In his opening remarks before the United Nations General Assembly this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden laid out the vision he sees for America in the post-Trump era.
“This country will remain committed to … global leadership … First and foremost our government should be committed to the transnational causes and issues of inequality, injustice, freedom, dignity, and the advancement of democracy, peace, and prosperity around the world,” Biden said.
He then went on to outline how America should address the pressing issues, many of which don’t fit neatly into the Trump administration’s administration.
“I believe it is critical that every nation, in the 21st century, act on its obligation to the global community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That it exercise maximum pressure on Iran not to cheat and not to proliferate, with or without the threat of force,” he said.
Biden has been quiet about his future plans since President Donald Trump fired him from his role as chairman of the Department of Defense’s military advisory board earlier this year. But he’s been toying with the idea of a run for the White House in 2020 and been weaving through the corridors of the UN to boost his profile.
In his speech at the General Assembly, Biden called for an alliance of like-minded democracies to confront national security threats posed by global challenges, including climate change, increasing conflict over natural resources, and more.
Here’s a look at the challenges he laid out for the United States and other nations to tackle. Some of the issues he called out, while others, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were absent.
United Nations Climate Change Summit
Biden has said a deal reached in Paris, France, in 2015 should be ratified. If that doesn’t happen, Biden said the future of this issue will depend on actions being taken by nations around the world.
“Millions and millions of Americans, whether they realize it or not, have identified global warming as the biggest crisis our generation will ever face,” he said.
The Trump administration, however, has made it clear that the United States won’t sign a treaty to legally bind the nation to a level of action in reducing carbon emissions from power plants and gasoline and diesel fuels.
The Climate Action Plan of the Obama administration
The Obama administration formed this plan in 2009 to address climate change. Under this plan, the United States, the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide behind China, would meet a series of goals that the Obama administration says are necessary to stabilize global temperatures over the next 45 years.
Some of the goals were met, however, including reducing emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020.
Some of the goals that remain unmet include reducing emissions by at least 44% by 2025, and reducing carbon emissions by 26% to 28% in 2030.
Biden touted the rebuilding of Afghanistan as a success story that has held the United States accountable and led to the replacement of corrupt and incompetent leaders, improving security and freedom of movement.
The United States has led reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2001, but now there’s a debate over whether the country is up to the task of full security.
“Afghanistan’s people deserve a future just as decent as the future of their neighbors,” Biden said.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
While Israel may be often at odds with the Palestinians, Biden said both sides have the ability to find a way to make peace.
“My belief is that unless both sides decide that the failure to end this conflict endangers all of them, eventually the leaders in the region will make the decision they need to make,” he said.
The Federal Reserve System
Biden pointed to the Federal Reserve as one of the few institutions that continues to hold the United States to account after 15 years of economic recovery.
Biden also referenced the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increases, saying that efforts to keep unemployment from increasing have led to “mortgage rates rising more than the price of commodities in Venezuela, or Venezuelans rioting” have cost an extra $1 trillion in mortgages.
“What we need now is an international agreement not to let that happen, again. A global agreement not to let this guy take you to the cleaners for loans. And then maybe a global agreement not to let that happen again, also,” he said.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Biden.