A-team with me today. And, you know, I’ve said, both publicly and privately, that America is back, and this is why we’re here in full force.’
Speech to Joint Session of Congress, April 28, 2021
‘In my conversations with world leaders — and I’ve spoken to over 38, 40 of them now — I’ve made it known — I’ve made it known that America is back. And you know what they say? The comment that I hear most of all from them is they say, ‘We see America is back but for how long? But for how long?’ My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we’re back, but that we’re back to stay and that we aren’t going to go it alone. We’re going to do it by leading with our allies.’
After re-signing the Paris climate change agreement, April 22, 2021
Munich Security Conference speech, February 19, 2021
‘When I last spoke at Munich, I was a private citizen; I was a professor, not an elected official. But I said at that time, ‘We will be back.’ And I’m a man of my word. America is back. I speak today as President of the United States at the very start of my administration, and I’m sending a clear message to the world: America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back. And we are not looking backward; we are looking forward, together.’
Speech at the State Department, February 4, 2021
‘The message I want the world to hear today: America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy. As I said in my inaugural address, we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s… we’ve moved quickly to begin restoring American engagement internationally and earn back our leadership position, to catalyze global action on shared challenges.’
Speech in Delaware announcing Cabinet members, November 25, 2020
‘It’s a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure. It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Once again, sit at the head of the table. Ready to confront our adversaries, and not reject our allies, ready to stand up for our values.’
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.