President Joe Biden is set to make his first overseas trip since taking office.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced this week that the president will be traveling in June to participate in annual G7 and NATO summits, making stops in the United Kingdom and Belgium.
“Close cooperation with our allies”
“This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the trans-Atlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interest,” she said.
Biden has not yet made a trip outside of the United States as president despite receiving a COVID-19 vaccination several months ago.
His upcoming trip will likely serve an important role in revealing how the president will handle the pressures of international politics in person.
During a recent virtual climate change summit, some critics saw his use of a facemask as evidence that he failed to project sufficient power, though his performance in June could help reverse that perception.
“Shared values among major democracies”
For that reason, Americans expect Biden to fight for their interests while sending the message to allies and enemies alike that the U.S. will not be pushed around by any foreign powers.
Psaki said that the G7 summit would be used to “reinforce our commitment to multilateralism, work to advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies.”
Such a statement is sure to raise concerns about Biden’s effectiveness on the international stage, considering a “multilateral” approach to U.S. interests has been linked to failures of all types in recent decades.
Another lingering question regards a possible meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden has been escalating tensions with Russia during his first months in office, leading critics to argue that he should attempt to smooth things over with Putin and redirect those efforts toward dealing with China and Iran.
While Biden has an opportunity to project strength and competence in his upcoming trip to Europe, he will not be able to hide from press coverage and tough questions during the international conferences. The gaffe-prone president’s projection of “business as usual” stands in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s approach, likely telling foreign delegations everything they need to know about the current administration.