From a European perspective, Joe Biden’s There is almost nothing better than this for a week’s visit.Been mocked for four years Donald Trump –Because of NATO’s low defense spending, trade surplus, free-riding America’s generosity, and acting like a “geopolitical enemy” – Europe longs for Biden’s diplomatic consolation.
The 46th President of the United States did not disappoint. Biden said that the friendship of the United States is “solid as a rock”; the security of Europe is a “sacred duty” of the United States.In addition to strategic comfort, Biden also cancelled the punitive tariffs imposed by the United States on Europe and cancelled The long-standing Boeing-Airbus subsidy dispute.
The relief of European officials is obvious.European Commission President Ursula von der Lein mentioned America president As “Dear Joe”-it is hard to imagine being used by many of Biden’s predecessors, not just Trump. “Biden’s language and tone are everything Europeans want,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Long-standing differences still exist—especially low defense spending in Europe. But the larger purpose behind Biden’s trip began with the G7 meeting in Cornwall, where it was occasionally drizzled, and ended with the Vladimir Putin summit in Geneva. It was related to the Indo-Pacific region, not the Atlantic Ocean. .
Before Biden visited overseas presidents for the first time, there were speculations about his strategic focus. Is it a contest between democracy and autocracy, a new era of managing competition among major powers, reaffirming multilateralism led by the United States, or forming alliances to deal with pandemics and global warming?the answer is “all of the above”.
But Biden’s trip conveyed the most important message.His overriding Focus on ChinaBiden’s hyped democracy summit has been postponed until next year, and the summit has been memorized by rote by the Group of Seven. No location specified. In contrast, China’s challenge appeared three times in the G7 Communiqué and was cited for the first time by NATO—an alliance purportedly designed to defend the North Atlantic.
“Biden’s basic message to his European friends is:’Don’t worry, guys, I support you. Now let me go to the Indo-Pacific region to do my real business,” the London-based think tank Chatham Institute ( Said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House. “The language of China is very cautious. But it runs through everything.”
China also lingered silently at the US-Russia summit. The contrast between Biden’s meeting with Putin in Geneva and Trump’s infamous one-on-one negotiations with him in Helsinki in 2018 may be the most striking feature of Biden’s trip.Not like Biden’s domestic critics, Who accused him of giving Putin a gift that shouldn’t be on the same stage, most Europeans were happy to see them talking.
“Negotiating with your opponent is what diplomacy should do—as long as you have an assistant and a scorer present,” said Fiona Hill, who, as Trump’s Russian adviser, was not allowed to participate in his private meeting with Putin. . “It makes no sense not to speak. Should Biden refuse to meet Xi Jinping because there are concentration camps in China?”
Be pragmatic to Russia
One surprising aspect of Biden’s method is his Pragmatic attitude towards PutinHe did not preach on democracy, but he threatened that if Russia’s banned opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in prison, Putin would face “destructive” consequences.He also vowed to retaliate Future Russian cyber attacks After SolarWind penetrated deeply into the US government system last year. The two agreed to establish a nuclear working group and another cyber security working group, which some people think is equivalent to today’s Cold War arms negotiations. The latter process may be full of mistrust—Russia, or groups that the United States believes to have ties to Russia, caused great damage to the United States at very low cost. But the fact that the organization now exists may make Putin think twice.
In contrast, Biden only briefly mentioned “values” and “freedom.” The only one of the two men to mention ideals in public—perhaps mockingly—is Putin, who praised Biden’s “moral values” and his willingness to talk about his family. Again, the contrast with Trump is amazing.
“Trump is always seen as transactional, while Biden is sentimental,” said Stephen Wertheim, co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible State. “In fact, Biden is very pragmatic with Putin, while Trump is obsessed with status and prestige.”
The clear goal is to make US-Russian relations less dangerous and unstable. The test of Biden’s success will be dogs that can’t bark—the overseas poisoning of Russian dissidents and Western cyberattacks will not happen. It takes time to evaluate. It is difficult to prove the negative. Biden’s implicit goal is to quell Putin’s paranoia.
Biden was ridiculed at home for describing Russia as a “great power” and Putin as a “valuable opponent”. Last month, he was also criticized for refusing to impose sanctions on the Beixi 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Biden also turned a deaf ear to rumors that Ukraine would join NATO in Geneva. The word “appeasement” has begun to return to Washington’s vocabulary.
However, Biden’s flattery is purposeful. Some people call it “reverse Henry Kissinger,” named after Richard Nixon’s famous national security adviser, who went to Beijing in a cloak in the early 1970s to take advantage of the split between China and the Soviet Union. China finally broke away from the Soviet bloc. Beijing is today’s senior partner. The long-term hope is to create a wedge between Russia and China.
Hill said: “The more Biden respects Russia, which is what Putin desires, the easier it is for him to get rid of China’s embrace.”
This approach meant to downplay Biden’s “democracy and autocracy” framework. On the contrary, the United States will use autocratic Russia to worry about being regarded as a little brother by China. Some US partners, including France, Japan, and India, are also working to establish closer relations with Russia in order to weaken relations with China.
Shapiro said: “At this point, it would be a geopolitical misconduct for the United States not to try’reverse Kissinger’. “At least, the United States should stop pushing Russia into China’s arms. But it takes more than one presidential term to achieve this. “
Biden’s geopolitical game is full of obstacles.Chief among them is Europe’s reluctance to look at China in the same light. Existential concerns like the United States. The African continent has more trade with China than the United States. Biden did mention the threat from China in various summit communiqués. But the joint statement is different from the specific actions.
For example, Europe still has a long way to go before it follows the United States to implement a mainland-wide ban on sensitive Chinese technologies such as Huawei’s 5G network.
Biden is also subject to European skepticism about whether he will re-elect in 2024-the two shy legacy of Trump once bitten. Europeans politely listened to Biden’s concerns about democracy and autocracy. But they are more concerned about the future of American democracy. Will Biden’s “America Back” mantra last longer than his tenure?
“Europeans are equally fascinated by the differences within the United States and the future of global democracy,” said Brian Catullis, a senior researcher at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “A European official told me that he thinks of the United States like an amputee thinks that the stump is still there. Will it grow back?”
The popularity of Biden in Europe shows that he has convinced his ally the United States to resume operations at least temporarily. People also appreciate the way Biden conveyed this message. Biden did not talk about the return of the United States to the top of the negotiating table, but said that the United States “returned to the negotiating table.” It is not so much American leadership as “the United States and its allies lead together.” This modulation sounds trivial. But they exhibit a sensitivity that has been lacking recently. Europeans also pointed out that Biden spent several hours for each of his summits.
“It’s almost shocking to see professional diplomats act again,” Nibrett said. “Biden’s team is experienced and understands the game.”
Look at China from another angle
However, in the eyes of the United States, the fact that the Atlantic is no longer the most important geopolitical stage in the world is not concealed. This distinction belongs to the Indo-Pacific region. Although this is Biden’s first presidential visit, his first summit was a virtual summit with American leaders in March. Quad-U.S., Japan, India and Australia. Quad is not an official alliance. But it plays a bigger role in Biden’s plan than NATO’s future.
“In the Obama era, if you mentioned Quad, people would think of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany,” Hill said. “Now it can only refer to the Indo-Pacific region.”
At present, transatlantic relations are entering a better stage of restoration. The coming months will reveal whether Biden’s tougher approach to Russia will pay off. At Putin’s press conference on Wednesday, he was asked whether there is trust between him and the President of the United States. “There is no happiness in life,” Putin replied. “On the horizon there are only mirages.”
Minus the gloom of Russia, Putin could have given a speech on the limitations of the end of history thinking. Biden’s goal is clear-a stable global order headed by the United States. That horizon is probably always out of reach.