President Biden embarks this week on the first foreign trip of his presidency to attend a series of European summits. He’ll attend the meeting of the Group of Seven nations (G-7) in Britain. Then, he’ll head to a NATO summit in Brussels.
President Biden embarks this week on the first foreign trip of his presidency to attend a series of European summits. He’ll attend the meeting of the Group of Seven nations (G-7) in Britain. Then, he’ll head to a NATO summit in Brussels where he’ll rub shoulders with the majority of the European Union’s leaders. All of that will precede what is likely to be a tense encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16. After spending the past five months focused on domestic affairs and battling the pandemic, Biden will try to demonstrate how his administration is “restoring” U.S. leadership on the world stage.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post published on Saturday, the U.S. President promised to shore up Washington’s “democratic alliances” in the face of multiple crises and mounting threats from Moscow and Beijing. The U.S. will stand with its European allies against Russia, President Joe Biden has promised ahead of the first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin.Most recent American presidents have selected North American neighbors for their first cross-border trips, though former President Donald Trump, whose penchant for unilateral action and open skepticism of the NATO alliance unsettled American allies, made his first overseas stop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For Biden, the first trip is meant to turn the page from Trump’s approach to alliances.
“It’s both a practical chance to connect with key allies and partners on shared opportunities and challenges,” said Yohannes Abraham, the chief of staff and executive secretary of the National Security Council, in an interview with the AP. “But also it’s an illustration of something that the president has been clear about that the transatlantic alliance is back, that revitalizing it is a key priority of his, and that the transatlantic relationship is a strong foundation on which our collective security and shared prosperity are built.”
“We are standing united to address Russia’s challenges to European security, starting with its aggression in Ukraine, and there will be no doubt about the resolve of the U.S. to defend our democratic values, which we cannot separate from our interests,” he wrote.“President Putin knows that I will not hesitate to respond to future harmful activities,” he said. “When we meet, I will again underscore the commitment of the United States, Europe and like-minded democracies to stand up for human rights and dignity.”Since taking office in January, Mr. Biden has ramped up pressure on the Kremlin, and his comments likening Mr. Putin to a “killer” were met with fierce criticism in Moscow.
But both leaders have expressed hopes that relations can improve, with the Russian President saying on Friday he expected a “positive” result from the talks.Mr. Biden in his weekend op-ed also stressed that Washington “does not seek conflict” — pointing to his recent extension of the New START arms reduction treaty as proof of his desire to reduce tensions.“We want a stable and predictable relationship where we can work with Russia on issues like strategic stability and arms control,” he wrote.