During his commencement speech in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday, President Joe Biden condemned Russia’s “ugly” war in Ukrainian and cautioned Naval Academy graduates that the world is at a crossroads.
Following initiation speeches at the Air Force Academy previously this week by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and at West Point last Saturday by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who predicted a “heavy downpour” on worldwide stability and peace in the coming years, the president produced the address to more than 1,000 recently graduated navy personnel.
Biden Warns Naval Academy Graduates
Biden also cautioned naval officers of a difficult path ahead, explicitly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. Since the war began, the US has provided nearly $4 billion in weaponry and equipment to the Ukrainians, but the president has stated that American troops will not combat that country.
“Not only is he attempting to take over Ukraine, but he is also attempting to extinguish the Ukrainian people’s identity and culture — assaulting schools, nurseries, hospitals, and galleries for no other reason but to extinguish a culture,” Biden stated, increasing his voice. “That’s what you’re graduating into… a world requires strong, principled, committed American leadership now more than ever.”
Biden reminded the sailors that graduation is “graduating at an inflection point, not only in American history but in world history.”
“To state the obvious, no decade’s graduates get to choose what world they’ll graduate into — it’s already been created for you,” he said, adding that “you must transform it.”
Despite the fact that no US soldiers are stationed in Ukraine, the Russian incursion has triggered the mobilization of neighboring nations and the dispatch of more than 20 Navy ships to the Mediterranean Sea, such as the aircraft carrier USS Truman and its battle group.
Since then, Navy and Marine officers have discussed how combat has influenced their ideas about strategies and warfare in the future.
“Take a look at Vladimir Putin’s 125 [battalion tactical units] stationed throughout Ukraine. This isn’t the kind of force any of us wants “In early April, Adm. Mike Gilday, the Navy’s military chief, briefed military leaders and industry officials at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition outside of Washington, D.C.Meanwhile, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said the conflict confirmed some of the adjustments he’s undertaking to reshape the military for the coming.
In May, the Marine Corps’ senior general cited the attack on and eventual loss of the Russian ship Moskva as an indication of where he sees his branch’s destiny.
“The Marine Corps is moving in this direction as part of what the nation requires us to do in terms of sea control and sea denial,” he said. “It does serve as a model of how vulnerable ships are to missiles in general.”
The Ukrainians allege that they fired two Neptune missiles against the ship, causing “severe damage.” The ship sank afterward while being towed in a storm, according to Russian state media.
“One of the most useful weapons that you’ll gain power is our unmatched channel of global alliances and the power of our partnerships,” Biden told graduates, adding that while they will learn how to fly the most innovative planes, staff cutting-edge ships, and use novel technologies, “the most useful weapon that you’ll wield is our unmatched channel of global alliances and the power of our partnerships.”
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The president informed students that they will “protect international norms of the road,”, especially in the Indo-Pacific area, where they will be expected to “guarantee freedom of passage in the South China Sea and beyond.”
He stated, “These long-standing maritime norms are the core of a global economy and global stability.” “You’re going to be helping us connect our European allies with our Indo-Pacific allies.”
In his comments, Biden did not mention two gun massacres in as many weeks. According to the White House, he and his first wife Jill Biden will visit Uvalde, Texas on Sunday to comfort bereaved families following the shooting at an elementary school on Tuesday that murdered 19 children and two instructors.
Biden delivered his first graduating speech of the year to the Naval Academy. He’ll also speak at his alma mater, the University of Delaware, at its graduation ceremony on Saturday.
The president began his remarks by praising the class of 2022’s perseverance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as excusing any small infractions committed by midshipmen during their time at the school.
“To be here, I can’t help but think of John and how the naval academy meant so much to him,” he said, paying respect to former Republican Sen. John McCain, who is buried on the academy grounds.
In a broader sense, Biden entrusted the graduates with safeguarding democracies and the global order based on freedom that America fought to construct. He used a discussion he had with Chinese President Xi Jinping shortly after his election victory to illustrate his point.
“He emphasized to me, as he has said many times before, democracies cannot be sustained in the twenty-first century,” Biden said of Xi, before adding that Xi believes autocracies would triumph.
“He’s wrong,” remarked the president.