Former President Donald Trump often used his appearances at international summits to unload insults, badger world leaders and exert his dominance over America’s traditional allies. Now, Joe Biden is using his first major foreign trip as President to prove things will be a little different under his leadership.
As Biden spends the weekend eating gazpacho and locally caught fish at the G7 Summit on the southwest tip of England before heading to Brussels to meet with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union leaders, he’s working to repair relationships strained by Trump’s unpredictable and rough diplomatic style. And he’s deploying hokey jokes to do it. When Biden stood for photographs in front of the turquoise waters of Carbis Bay on Friday afternoon, he looked at the press, cocked his thumbs to the waves, and cracked, “Everybody in the water.”
Standing on the same beach the evening before, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson seemed to revel in the more relaxed change in tone from the Trump era. “It’s wonderful to listen to the Biden Administration and to Joe Biden because there’s so much they want to do together, with us, on security, NATO, to climate change,” Johnson said. “It’s fantastic. It’s a breath of fresh air, a lot of things they want to do together.”
Biden’s trip to the G7 Summit and the NATO meeting is both a challenge and an opportunity for him to reset American diplomacy after four years of Trump’s confounding behavior. “Diplomacy is first and foremost about showing respect, and that is clearly something Trump was incapable of doing, and that is why we lost so much influence,” says Brett Bruen, a former director of global engagement in President Barack Obama’s White House. But European leaders want to see Biden working on details for solutions to major problems, like the pandemic and climate change, and “not just a press release put out,” Bruen says. “There’s going to be some pressure from these other leaders to say, ‘What does it mean when you’re saying that the United States is going to work on rebuilding trust and credibility?’”
Biden on Friday spearheaded a promise from the countries at the summit to deliver 1 billion vaccines around the globe, with the U.S. contributing 500,000 vaccines. Over the next several days, Biden will meet with allies to outline ways to work together on containing the pandemic, climate change and the rising power of China, as well as trying to get European allies to send a united message to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop an escalating set of provocations aimed at destabilizing Russia’s rivals, including the U.S.
It’s a far cry from the days when Trump regularly shattered diplomatic protocols and decorum. During his first major European trip in May 2017, Trump roughly pushed aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro during a tour of NATO’s new headquarters to stand next to Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg just as the group of leaders stopped in front of a bank of …read more
Source:: Time – Politics
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