The head of US diplomacy is flying ahead of the phases in Paris and Rome on Tuesday, with a hectic schedule: he will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and key EU veterans, French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Vatican and participate in the International Coalition on Peace and the Military Alliance on the Islamic State against the Islamic State in Libya.
He will conclude his tour on June 29 with a meeting with foreign ministers of members of the G20’s major world powers in the Italian city of Matera – in the presence of his Chinese opponent. An unannounced face-to-face meeting at this point comes in addition to his first tense exchanges with the foreign minister of a country set up by the Biden administration as the number one challenge to Washington’s foreign policy.
During his visit to Europe, the US President proposed to US allies to launch a comprehensive global infrastructure program to compete with Beijing’s “New Silk Roads”. He got NATO to strengthen its response to China’s growing power.
“This visit is a continuation of President Biden’s priority: rebuilding our relationship with our allies,” Bill Reeker, Europe’s head of state, told reporters.
“The strength of these relations forms the basis of many diplomatic priorities, including” the response to China and dictatorship around the world in general, “he said.
Following the attack on Republican leader Donald Trump, most European leaders have enthusiastically welcomed Joe Biden’s insistence on traditional American allies.
The Democrat leader has surrounded himself with a group in support of Atlantic relations, starting with Anthony Blinken, a French-speaking and Francope ambassador who grew up in Paris.
He has already turned his back on several frictions with the Europeans by canceling the withdrawal of US troops from Germany determined by Donald Trump and ending a feud in the old conflict between aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.
Joe Biden has given up allowing key players in the controversial North Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, sparking criticism from his own Democratic camp, and is worried that Moscow will make such a concession.
The U.S. government explains that it does not want to be angry with Berlin over a project that is nearing completion and cannot be stopped. Instead, he argues, the Germans are now ready to work with Washington to correct the red lines on Russia.
Bill Reeker promised to “get something positive out of a difficult situation.”
According to Ian Lesser, vice president of the German Marshall Fund, the think tank of the United States, the Nord Stream affair illustrates the many thorny choices Joe Biden has to make to find a “difficult balance” with Europeans.
The satisfaction of being elected by the Democrats will dedicate them to being at the forefront with their rivals China so that they do not waste time and strength in conflicts between friendly democracies.
In particular, Ian Lesser said, “Europeans have tightened their grip on China.”
The future German Chancellor could have a more solid Chinese strategy than Angela Merkel, who has always preferred to do business with the Asian company, but is preparing to step down from power.
One of her favorites, ecologist Annalina Bairbach, did not hide her reservations about Chinese companies such as Huawei – the Bed Noir of the Americans – and promised to double its commitment to treating Uyghur Muslims in Beijing – worthy of Washington’s “genocide.”
“The Biden administration has long wanted to promote this integration,” says Ian Lesser.