The seaside village of St. Ives in Cornwall will be the first stop for U.S. President Joe Biden who departs for Britain on Wednesday on his eight-day tour to rebuild trans-Atlantic ties strained during the Trump era and to reframe relations with Russia, Reuters reports.
“In this moment of global uncertainty, as the world still grapples with a once-in-a-century pandemic, this trip is about realising America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners, and demonstrating the capacity of democracies to both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age,” Biden wrote in a Washington Post op-ed previewing his diplomatic efforts.
“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 added.
The trip, first one abroad since taking office, is kind of a test of Biden’s ability to manage and repair relationships with major allies a signal that multilateralism has survived the Trump years and consists of intense series of summits with G7, European and NATO partners before a tense face-to-face with Russia’s Vladimir Putin
“America is back. It means that we have again a very strong partner to promote the multilateral approach … a big difference with the Trump administration,” European Council President Charles Michel said, using the motto Biden has adopted after former President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of several multilateral institutions and at one point threatened to walk out of NATO.
Biden’s trip comes at a moment when Europeans have diminished expectations for what they can expect of U.S. leadership on the foreign stage and with France pointing that “the U.S. can’t be trusted as it once was and that the European Union must pursue greater strategic autonomy”.
“I think the concern is real that the Trumpian tendencies in the U.S. could return full bore in the midterms or in the next presidential election,” said Alexander Vershbow, a former U.S. diplomat and once deputy secretary general of NATO.
The three-day G7 meeting in Cornwall is expected to be dominated by vaccine diplomacy, trade, climate and an initiative for rebuilding infrastructure in the developing world, but also an “important turning point” that shows serious political commitment behind governments’ pledges to “build back better” following the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with Biden on Thursday in Cornwall in an attempt to renew the U.S.-British “special relationship” and after the summit, Biden will visit Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.
Next on Biden tour will be Brussels for talks with leaders of NATO and the EU where the agenda would be dominated by Russia, China and getting NATO allies to contribute more to the common defense.
He’ll close out the trip in Geneva for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16- probably the most difficult meeting of the week – which is an opportunity to raise U.S. concerns about ransomware attacks originating from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine and a myriad of other issues.