Welcome, Mr. Biden

The president of the United States is on a European tour to win allies for his rivalry with China and to guarantee the hegemony of the European model.

The fact that that the first international trip by U.S. President Joe Biden was to Europe has great symbolic significance. The tour was carefully planned:

His first stop was in the United Kingdom, to renew the “special relationship” with London and to give a slap on the wrist to Boris Johnson for inflaming the tension with the European Union in Northern Ireland. Biden is of Irish origin; he has always taken very seriously the disruption that Brexit could cause to the Good Friday Agreement. Johnson’s confrontation with the 27 [countries in the EU] overshadowed the emergence of the prime minister as a great international leader after the departure from European Union. The Group of Seven summit in the United Kingdom was the first in-person meeting of the international leaders to be held during the pandemic.

In Cornwall, Biden tried to push a plan to promote the growth of developing countries, proposing a high-level alternative to the Silk Road opened by China. Johnson invited the European Union, India, Australia and South Korea to participate in the meeting of the great industrial powers in order to strengthen the underpinnings of the D10 — the association of the large democracies of the world that Biden wants, which would have as an objective countering the influence of authoritarian regimes on the global scene.

In a letter published by The Washington Post before his trip to Europe, Biden said, “… this trip is about realizing America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners, and demonstrating the capacity of democracies to both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.”

Biden wants the democracies, not China, to be those who “write the 21st-century rules around trade and technology.” To this end the United States Congress* has authorized a package of $250 billion aimed at the innovation race. Following the G-7, Biden will attend the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday.

Deviating from the Trump administration, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has warned that not only will allies be reminded of their 2% of GDP allocations to defense, but they will also be strongly encouraged to contribute “to exercises and to operations.”

Biden is also looking to NATO-ize his China policy. The strategic document containing the raison d’être of the alliance has not been updated in the last decade. The leaders will commission Jens Stoltenberg to write a new version. The idea is to show NATO flexibility in confronting new challenges, such as climate change, cyber security — and above all, the rise of China.

The Norwegian recognized recently that one of the allies’ great fears is that a country that does not share our values could advance in areas as sensitive as artificial intelligence. For Biden, the great geostrategic threat of our time is embodied in China. And he needs partners.

*Translator’s note: At the time of this article’s translation, only the Senate had passed the bill in question.

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