The field of international diplomacy will experience its most intense schedule over the next few days. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, will make a marathon tour through Europe, ending with a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on 16 June in Geneva (Switzerland). "My trip to Europe is about America rallying the world’s democracies", the US president wrote in an article in The Washington Post.
As a result of this trip, Joe Biden wants to mark a turning point in relations with his natural partners, who experienced the most critical moments during the mandate of former US president Donald Trump. Biden's main objective is to strengthen alliances with European countries in order to form a common front against China and Russia, considered the main enemies of the West according to the United States.
"This trip will underscore America's commitment to rebuilding our alliances, revitalising the transatlantic relationship, and working closely with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America's interests", said the US president in his article. Joe Biden is expected to travel to the United Kingdom on Wednesday, where he will begin this important European tour. The first official visit will take place on 10 June. The US president will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson "to affirm the enduring strength of the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom", according to an official White House statement.
Meanwhile, in the UK, President Joe Biden will participate in the G-7 summit in Cornwall from 11-13 June, where he will also hold bilateral meetings with other G-7 leaders. This summit comes a week after the group's finance ministers reached a successful agreement to impose a global minimum tax on multinationals of at least 15%, a proposal led by the United States.
Biden insists that "the United States is back at the table", as he said in a speech when he became president. He makes a definitive break with the schemes of the previous Executive, which disdained its European partners, as well as the different multilateral organisations. For the US president, the main issues to be addressed during the G-7 leaders' summit are: the pandemic, improving health security for all nations and promoting a solid and inclusive global economic recovery. A return to multilateralism that was conspicuous by its absence during Donald Trump's presidency.
The next stop on Joe Biden's European tour will be Brussels, where on 14 June he will participate in the NATO summit to "reaffirm America's commitment" to the Atlantic Alliance, "transatlantic security and collective defence". On the same day, the US president will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues". The relationship between the US president and his Turkish counterpart is not at its best and has been further damaged during the escalation of tension between Israel and Gaza, with the US being a strong ally of the Hebrew country while Turkey has conveyed its support for Hamas, the current Government in the strip.
While in Brussels, President Biden will participate in the US-EU Summit on 15 June. "We will focus on ensuring that market democracies, not China or anyone else, write the rules of the 21st century in trade and technology. And we will continue to pursue the goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace”, Biden writes in his article, referring to meetings with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.
The highlight of the trip will be a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, a bilateral summit that will conclude US President Joe Biden's European tour. "When I meet with Vladimir Putin in Geneva, it will be after high-level conversations 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 our shared purpose", he said. President Biden says the choice to hold the meeting with Vladimir Putin at the end of his European tour is no coincidence. Biden intends to strengthen his alliances with Europe and his NATO and G-7 partners before a meeting that is expected to be decisive and may mark a new composition of post-pandemic global dynamics.
Relations between Russia and the United States have worsened since Joe Biden took office, in contrast to the good relations maintained with his predecessor, Donald Trump. There are many open fronts between these two countries, the most recent being a cyberattack launched by the criminal organisation DarkSide against Colonial Pipeline, the largest oil pipeline network, which affected the supply of fuel on the east coast of the country for several days. Apart from the ongoing cyber-attacks that the US accuses Moscow of, disagreements over the sovereignty of Ukraine and the Belarusian regime are another major conflict between both countries.
Joe Biden reflects in his article in The Washington Post, and just days before his European tour, on whether "can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?", and the US president is clear on this question: "Yes". Uniting the world's democracies to face the different threats together is the objective that Joe Biden has set for his trip to Europe. It is a complicated challenge. Each country assumes as a "threat" that which affects its own interests, and although these interests can often be shared, there are also its own interests that can sometimes clash with those of other countries. The best example is the construction of Nord Stream 2, an agreement between Germany and Russia, which the United States has repeatedly disagreed with.
President Joe Biden is once again placing the United States in the position of international leader and captaining the country's return to multilateralism with a marathon tour of Europe in which many expectations have been placed after four years of tense relations between the US and its natural allies.