The week after next, for the first time since his inauguration, United States President Joe Biden will attend diplomatic summits in Europe. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in the first six months of his presidency, Biden only attended high-level summits remotely through videoconferencing.
His most significant initiatives, including the Climate Summit and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit, took place in this way. There were a lot of questions in regards to his post-coronavirus schedule.
Although many countries are still suffering from second or third waves of the virus and overall there are still alarming rates of global coronavirus cases, Biden, following his success in the U.S. in regards to the vaccination, has started to take the first step in the “normalization” of diplomatic contact.
As part of his busy schedule, he will attend two major multilateral summits and many bilateral meetings with different leaders from across the world.
Biden’s first stop in his tour to Europe will be the United Kingdom where he will attend the G-7 Summit on June 11-13 in Cornwall.
During the summit of the foreign ministers in May, the group announced a communique listing the most significant agenda items for the coming summit of the presidents. Although a long list of the issues to be dealt with was presented, Biden will probably be very keen to discuss issues including climate change, the fight against COVID-19 and protecting and promoting “rule-based international order.”
More specifically, of course, two countries, China and Russia, will be among the main agenda items. The Biden administration is aiming to coordinate the policies of major economies around the world against these two countries.
Immediately after this summit, Biden will attend the NATO summit in Brussels. And although there will be a lot more countries participating in the summit, Biden's agenda will not be much different.
Just like in the G-7 summit, Biden will announce his commitment to international organizations and his willingness to work together with like-minded countries, U.S. partners and allies.
As a president who expresses his commitment to improving trans-Atlantic relations, it will be critical for Biden to convince the NATO members that the U.S. is really back and that he is ready to acknowledge his commitments to the organization, including the famous Article 5.
He will also try to push the issues of Russia and China to the agenda of the summit. During this summit, he will also meet with the leaders of some member countries, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Biden's first bilateral meetings will also be an important indicator of how he is planning to establish working relationships with U.S. partners. Given the existing problems, it will also determine Biden’s approach to resolving differences with the U.S.' allies.
Finally, following this NATO summit, Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva in order to establish a new form of relationship with the country.
The statements from both capitals demonstrate that there are too many uncertainties about the summit. Because of this, the White House’s statement mentions that the primary objective of the summit will be to achieve predictability and stability in the relationship.
Biden will go to this meeting following his stops in Britain and Brussels and in the immediate aftermath of many different debates about Russia.
Following these three summits, it will be interesting to see if the Biden administration will review and revise its policies toward China and Russia.
The attitude of the U.S.' allies about Washington's requests and the extent of the tension between the U.S. and China and Russia will determine the need for a revision, or not, in the strategic doctrine that Biden puts forward.
These meetings will also be a significant factor in shaping the international image of Biden as a president and the U.S. as the leader of the free world. They will show if the U.S. really is back.
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