President Joe Biden travels to Europe on Wednesday on his first foreign trip as commander in chief. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Mr Biden vowed to renew alliances in the wake of the isolationist foreign policy of the Trump era.
‘This trip is about realizing America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners,” Mr Biden wrote.
“Whether it is ending the Covid-19 pandemic everywhere, meeting the demands of an accelerating climate crisis, or confronting the harmful activities of the governments of China and Russia, the United States must lead the world from a position of strength,” he added.
Boasting about the achievements of his administration in the battle against Covid-19 and the efforts to revitalise the economy, Mr Biden argued that “as America’s economic recovery helps to propel the global economy, we will be stronger and more capable when we are flanked by nations that share our values and our vision for the future — by other democracies”.
Before participating in the G7 summit, Mr Biden will meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “to affirm the special relationship between our nations”.
The president said the top priorities for the G7 countries will be to end the pandemic, ensure health security “for all nations and driving a robust, inclusive global economic recovery”.
Mr Biden mentioned the G7 agreement on a 15 per cent corporate tax rate, a lower floor that the countries cannot go below. The president said this was an “unprecedented commitment to … end the race-to-the-bottom on corporate taxation”.
He wrote that “protecting our people against unforeseen threats” requires the world’s major democracies and economies to invest in infrastructure to provide a “high-standard alternative to China for upgrading physical, digital and health infrastructure that is more resilient and supports global development”.
In another dig at the world’s authoritarians, Mr Biden said that “as new technologies reshape our world in fundamental ways, exposing vulnerabilities like ransomware attacks and creating threats such as invasive AI-driven surveillance, the democracies of the world must together ensure that our values govern the use and development of these innovations — not the interests of autocrats”.
The Biden administration released an executive order on Thursday in which the president expanded on a previous order by former President Donald Trump by banning American investment in Chinese companies that have been linked to the military or surveillance technology.
Mr Biden’s trip is designed to reaffirm to the world that the US is back on the global stage. Mr Trump often slammed NATO and often criticised other members for not paying their fair share in defence spending. He also initially declined to affirm Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty in May 2017, before committing the US to the agreement in June that same year.
Article 5 states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”
NATO members remained wary and unsure of Mr Trump’s commitment to the organisation throughout his term. Mr Trump repeatedly discussed leaving NATO with aides during the course of 2018.
In an effort to put any fears on that count to rest, Mr Biden said that during the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels, he “will affirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Article 5 and to ensuring our alliance is strong in the face of every challenge, including threats like cyberattacks on our critical infrastructure”.
In another jab at China, Mr Biden said he will work with the EU to “focus on ensuring that market democracies, not China or anyone else, write the 21st-century rules around trade and technology”.
“So, when I meet with Vladimir Putin in Geneva, it will be after high-level discussions with friends, partners and allies who see the world through the same lens as the United States, and with whom we have renewed our connections and shared purpose,” Mr Biden added.
The president said he has been clear that the US doesn’t seek conflict in his phone calls with the Russian president, but that the US instead wants a “stable and predictable relationship where we can work with Russia on issues like strategic stability and arms control”.
Mr Biden said his administration has “imposed meaningful consequences for behaviours that violate US sovereignty,” specifically election interference.
In a warning to Moscow, Mr Biden added: “President Putin knows that I will not hesitate to respond to future harmful activities.”