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Biden tells Allies ‘America is back’, but Macron and Merkel are pushed back

President Joe Biden used his first public meeting with America’s European allies to describe a new war between the West and the forces of autocracy, stating that America has returned while acknowledging that the past four years have undermined its power and influence. His message emphasizing the importance of reviving alliances and re-accepting Europe’s defense was quite well received at a session of the Munich Security Conference led by Biden from the White House. But there was also a setback, especially from French President Emmanuel Macron, who in his speech made an impartial defense of his concept of strategic autonomy from the United States, making the case that Europe could no longer depend more from the United States as it focuses more of its attention on Asia, particularly China. Subscribe to The Morning by The New York Times And even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is stepping down overnight, softened her praise for Bidens’ decision to cancel plans to withdraw 12,000 US troops from the country with a warning that our interests will not always unite. It seems to have been a reference to Germany’s ambivalence about confronting China with a large market for its automobiles and other high-end German products, and about the ongoing battle with the United States over the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. 2 in Russia. But the three leaders seem to have realized that their first virtual meeting was a moment to celebrate the end of the American era first, and for Macron and Merkel to welcome Biden, a politician they knew well from his years as senator and vice president And Biden took the opportunity to warn of the need for a joint strategy to push back an Internet-driven narrative promoted by both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping that chaos over the US election was another sign of Democrats weakness and decline. We need to demonstrate that democracies can still provide for our people in this changing world, Biden said, adding, “We need to prove that our model is not a relic of history.” For the president, a regular conference visitor even as a private citizen after serving as vice president, the address was something of a return home. The session was sent to a video meeting by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this year’s host, and European leaders decided to do the same for a brief, closed meeting of the Group of 7 allies where Biden also attended. the summit summit personal meeting is still scheduled for Britain this summer, allowing for a pandemic. Biden never named his predecessor, Donald Trump, in his remarks, but placed them around erasing traces of Trumpism in the United States approach to the world. He celebrated its return to the Paris climate agreement, which entered into force shortly before the meeting, and a new initiative, announced Thursday night, to join Britain, France and Germany in Iran’s diplomatic engagement in a Attempts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal by Trump came to fruition. But instead of detailing an agenda, Biden tried to recall the first principles that led to the Atlantic Alliance and the creation of NATO in 1949, near the start of the Cold War. Democracy does not happen by chance, the president said. We must protect it. Strengthen it. Renew it. In a deliberate contrast with Trump, who spoke of withdrawing from NATO and on several occasions refused to accept US responsibilities under Article V of the statute of alliances to come to the aid of members under attack, Biden threw the United States United as willing to take its responsibilities as the main line of the alliance. We will maintain trust with coercion, he said, adding that attacking one is attacking all. But he also pressured Europe to think about challenges in a new way unlike the Cold War, even if the two biggest geostrategic opponents seem familiar. We need to prepare together for long-term strategic competition with China, he said, citing cyberspace, artificial intelligence and biotechnology as the new territory for competition. And he argued for the push against Russia that he called Putin by his last name, with no title attached in particular the need to respond to the SolarWinds attack that targeted federal and corporate computer networks. Addressing Russian negligence and piracy on computer networks in the United States and across Europe and the world has become critical to protecting collective security, Biden said. The president avoided entering the difficult question of how to get Russia to pay a price without escalating the confrontation. A senior White House cyber official told reporters this week that the scope and depth of Russian intervention was still being studied, and officials are clearly trying to come up with options to meet Bidens’ commitment to make Putin pay a price. for the attack. But it was the dynamics with Macron that drew attention to criticizing the NATO alliance as close to brain death and no longer relevant since the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact. Macron wants NATO to act more as a political body, a country where European members have status equivalent to the United States and are less subject to the American tendency to dominate decision-making. A Europe capable of defending itself and becoming more autonomous would make NATO even stronger than before, Macron insisted. He said Europe needs to be much more responsible for its own security, stepping up its defense spending commitments to rebalance trans-Atlantic relations. This is not a widely held view among many European countries that do not want to spend the money required and the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are unwilling to entrust their security to anyone but the United States. Macron also urged that the renewal of NATO security capabilities should include a dialogue with Russia. NATO has always stated that it is open to better relations with Moscow, but that Russia is not interested, especially as long as international sanctions remain after its capture of Crimea by Ukraine about seven years ago. But Macron, speaking in English to answer a question, also argued that Europe could not count on the United States as much as it had in previous decades. We need to get more out of our defense burden, he said. In practice, it will take many years for Europe to build a defensive arm that will make it more independent of itself. But Macron is determined to start now, just as it is determined to increase the European Union’s technological capabilities in order to become less dependent on the American and Chinese supply chains. Biden, on the other hand, wants to deepen those supply chains of both hardware and software between Western allies in unison in an effort to reduce Chinese influence. He is preparing to propose a new joint project for European and American technology companies in areas such as semiconductors and the types of software that Russia used in piracy of SolarWinds. It was Merkel who dwelled on the complexities of relations with China, given her dual role as a necessary competitor and partner for the West. In recent years, China has gained global influence and as trans-Atlantic partners and democracies, we must do something to counter this, Merkel said. Russia is constantly confusing European Union members in hybrid conflicts, she said. Consequently, it is important that we come up with a trans-Atlantic agenda towards Russia that offers cooperation on the one hand, but on the other hand very clearly defines the changes. As Biden announced he would do well in a U.S. pledge to donate $ 4 billion to the campaign to speed up the production and distribution of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, a move approved last year by a Democrat-led House and a Republican-led Senate there were clear changes in approach during the meeting. Underlining the importance the European Union attaches to Africa, Macron called on Western nations to provide 13 million doses of vaccine to African governments as soon as possible to protect health workers. He warned that if the alliance fails to do so, our African friends will be put under pressure by their population, and rightly so, to buy doses from the Chinese, Russians or directly from laboratories. Vaccine donations will reflect a shared will to advance and share the same values, Macron said. Otherwise, the power of the West, of Europeans and Americans, will be just a concept, not a reality. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, also on Friday called on countries and drug manufacturers to help speed up the production and distribution of vaccines across the globe, warning that the world could return to Square 1 if some countries continued with their vaccination campaigns and left others behind. Vaccine equality is not only the right thing to do, but it is also the smartest thing to do, Tedros said at the Munich conference. He argued that the longer it would take to vaccinate populations in each country, the longer the pandemic would remain out of control. This article first appeared in The New York Times. 2021 New York Times Company

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