WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden arrived in Britain on Wednesday ahead of a series of meetings with world leaders anxious to underscore the message of his first overseas trip as president: “The United States is back.”
“We will make it clear that the United States is back and democracies around the world unite to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future,” Biden said, addressing the staff. Air Force personnel and their families stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall shortly after landing in the country.
“Our alliances were not built by coercion, nor maintained by threats. They are based on democratic ideals, a shared vision of the future, where every voice counts,” he added.
Biden’s remarks on Wednesday highlight his administration’s efforts to use the trip to Europe as an opportunity to restore America’s place at the international negotiating table in the wake of President Donald Trump’s isolationist approach to politics foreign exchange that has frayed relations with key United States allies.
The pandemic response and cybersecurity would be topics of discussion at the G-7 summit, Biden said. Recent ransomware attacks have disrupted organizations around the world, including hospitals in Ireland, Germany and France, as well as pipelines in the United States and banks in the United Kingdom.
Biden said that at the NATO Brussels summit he would make it clear that the United States’ commitment to Article 5 was “rock solid”, calling it a “sacred obligation”. Article 5 is the cornerstone of the NATO alliance which says that an attack on an ally should be treated as an attack on all members.
Following the G-7 and NATO summits, Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office. The president said he planned to “let him know what I want him to know”.
Biden also highlighted what he sees as a need to show the capacity of democratic institutions to deliver results, especially in the context of the rise of autocracies.
“We have to expose as false the account that dictators’ decrees can match the speed and scale of the 21 [century] challenges, ”Biden said. “You and I know they are wrong. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to work harder than ever to prove that democracy can still benefit our people. “
Biden is expected to announce at the G-7 meeting his plan to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to give to other countries struggling with limited supply, according to three people familiar with the plans.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the move would help demonstrate that democratic systems are equipped to “deliver the best solutions for people around the world.”
Biden called the G-7 and NATO gatherings “essential” diplomacy “because no nation acting alone can meet all the challenges we face today,” including the fight against the Covid-pandemic. 19 and climate change.
“To tackle the most pressing challenges of this century, we must do it together,” Biden said.