US President Joe Biden will fight what he calls a “defining” battle for democracy on his first foreign presidential trip, meeting top US allies in Europe ahead of a tricky summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
The busy agenda — with G7, NATO and European Union summits ahead of the Putin sit-down in Geneva — will see Biden fly the flag for a West he sees at an “inflection point.”
“This is a defining question of our time,” Biden wrote in The Washington Post ahead of his trip.
“Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped so much of the last century prove their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries? I believe the answer is yes. And this week in Europe, we have the chance to prove it.”
Biden’s pitch marks a return to a traditional US worldview after four years during which Donald Trump flirted with autocrats and recast multilateralism as a dirty word.
Biden meets G7 partners — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan — from Friday to Sunday at a seaside resort in south-west England, then visits Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.
But as the world crawls out of the coronavirus disaster, Biden is positioning the United States as the lynchpin for vaccine sharing and ensuring economic recovery. He has reentered nuclear talks with Iran and reclaimed leadership over the planet’s climate crisis.
“America is back,” goes the Biden mantra. The alternative, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Axios, is China taking over or even “chaos.”
Still reeling from Trump shock, European partners may eye Biden’s vows with skepticism.
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