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'America is back, diplomacy is back': Biden announces foreign policy focus, reverses Trump positions

Joe Biden president
Posted at 12:19 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 15:58:00-05

President Joe Biden announced an end to support for Saudi Arabia's offensive military actions in Yemen Thursday as part of comments made at the State Department.

"America is back," Biden said during his speech at the State Department Thursday. "Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy."

The move was previewed by national security adviser Jake Sullivan late Thursday morning during a White House press briefing.

Sullivan added that Biden's orders wouldn't mean an end to strikes against AQAP.

Biden announced Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin will conduct a global posture review that will help determine the Biden administration's foreign policy decisions moving forward. He said troop withdrawals in Germany, announced by former President Donald Trump, and around the globe will be paused as the review is completed.

At the top of his comments Thursday afternoon, Biden called on Myanmar to refrain from further violence and lift current restrictions on telecommunications in the country. The military in Myanmar has arrested the country's leader and taken over the government, implementing restrictions like on telecommunications.

Later in the speech, Biden referred to America's obligation to "repair our moral leadership" in the world. He then said he is directing his administration to look at the refugee application process and to raise the refugee cap. His goal is to increase the number of refugees admitted to the United States during his term in office.

In late 2019, former President Trump slashed the refugee cap for 2020 down to 18,000. That was the lowest cap for refugee admissions since 1980, when the country's refugee resettlement program was created.

For context, the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. was at a 30-year peak in 1992 with 132,000. The number dropped each year heading into the new century, then slowly climbed in the early 2000s. In 2016, there were almost 85,000 admitted, which dropped to 53,000 in 2017, and down to 22,000 in 2018.

In addition, Biden announced a presidential memorandum in an effort to protect the rights of LGBTQ people worldwide.

"There is no longer a bright line between foreign policy and domestic policy," Biden said. “When we protect the rights of everyone around the world …. We make sure those same rights are protected for children here in this country."