In his final speech before leaving office as Vice President, Joe Biden described Russia as the largest threat to democracy in the world today.
Russia has become a common topic of discussion within the American political sphere in recent months, as allegations of Russian attempts at tampering with the U.S. Presidential election, as well as possible ties between the President Elect, Donald Trump, and Russian intelligence agencies have dominated news cycles since last November. Recent reports of Russian influence operations going on in other national elections have begun to surface, bolstering suspicions of Putin’s regime attempting to manipulate democratic elections anywhere that could potentially benefit the Russian state.
“Under President Putin, Russia is working with every tool available to them to whittle away at the edges of the European project, test the fault lines of western nations and return to a politics defined by spheres of influence,” Biden said to a gathering of hundreds of CEOs, bankers and world leaders at the World Economics Forum in Davos Switzerland.
“We even saw it in the cyber intrusions against political parties and individuals in the United States- which our intelligence community has determined with high confidence were specifically motivated to influence our elections,” Biden said.
“But it’s not only the United States that has been targeted. Europe has seen the same kind of attacks in the past. And with many countries in Europe slated to hold elections this year, we should expect further attempts by Russia to meddle in the democratic process.”
He went on to state plainly that he believes the Russian government’s view of the future does not coincide with the views of the Democratized world.
“Again, their purpose is clear- to collapse the liberal international order. Simply put, Russia has a different vision for the future, which they are pursuing across the board. They seek a return to a world where the strong impose their will through military might, corruption, or criminality-while weaker neighbors fall in line.”
Joe Biden did not specially address Donald Trump’s victory in the recent presidential election, but he did make a number of statements that could easily be seen as directed toward the President Elect, including references to election campaigns being run on a platform of fear.
“Popular movements on both the left and the right have demonstrated a dangerous willingness to revert to political small- mindedness-to the same nationalist, protectionist, and isolationist agendas that led the world to consume itself in war during in the last century,” Biden warned.
“As we have seen time and again throughout history, demagogues and autocrats have emerged- seeking to capitalize on people’s insecurities. In this case, using Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, or xenophobic rhetoric to stoke fear, sow division, and advance their own narrow agendas.” Although the departing Vice President didn’t say Donald Trump’s name, many of these criticisms have been levied against the President Elect based on his comments regarding Muslims, Mexicans and women, among others.
Biden went on to refer to Article 5 of the NATO charter as a “sacred obligation.” Article 5 states that an attack on one member state of NATO would be seen as an attack on all member states. Donald Trump has caused controversy by suggesting that many nations in NATO have failed to live up to their obligations, further stating he may not order U.S. forces to support countries that aren’t paying their fair share.
The departing Vice President concluded his speech by emphasizing the importance of the international cooperation through organizations like NATO and the European Union, stating plainly that a threat to the prosperity of European nations was a threat to the prosperity of the United States.
“History has proven that the defense of free nations in Europe has always been America’s fight- and the foundation of our security. Throughout more than four decades of incredibly divisive foreign policy debates, there has always been a consensus about the value of the transatlantic relationship,” Biden said. “That will not change.”
Image courtesy of CNN