President Joe Biden told graduates of the Naval Academy on Friday that they will be “representatives and defenders of our democracy” as free societies threaten China’s maritime expansion from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Delivering a commencement speech to more than 1,000 newly commissioned ensigns and second lieutenants at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Biden said the Western response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal” war in Ukraine shows that the world Not on geography, but aligning in. value terms. ,
He called the attack “a direct attack on the fundamentals of the rules-based international order”, adding that “that’s the world you’re graduating from.”
“The action taken by Putin was, to use my phrase, an attempt to Finland-ize the whole of Europe, to neutralize it,” Biden said. “Instead, it converted the whole of Europe to NATO.
Biden told graduates that as they learn to fly the most advanced aircraft, staff state-of-the-art ships, and use novel technologies, “the most powerful equipment you will acquire is our unmatched network of global alliances and the strength of our partnerships.”
The president told the graduates that they would “protect the international rules of the road,” particularly in the Indo-Pacific region where they would be called upon to “ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and beyond.”
“These longstanding maritime principles are the basis of a global economy and global stability,” he said. “You’re going to be helping us connect our allies in Europe together with our allies in the Indo-Pacific.”
Biden did not address the two mass shootings in all these weeks in his remarks. The White House said it would visit Uvalde, Texas, with First Lady Jill Biden on Sunday to console the families of victims after Tuesday’s shooting at an elementary school that killed 19 children and two teachers .
Biden’s remarks to the Naval Academy marked his first commencement address of the year. He is also set to deliver remarks at the graduation ceremony of his alma mater at the University of Delaware on Saturday.
The President began his speech by paying tribute to the class of 2022’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the customary pardon of any minor violations committed by midshipmen during their time at the Academy.
He also paid tribute to former Republican Sen. John McCain, who is interfering with the Academy’s grounds, saying, “Being here I can’t help thinking about John and how much the Naval Academy means to him.” holds.”