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At West Point, Biden touts foreign policy, warns of new challenges

Vice President Joe Biden hands a West Point graduate her a diploma on Saturday.
Vice President Joe Biden hands a West Point graduate her a diploma on Saturday.Lee Celano / Getty Images

WEST POINT, NY -- At the graduation ceremony of some of the most elite new members of the U.S. military, Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday praised the Obama administration's efforts to end wars abroad, saying the military drawdowns allow for a "rebalance" of foreign policy.  

Addressing newly minted second lieutenants at West Point's Michie Stadium, Biden spoke at length about the Obama administration's foreign policy achievements: ending the Iraq War, killing Osama bin Laden, and banning torture because "it was the right thing to do."  

"President Obama and I came into office determined to end the war in Iraq responsibly, and today our troops are home," he said.

Highlighting emerging issues like China's economic might and the threat of cyber attacks, the vice president said that the winding down of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts allows the United States more flexibility to address new factors that influence the global landscape.  

"Winding down these long wars has enabled us to replace and rebalance our foreign policy, [to] take on the full range of challenges that will shape the 21st century," he said.  

Among those challenges is the ever-evolving relationship between the United States and China, he said, noting that the two countries don't "always see eye to eye." 

"There's no doubt that America can compete, and America will win whenever and wherever the playing field is level," Biden said.  

Although Biden did not mention the ongoing election fight, he echoed some lines from his past campaign speeches, including a heaping of praise on those who executed the mission to kill Osama bin Laden last year.  

"These warriors sent a message to the world that if you harm America, we will follow you to the end of the earth," Biden said.  

And he referenced the day of the attack masterminded by bin Laden, calling the class of graduates members of a "9/11 generation" that will be remembered as America's greatest.  

"Your generation, the 9/11 generation, is more than worthy of the proud legacy that you will inherit today," he told graduates.