U.S. International relations and foreign policy April 2024-

Written by  //  June 18, 2024  //  Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, U.S.  //  No comments

18 June
A Foreign Policy for the World as It Is
Biden and the Search for a New American Strategy
By Ben Rhodes
(Foreign Affairs July/August 2024) “America is back.” In the early days of his presidency, Joe Biden repeated those words as a starting point for his foreign policy. … Biden’s initial pledge was a balm to many after Trump’s presidency ended in the dual catastrophes of COVID-19 and the January 6 insurrection. Yet two challenges largely beyond the Biden administration’s control shadowed the message of superpower restoration. First was the specter of Trump’s return. Allies watched nervously as the former president maintained his grip on the Republican Party and Washington remained mired in dysfunction. Autocratic adversaries, most notably Russian President Vladimir Putin, bet on Washington’s lack of staying power. New multilateral agreements akin to the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris agreement on climate change, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership were impossible, given the vertiginous swings in U.S. foreign policy.
Second, the old rules-based international order doesn’t really exist anymore. Sure, the laws, structures, and summits remain in place. But core institutions such as the UN Security Council and the World Trade Organization are tied in knots by disagreements among their members. Russia is committed to disrupting U.S.-fortified norms. China is committed to building its own alternative order. On trade and industrial policy, even Washington is moving away from core tenets of post–Cold War globalization. Regional powers such as Brazil, India, Turkey, and the Gulf states pick and choose which partner to plug into depending on the issue. Even the high-water mark for multilateral action in the Biden years—support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia—remains a largely Western initiative. As the old order unravels, these overlapping blocs are competing over what will replace it.
… If Biden does win a second term, he should use it to build on those of his policies that have accounted for shifting global realities, while pivoting away from the political considerations, maximalism, and Western-centric view that have caused his administration to make some of the same mistakes as its predecessors. The stakes are high. Whoever is president in the coming years will have to avoid global war, respond to the escalating climate crisis, and grapple with the rise of new technologies such as artificial intelligence. Meeting the moment requires abandoning a mindset of American primacy and recognizing that the world will be a turbulent place for years to come. Above all, it requires building a bridge to the future—not the past.

11 June
Biden and Zelenskyy will sign a security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian cash to help Kyiv
(AP) — President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will sign a bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Ukraine on Thursday when they meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Italy.

5-6 June
Biden in Normandy says he prays Americans don’t become isolationists
In the first of his two addresses in France, Biden makes the case for international alliances.
(Politico) President Joe Biden on Thursday used the 80th anniversary of D-Day to warn against the spread of isolationism and to promise that the U.S. would “not walk away” from Ukraine.
Speaking before a crowd of aging WWII veterans, many over 100 years old and wheelchair bound, Biden pointed to the beaches of Normandy, where he spoke, as “a powerful illustration of how alliances make us stronger. It was, he remarked, “a lesson that I pray Americans never forget.”
Biden’s speech was a combination of somber reflections and calls for action. Standing alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and dozens of American veterans, Biden lauded the courage of World War II’s last living veterans while connecting their fight eight decades ago to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Noting that Ukranians who have fought invading Russian troops for the past two years, Biden touted the recent expansion of NATO and vowed never to back down to autocrats like Russian President Vladimir Putin. …
Macron, who spoke before Biden during the ceremony, described the “eternal bond” between the U.S. and France. “It’s a blood tie, shed for liberty,” he said,
Biden is set to attend a second, larger D-Day commemoration at Omaha Beach Thursday afternoon with a number of other world leaders, including Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is likely to be NATO’s next secretary general.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also be among the guests. Biden and Zelenskyy are likely to meet briefly following the event where they are expected to briefly discuss the latest developments around Russia’s invasion and additional security guarantees and actions the U.S. and other allies may be able to take.
Biden will return to Normandy on Friday for a longer speech he plans to deliver at Pointe du Hoc, the legendary 100-foot cliff that Army rangers scaled during the D-Day invasion. The back-to-back speeches over two days here, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, are about “drawing a through line” from World War II through the Cold War to the present day.
Foreign policy becomes a liability for Biden’s campaign as he heads to France
Even Democrats are sounding alarms about foreign wars hurting Biden in November.
(Politico) As Biden begins a month of high stakes international meetings with a trip to France this week, two bloody wars in Ukraine and Gaza have complicated the president’s job and, polls show, contributed to the shakiness of his political standing at home.
“There is a sense of global chaos that will not be helpful to him” this fall, said Matt Duss, a former senior policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and an executive vice president at the Center for International Policy. “I think people have legitimate questions of, ‘Are we on the right track here?’”
Or as put by one longtime Democratic strategist, who was granted anonymity to discuss the issue candidly: “Foreign policy is a problem for Biden because it undermines the central tenet of his 2020 candidacy, when he said he would restore America abroad and return us to normalcy.”
Biden’s polling took a hit — and never recovered — after the the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, with 13 American service members killed by a suicide bomber. But after that debacle, Biden could still point to a string of foreign policy successes. By the midway point of his term, he had helped unify NATO allies following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and stymie President Vladimir Putin’s hopes for a quick and easy war.

30 May
Biden to mark D-Day anniversary with remarks in France
Biden will travel to Normandy on June 5 and give his remarks the next day. He then will participate in other engagements with first lady Jill Biden for the anniversary, which will include greeting American veterans and their family members to honor those who landed at Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy in 1944.
The president celebrated the 79 anniversary of D-Day last year with a statement, saying the service members who served that day “represent the greatest generation in our history.”
On June 7, the president will deliver remarks at Pointe du Hoc, France, and then travel to Paris on June 8 for a state visit with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.
King Charles III is also planning to travel to France for British ceremonies to mark D-Day.
Biden’s engagement with foreign leaders is a break from his domestic travel to campaign ahead of November.
Biden to make state visit to France after D-Day 80th anniversary ceremonies
The US president and his wife Jill Biden will be hosted by Emmanuel Macron in Paris starting on June 8, after the commemorations in Normandy on June 6.
(Le Monde) President Emmanuel Macron will next week host Joe Biden for the US leader’s first state visit to France after both leaders attend commemorations for the World War II D-Day landings, the Elysée Palace said Thursday, May 30. Biden’s visit on June 8 for talks with Macron in Paris will come after the June 6 ceremony in Normandy marking 80 years since the D-Day landings. In a separate statement, the White House said Biden would be in France from June 5 to June 9.
Macron, Biden to discuss Ukraine, Middle East after marking D-Day
The state visit on June 8 will “reflect the enduring and comprehensive relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally, founded on shared democratic values, economic ties, and defence and security cooperation.”
The two presidents will discuss a wide range of “global challenges” such as the Gaza war, Washington said.
Macron’s office said for its part that the two leaders would discuss “unfailing and long-term support” for Ukraine.

28 May
Blinken Travels to Eastern Europe as Russia Presses War in Ukraine
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken aims to show support for Moldova, which is under threat from Russia, and plans to attend a NATO meeting in the Czech Republic.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken plans to spend this week showing U.S. support for nations facing a hostile Russia in visits to Moldova and the Czech Republic, where he is scheduled to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers that will discuss how to bolster Ukraine.
Mr. Blinken, who made an overnight stop in Kyiv more than two weeks ago, flew into Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, on Wednesday to meet with Maia Sandu, the nation’s president, who is running for re-election. Ms. Sandu has advocated for Moldova to join the European Union, and she has scheduled a referendum vote on E.U. membership on the same day as the general election in October.

23 May
The Kenyan president’s landmark White House visit
On the diplomatic front, it was the first official state visit by an African leader to the White House since 2008.
(GZERO media)On the security front, President Joe Biden used the occasion to announce that his administration will work with Congress to designate Kenya as a “major non-NATO ally,” making the East African nation the 19th country to hold that status but the first in sub-Saharan Africa. This designation won’t require the US to defend Kenya if it falls under attack, as all NATO members are obligated by treaty to do on behalf of alliance partners, but it deepens strategic defense cooperation between the two and allows for jointly funded research and development projects.
On the technology front, Kenya is already home to a large concentration of startup tech companies. Biden and Ruto announced a partnership on semiconductor development on Thursday that could make Kenya the first country in Africa to receive funding from the so-called CHIPS Act, which subsidizes the production of cutting-edge computer chips. There will also be investment in AI and cybersecurity development.
Finally, on the geopolitical front, these agreements signal that the Biden administration recognizes the need to compete more aggressively with China, Russia, the UAE, Turkey, and others for trade, investment, and diplomatic opportunities in a resource-rich and increasingly innovative region of Africa.
Biden Honors Kenya as the East African Nation Prepares to Send Forces to Haiti
President Biden welcomed President William Ruto of Kenya and said he intended to designate his country as a “major non-NATO ally.”
(NYT) President Biden suggested on Thursday that the decision to have Kenya lead a security mission in Haiti, without troops from the United States on the ground, was meant to avoid the fraught history of American intervention in the deeply troubled country.
Mr. Biden said the United States would contribute money, logistical support and equipment as Kenya and other nations try to quell the gang violence that erupted there after the assassination of the country’s president in 2021. But in response to a question about why American troops will not participate, Mr. Biden alluded to previous U.S. interventions there.

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