At Truman Conference, Biden challenges U.S. to practice what it preaches

By Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. must start making its walk match its talk when it comes to human rights and government transparency.

“Our ability to lead the world depends on making sure we lead as much by the power of our example as the example of our power – acting on the world stage in a way that’s consistent with the values we espouse,” he told a crowd of foreign policy and defense experts at the 2015 Truman Conference.

He called out the United States for not matching its professed identity with qualifying action and offered a checklist of goals.

“It’s critically important for us to be able to lead the world, to make those stated values consistent with the way we act: banning torture, working to close Guantanamo, making government more transparent, expanding the rights of LGBT, working to achieve a common-sense immigration reform,” he said.

“The next administration has to be prepared to continue to exercise responsibility and build on our success, while recognizing how difficult the task is,” he said.

Among the specific guidance he imparted for U.S. policymakers:

• Know when to stand back and when to get involved in terms of intervention in foreign affairs.
• Realize that protecting human rights and ensuring a nation’s economic success go hand-in-hand.
• Stay firm in the Asia-Pacific region.
• Look at the Western Hemisphere as a canvas for diplomatic bridge-building vs. just U.S. dominance.
• Enact immigration reform that inherently respects human dignity.
• Help NATO adjust to evolving threats.
• Realize that the United States cannot lead on its own.

Listen to the entire speech here: