Biden Says US Faces Battle To ‘Prove Democracy Works’

President Joe Biden cast challenges to the US from China, Russia and global shifts in stark terms Thursday, describing “a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies.”

The President underscored that the United States faces an unprecedented array of tests, with Beijing posing what might be the trickiest strategic challenge of all.
As global freedoms ebb, groundbreaking technological shifts are disrupting economies and climate change is posing an existential threat, all while Moscow continues challenging the West and an increasingly aggressive Beijing seeks to become — in Biden’s words Thursday — “the most powerful country in the world.”

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Key takeaways from Biden’s first White House news conference
Key takeaways from Biden’s first White House news conference
Biden had been asked at his first press conference as President Thursday whether he would maintain tariffs on Beijing or ban Chinese goods made with forced labor. The questions were legitimate, the President said, “but they only touch a smidgen of what the relationship with China really is about.” Biden then drew back and offered his analysis of the hydra-headed challenge facing the country and the world.
“I predict to you your children or grandchildren are going to be doing their doctoral thesis on the issue of who succeeded, autocracy or democracy, because that is what is at stake,” he said. “Not just with China. Look around the world. We’re in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution of enormous consequence. Will there be a middle class? How will people adjust to these significant changes in science and technology? The environment. How will they do that?”
“It is clear, absolutely clear … this is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies,” Biden said. “That’s what’s at stake here. We’ve got to prove democracy works.”
‘Steep, steep competition’
The multi-part challenge Biden described has shaped his administration’s foreign policy vision, one that Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed this week on an alliance-building trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he also framed the contest as a standoff between autocracies and democracies and referred often to the challenge posed by China.