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Markup September 22, 2021

MARKUP: Our experts annotate Biden’s UN General Assembly speech

By Atlantic Council

Come together—right now. That was US President Joe Biden’s message to the world’s democracies yesterday in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly. 

It might be a tougher sell than usual after the events of the last few weeks, in which the United States hastily pulled its forces out of Afghanistan and imperiled its ties with France by cutting it out of a defense pact on nuclear-powered submarines with Australia and the United Kingdom. Still, Biden made the case for revitalizing US partnerships and galvanizing international cooperation to combat COVID-19, counteract climate change, and bolster democracy.

Below is Biden’s address displayed with annotations from our experts on what his words really mean, how they’ll be received, and what the president didn’t say. Click on the underlined text to view their thoughts and takeaways.

Introducing your annotators for this edition of MARKUP:

  • Amanda Rothschild: Nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and a former senior national security speechwriter in the Trump White House. Rothschild worked with former President Donald Trump on his UN General Assembly addresses.
  • Ash Jain: Director for democratic order at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and a former member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff, focusing on US alliances and partnerships
  • Julia Friedlander: Deputy director of the GeoEconomics Center and a former senior policy advisor for Europe in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Treasury Department

Further reading

Related Experts: Amanda J. Rothschild, Ash Jain, and Julia Friedlander

Image: President Joe Biden addresses the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York on September 21, 2021. Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via Picture Alliance.