Impressions and conclusions from President Biden’s first international trip


Joe Biden’s first international trip during his presidency took him to Europe to hold a series of summits with leaders of key US allies and partners as well as a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a rival with whom the Biden administration aims. To have a “stable and predictable relationship”.

Below, experts from the Brookings Institution’s foreign policy program describe their impressions and conclusions from the atmosphere and results of recent summits of the Group of Seven, NATO, the United States and the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Madiha Afzal (Tweet embed) David M. Rubinstein is a fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy and the Center for Security, Strategy and Technology:

This week’s events have demonstrated the extent to which the United States’ NATO allies have rallied to support President Biden’s decision to complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite initial concerns about lack of consultation With allies and some I mentioned doubts about the resolution. NATO forces will It said Withdraw from Afghanistan in line with the Biden administration’s plan to complete the US withdrawal by mid-July, ahead of schedule. NATO Messaging This week has also been fully allied with the Biden administration – with an emphasis on support for Kabul and Afghan security forces, signaling the intent to put the war in Afghanistan behind them – but seems far removed from the reality on the ground in Afghanistan, where the Taliban encroach on provincial capitals, seize control of provincial centers , and get involved brutal Devastation. However, the focus of NATO messages on ensuring Kabul airport security betrays a sense of impending doom and a lack of confidence in the capabilities of Afghan security forces. It’s frustrating that this may be what 20 years of US-NATO involvement in Afghanistan have come up with.

Afghanistan has also been a topic of discussion in Biden’s meetings with both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Putin. Both have a role in the game and roles to play when it comes to the future of the country. No significant breakthrough regarding Afghanistan emerged from the meeting with Putin, but Biden and Erdogan agreed that Turkey would play Leadership role In securing Kabul Airport.

Giovanna de Mayo (Tweet embed), non-resident fellow, US and European Center:

In principle, Biden’s round of meetings sent a positive message about the United States’ commitment to diplomacy and to solving global challenges through multilateral efforts. In the G-7, European allies found themselves more cautious in economic dealings with China than previously (eg, two days after the G-7, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi advertiser that Italy is reconsidering its previous commitments to Belt and Road Initiative).

Likewise, the NATO Summit also took place in a renewed atmosphere as trust and diplomacy returned to the table. In particular, the fact that Communication He states that better coordination with the EU on defense matters is a positive sign that the United States is not in principle opposed to a more integrated European defence. While it does not promise membership, the fact that the alliance has vigorously defended Ukraine’s territorial integrity sends a message to Russia. It is not yet clear whether the measures will follow such statements.

For the summit with Putin, the standards were very low; It didn’t take Biden much to do better than that President Donald Trump in Helsinki In 2018. The achievements were not surprising: the return of ambassadors and the renewal of cooperation on arms control. On other critical issues such as cybersecurity, time will be crucial to see whether Russia has understood the message Biden sent, and whether it fears the consequences of sponsoring or enabling cyber terrorism against the United States and its allies.

James Goldger (Tweet embed), Robert Bosch Senior Visiting Fellow, Center for the United States and Europe:

At every stop along the way on his first foreign trip as president, Joe Biden presented his domestic and international goals, cementing the United States’ standing in the world. At the G-7, he secured agreement on a global minimum corporate tax, enabling him to tell Americans he would urge companies to pay their fair share, and joined his colleagues in an important global vaccine distribution pledge to bring us closer to the job of a pandemic scientist. He reiterated that the United States believes that its democratic future is closely linked to its NATO allies, with whom he launched the process of updating the strategic concept of NATO by the next summit in 2022. He called for closer relations between the United States and the European Union, which is long overdue. And reached an agreement on the trade dispute between Boeing and Airbus.

The president ended his trip by making clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that continued efforts to interfere in US elections or hack US companies and infrastructure would be met with a swift response. The president has a lot of work to do to implement his vision of American leadership for the world’s democracies as they face special challenges from China, and the relationship between the United States and Russia will remain strained, but President Biden is out of this trip having achieved his main goals at this moment.

Patrick W. Quirk (Tweet embed), non-resident fellow, Center for Security, Strategy and Technology:

President Biden used the G-7 meeting to emphasize that Western democracies in the Compete with tyrannyThis time with some of America’s closest allies at his side.

Democracy is central to the president’s foreign policy agenda, and he has skillfully used Cornwall to bring in his allies constructively. The Seven Powers, along with India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa and the European Union, They affirmed their commitment to “a shared belief in open societies” and “democratic values” and identified the main threats to these principles, with rising authoritarianism and corruption at its head.

It was reassuring to see the Group of Seven and others outline what they could actually do Act To counter these threats, both alone and through cooperation. This included protecting civic space, fighting corruption, and making sure that new technologies reflect liberal (not authoritarian) principles, among other areas.

Perhaps most importantly, the G7 leaders agreed to develop a democratic alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative – the Rebuilding a Better World (B3W) Offer low- and middle-income countries “transparent” options for their infrastructure needs.

Some analysts may dismiss these offers as mere trifles, as they were hoping for more. However, providing such details – even if on a higher level of abstraction than preferred – is a step in the right direction, towards action and results.

The next major steps fall to the crew of leaders, who have a lot to do if they want to translate commitments into gains in the The struggle of political systems Between liberal government and the closed central model of authoritarianism.

Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy and the Center for Security, Strategy and Technology:

The NATO summit statement Surprisingly, he says so little about the longest-running out-of-area operation the Alliance has ever undertaken in Afghanistan. The Allies promised to continue training the Afghan army but did not say where this would happen. Qatar appears to be under consideration. They have promised to fund the main airport in Kabul which is essential for diplomats and others to operate, but it is unclear how security will be provided after all NATO forces withdraw. He did not say whether or how allies would provide air support to the Afghan army. There is no mention of engaging Pakistan which is necessary to deal with the Taliban. It’s a reminder that President Biden did not reach out and speak with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The summit was a healthy Alliance return to normal but left some big loose ends for Afghanistan.

Angela Stent (Tweet embed), Non-Resident Senior Fellow, US and European Center:

The Biden-Putin summit was successful from the point of view of the United States and Russia. The Biden administration’s expectations were modest. She expressed her hope at least to restore full diplomatic relations with the returning ambassadors of the two countries and to reach an agreement to start strategic stability talks with the aim of containing the risks of military escalation. Putin also said that these two issues are fundamental to Russia and both sides agreed on them. Biden also wanted to remove Russia from being the toxic domestic issue it had been during the Trump years, and to treat Russia as a future foreign policy challenge.

The main outcome of the summit was agreement to re-establish the networks of communication that had collapsed during the Trump administration and to establish a baseline for further engagement. The two presidents seem to have forged a respectful and working relationship, albeit a cautious one. Depending on who participated in the larger meeting, issues such as Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and other potential areas of mutual interest and cooperation will likely be discussed.

During both Biden and Putin’s press conferences, it was clear that neither side had conceded anything on the issue of human rights or Russia’s responsibility for cyberattacks and ransomware. The Biden administration has said it wants to create “guard rails” around the US-Russia relationship to create more predictability. But do the Russians want a more predictable relationship? One of the tests will be whether cyber attacks and ransomware will decrease over the next six months.

Caitlin Talmadge (Tweet embed), non-resident senior fellow, Center for Security, Strategy and Technology:

Although he lacks details, Biden is Putin summit statement On nuclear war and arms control was an important development – and one closely related to the growing competition The nuclear relationship between the United States and China.

China should breathe a sigh of relief because the United States and Russia appear to remain committed to the pursuit of strategic nuclear arms control. Hats off to the world’s two largest arsenals in favor of China, which arsenal he is significantly smaller. Without arms control between the United States and Russia, China would have stared at a three-way unfettered nuclear arms race as a nascent. Beijing will also have much less information about the size, composition, and position of the US and Russian arsenals.

Unfortunately for China, a strategic arms reduction between the United States and Russia is unlikely to be politically sustainable in the long term without any form of Chinese involvement. Strategic stability issues in US-Russia relations, such as concerns Conventional nuclear entanglement And the implications for emerging technologies, are also of great importance to China.

Therefore, the United States has strong reasons for bringing China into the arms control framework, and may be able to use the current framework with Russia as a starting point for steps in this direction. Such an effort will not be EasyBut the United States should certainly try – and it is in China’s interest to accept it.

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