United States President Joe Biden wrapped his more than 30 minutes remarks to the UN General Assembly with an optimistic call for the global community to rally behind the building “a better future,” by meeting the list of challenges he laid out in his first address as president.

“Let me be clear, I am not agnostic about the future we want for the world,” Biden said. “The future will belong to those who embrace human dignity. Not trample it. The future belongs to those who unleash the potential of their people, not those who stifle it.”

Biden said democracy lives in peaceful protesters, human rights advocates, journalists, women fighting for freedom among others in countries like Belarus, Zambia, Syria, and Cuba while nodding to the United States’ own struggles in democracy.

“I stand here today the first time in 20 years the United States is not at war. We’ve turned the page. All the unmatched strength, energy, commitment, will, and resources, our nation is now fully and squarely focused on what’s ahead of us, not what was behind,” he said.

The speech was a return to many of the themes that Biden has spoken about since entering the White House in January, framing the future of global relations as democracy versus autocracy and emphasizing the US’ plans to strengthen relationships with its allies.

“The authoritarians of the world may seek to claim the end of the age of democracy, but they’re wrong,” Biden said. “The truth is, the democratic world is everywhere… It lives in the young people of Zambia who harnessed the power of their vote for the first time, turning out in record numbers to denounce corruption and chart a new path for their country.

“And while no democracy is perfect – including the United States – we will continue to struggle to live up to the highest ideals to heal our divisions and face down violence and insurrection. Democracy remains the best tool we have to unleash our full human potential.”

Biden made clear that he will be looking to use American diplomatic and scientific skills over military power as crises pop up around the globe.

“US military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first, and should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around the world,” Biden said. “Indeed, today many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed through the force of arms. Bombs and bullets cannot defend against Covid-19 or its future variants.”

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