Joe Biden is gearing up to fight what is called by him as the defining battle for democracy on his very first presidential trip, meeting up with top US allies in Europe ahead of the very tricky summit with Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.
This is going to be a busy agenda with NATO, G7, and European Union summits ahead of the sit-down with Putin in Geneva. This will see Biden fly the flag for a West he sees at an inflection point.
Biden also wrote in media outlets ahead of his trip that this is a defining question of our time.
He also asked that will the democratic alliances and institutions that have shaped so much of the last century have proved their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries. He believes that the answer is yes and they have the chance to prove it this week in Europe.
The pitch by Biden marks a return to a traditional US worldview after four years during which Donald Trump filtered with autocrats and recast multilateralism as a dirty word.
Biden also meets the G7 partners-Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Italy- from Friday to Sunday at a seaside resort in South-West England and then visits Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.
From there he will fly to Brussels for NATO on 14th June and on the 15th he will attend the EU meeting before heading to see Putin whom Biden has recently characterized as a ‘killer’ in Switzerland.
That choreography-by far the most intense travel schedule since the 78-year-old had taken office-it is designed to send a clear message to Putin: Biden will represent a democratic bloc, not just the United States.
Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor has said that he will go into this meeting with the wind at his back.
In avoiding the chaos, Donald Trump has argued that the United States cannot afford to be the policeman of the world which is an isolationist stance that is popular with his voters.
But as the world is crawling out of the coronavirus disaster, Biden has been positioning the United States as the lynchpin for vaccine sharing and ensuring economic recovery. He has also reentered nuclear talks with Iran and has reclaimed leadership over the climate crisis of the planet.
According to the Biden mantra- ‘America is back. The alternative, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Axios, is China taking over or even chaos.
Still reeling from Trump shock, European partners may eye the vows of Biden with skepticism.
Last month, there was friction when Washington has blocked French attempts at the United Nations to demand a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The ramping up of vaccine donations by Biden across the globe also follows what critics saw as a long period of hoarding.
Biden’s meeting on the sidelines of NATO with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to be especially prickly.
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