President Joe Biden praised new graduates of the Air Force Academy on Thursday for making “a noble choice to lead a life of service” but warned them of new challenges in a world that would only become more “confusing” in the years ahead.
Biden delivered the commencement address to nearly a thousand graduating cadets from the academy in Colorado Springs.
“Graduates, you made a noble choice to lead a life of service. Now, you also shoulder a great privilege and a mighty responsibility: leadership,” Biden said.
“They’re going to look to you for guidance and inspiration because the world is going to get more confusing. They’ll put their trust in you, and you in turn must strive to always be worthy of their confidence.”
Biden spoke of a wide range of challenges, from Russia’s war in Ukraine to China’s threat and climate change.
“We’re seeing proliferating global challenges, from Russia’s aggression and brutality in Europe to our competition with China, and a whole hell of a lot in between, from growing instability to food insecurity and natural disasters, all of which are being made worse by the existential threat of climate change,” Biden said.
He noted that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence have the potential to change the nature of a conflict. He stated that he spoke with key AI scientists at the White House and that “some are very worried that AI can actually overtake human thinking.”
“So, we’ve got a lot to deal with,” he said.
Biden also told new graduates to be ready to compete with China.
“The United States does not seek conflict or confrontation with China. China and the United States should be able to work together where we can solve global challenges like climate, but we are prepared for vigorous competition,” he said.
“We will stand up for our interests, for our friends, for our values.”
During his speech, Biden also took the opportunity to criticize climate skeptics.
“I don’t hear many of my friends anymore saying, ‘There’s no climate change,’ or finally they’ve figured it out. [They’ve been] trying to push that since 1981.”
Biden’s speech comes after the Group of Seven (G-7) summit, at which he assured his G-7 allies that the United States will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter aircraft. As part of the plan, the United States will permit its Western allies to supply Ukraine with fighter jets, which include U.S.-made F-16s.
“The American people’s support for Ukraine will not waiver. We always stand up for democracies,” he said.
Biden lauded this year’s graduating class for being one of the most diverse in the academy’s history.
During the commencement ceremony, the president tripped and fell on the podium after handing out the final diploma. The 80-year-old president rose to one knee with the assistance of three others and walked back to his seat.
President Biden is uninjured, according to the White House.
“He’s fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands,” Ben LaBolt, White House communications director wrote on Twitter.
Since the academy’s inception in 1959, Biden is the ninth sitting president to deliver the commencement address. It was also Biden’s first time as president addressing the next generation of military officers.
Biden’s speech comes as four more Space Force missions will now be stationed in Colorado Springs, according to a report by the Associated Press. The report says this is a significant move because of an increasingly politicized battle over where to locate the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command. The Air Force picked Colorado Springs, which is home to Space Command’s temporary headquarters, but President Donald Trump in the final days in office chose Alabama instead.
Alabama has strict anti-abortion laws. But the Pentagon and the White House have stated that the decision is unrelated.
The Space Force announcement came a day before Biden’s visit to Colorado Springs to speak at the commencement ceremony.
From The Epoch Times