At Munich security conference, Harris reinforces Biden’s messages on Russia and Ukraine


Messaging is important in a crisis. The same goes for consistency in delivering these messages.

The escalation of the situation in Ukraine is no exception.

In a speech today at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted key points that President Joe Biden raised in his remarks at the White House on Friday and highlighted the important role that NATO has played and will continue to play these days. before.

In the excerpts below from a White House transcript of his remarks, I have inserted captions to highlight the techniques Harris used to help him make his case and convey his messages.

Explain what is at stake

Today, as we all know, the foundations of European security are directly threatened in Ukraine.

Put things in perspective

Let us remember: From the wreckage of two world wars, a consensus emerged in Europe and the United States. A consensus in favor of order, not chaos; security, no conflict.

So, by forging relationships and bonds, by forging organizations and institutions, laws and treaties, we have, together, established a set of rules, norms that have governed ever since.

And Europe has experienced unprecedented peace, security and prosperity thanks to a commitment to a set of defining principles.

Reaffirm commitments

The United States is also committed to these principles: that people have the right to choose their own form of government; that nations have the right to choose their own alliances; that there are inalienable rights that governments must protect; that the rule of law must be cherished; that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States must be respected; and that national borders should not be changed by force.

We are here in Munich, together, to reaffirm our commitment to these principles. These principles have brought us peace and security. The backbone of this, of course, is NATO – the greatest military alliance the world has ever known.

As a defensive alliance, we have deterred acts of aggression against NATO territory for the past 75 years. And today, let me be clear: America’s commitment to Article 5 is ironclad. This commitment is sacrosanct for me, for President Biden and for our entire nation.

Bipartisan support

In fact, I’m joined here in Munich by a bipartisan delegation from the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. They are Democrats and Republicans. They have a wide range of political views. But they stand together in recognition of the value and importance of our NATO Alliance.

Today, even in the most difficult times for our transatlantic community and even when our system has proven itself, we, the United States and Europe, have come together and demonstrated our strength and unity, as we do today – as we stand at this defining moment with our eyes on Ukraine.

Report hazards

As we have always said, there is a Russian aggression playbook. And this playbook is all too familiar to us all.

Russia will plead ignorance and innocence, it will create false pretenses for invasion, and it will amass troops and firepower for all to see.

We are now receiving reports of what appear to be provocations. And we see Russia spreading disinformation, lies and propaganda.

Discuss options

Nevertheless, in a deliberate and coordinated effort, we are together: one, exposing the truth and, two, speaking with a unified voice.

As President Joe Biden has made clear: The United States, our NATO allies, and our partners have been and remain open to serious diplomacy. We have put concrete proposals on the table. We encouraged and engaged Russia through NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations and bilateral dialogues. We made a commitment in good faith.

Highlight the likely consequences

Russia continues to pretend it is ready for talks while tightening diplomatic channels. Their actions simply do not match their words.

And let me be clear. I can say with absolute certainty: if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States, together with our allies and partners, will impose significant and unprecedented economic costs.

We have worked intensively with many of you in this room to ensure that we are ready to move forward with consequences.

Together, we have prepared economic measures that will be rapid, severe and supportive. We will impose sweeping financial sanctions and export controls. We will target Russia’s key financial institutions and industries. And we will target those who are complicit and those who aid and abet this unprovoked invasion.

Make no mistake: the imposition of these drastic and coordinated measures will inflict great damage on those who must be held accountable. And we will not stop at economic measures. We will further strengthen our NATO allies on the eastern flank.

Summarize recent activity

In fact, together, we have already taken steps to strengthen our collective deterrence and defense. We have deployed 6,000 additional US troops to Romania, Poland and Germany. We put another 8,500 service members in the United States on a heightened sense of readiness.

As President Biden said, our forces will not be deployed to fight inside Ukraine, but they will defend every square inch of NATO territory.

Since Russia launched its proxy war against Ukraine almost eight years ago, the Ukrainian people have suffered enormously: nearly 14,000 people killed, more than one million displaced and nearly 3 million Need help.

The United States has provided significant support to Ukraine: security assistance, humanitarian assistance, and economic assistance. And we will continue to support the Ukrainian people.

Summarize your resolution

I believe it is important for us – all of us – as leaders to never forget the cost of this type of assault on human lives and livelihoods.

So I will respond to the skeptics and those who seek to test us: Today, the United States, our Allies and our partners are closer. Today, we are clear in our objective. And today, we are even more confident in our vision.

Our strength should not be underestimated because, after all, it lies in our unity. And as we have always shown, it takes a lot more strength to build something than to tear something down.

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