Biden's Normandy Speech: Echoes of Past, Warnings for the Future

President Joe Biden delivered a poignant speech in Normandy, drawing parallels between the threats posed by Nazi Germany during World War II and modern-day authoritarianism. Emphasizing the importance of supporting Ukraine and countering isolationism, Biden contrasted his stance with Trump's policies, urging Western nations to stand united.

Reuters | Updated: 07-06-2024 05:52 IST | Created: 07-06-2024 05:52 IST
Biden's Normandy Speech: Echoes of Past, Warnings for the Future
Joe Biden

Near the cliff that U.S. Army Rangers scaled 80 years ago on D-Day, U.S. President Joe Biden planned on Friday to compare the threats posed by Nazi Germany to those facing the world today by dictators and authoritarianism.

Biden's speech in Normandy, his second in as many days, is aimed at strengthening support for Ukraine, but it is also expected to be a rebuke of the isolationist inclinations of Donald Trump, Biden's rival in the Nov. 5 presidential election. By setting his speech at Pointe du Hoc, Biden will echo Republican predecessor Ronald Reagan. His D-Day anniversary speech there in 1984 said democracy was "worth dying for" and emphasized a U.S. desire for peace.

Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the president would draw a "through line" from World War Two, connecting the Cold War, launch of NATO and Russia's current war with Ukraine. "He'll talk about the stakes of that moment, an existential fight between a dictatorship and freedom. He'll talk about the men who scaled those cliffs and how ... they put the country ahead of themselves," Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One earlier this week, describing the speech.

"And he'll talk about the dangers of isolationism and how if we bow to dictators and fail to stand up to them, they keep going and ultimately America and the world pays a greater price." Biden is in the middle of a five-day trip to France, a rare excursion abroad during an election year in which he faces a tight race against former President Trump, a Republican who has threatened to use a second term to punish political rivals, deport immigrants and upend global alliances.

Trump has criticized the cost of supporting Ukraine after Russia's invasion, proposed higher tariffs as part of an "America First" policy and questioned America's decades-long commitment to NATO, saying European members are not paying their fair share. On Thursday Biden made an impassioned call for the defence of freedom and urged Western powers to stand by Ukraine in its fight with Russia.

The D-Day anniversary on June 6 and surrounding events are part of Biden's presidential duties, not a campaign event. But they give Biden a chance to contrast himself with Trump. Biden, at 81 the oldest to serve in the office, has sought to refute concerns about his age by focusing on the potential impact Trump, 77, could have during a second term.

Biden has characterized Trump, whose supporters raided the U.S. Capitol after the Republican declined to accept his 2020 election loss, as a threat to U.S. democracy. Meanwhile, hard right parties are gaining ground in Europe and Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he could deploy conventional missiles within striking distance of the United States and its allies if they allowed Ukraine to strike deeper into Russia with long-range Western weapons.

"This will hit the core messages that Biden is wanting to highlight during his re-election campaign but also has real resonance still in Europe as well," said Max Bergmann, director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Biden met with World War Two veterans in Normandy on Thursday and plans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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