Biden Bound For Global Summits 10/28 06:11
President Joe Biden promised to show the world that democracies can work to
meet the challenges of the 21st century. As he prepares to push that message at
a pair of global summits, his case could hinge on what's happening in
Washington, where he is rushing to finalize a major domestic legislative
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden promised to show the world that
democracies can work to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As he prepares
to push that message at a pair of global summits, his case could hinge on
what's happening in Washington, where he is rushing to finalize a major
domestic legislative package.
Headed first to Rome and then to Glasgow, Scotland, Biden will be pressed to
deliver concrete ideas for stopping a global pandemic, boosting economic growth
and halting the acceleration of climate change. Those stakes might seem a bit
high for a pair of two-day gatherings attended by the global elite and their
entourages. But it's written right into the slogan for the Group of 20 meeting
in Rome: "People, Planet, Prosperity."
Biden, who planned to deliver East Room remarks before leaving Washington on
Thursday, has promised to align U.S. diplomacy with the interests of the middle
class. This has tied any success abroad to his efforts to get Congress to
advance his environmental, tax, infrastructure and social policies. It could be
harder to get the world to commit to his stated goals if Americans refuse to
fully embrace them, one of the risks of Biden's choice to knit together his
domestic and foreign policies.
Biden's trip abroad comes as he faces an increasingly pessimistic nation at
home, and souring views of his handling of the nation's economy. According to a
new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research,
just 41% of Americans now approve of Biden's economic stewardship, down from
49% in August and a sharp reversal since March, when 60% approved.
Americans are split on Biden overall, with 48% approving and 51%
disapproving of his handling of his job as president. Only about a third of
Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, also a significant
decline since earlier this year when about half said so.
One consequence of Biden's decision to so closely link up his domestic and
foreign policies is that both are now at the mercy of West Virginia Sen. Joe
Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, whose votes are essential in a Senate
evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Biden aides have hoped for,
among other things, a more than $500 billion investment to combat climate
change in the United States, which would help efforts to persuade China and
other nations to make investments of their own in renewable energy.
"It'd be very, very positive to get it done before the trip," Biden said
But as talks slogged on, administration officials began to play down the
significance of Biden's spending plan still hovering in limbo rather than being
locked down. White House press secretary Jen Psaki stressed that the president
can still work the phones from Rome, the city that gave birth to the word
"Senate." She suggested on Wednesday that foreign leaders can see beyond
ongoing back-room talks with U.S. lawmakers in order to judge Biden's
"They don't look at it through the prism of whether there is a vote in one
body of the legislative body before he gets on an airplane," Psaki said.
Reaching for a deal that has had a perilous journey thus far, the president
is beginning his trip abroad with an expert in the power of prayer. Biden, the
nation's second Catholic president, will meet Friday with Pope Francis at the
Vatican in a visit that is part personal for the intensely religious commander
in chief and part policy, particularly around matters of climate and
Biden will also pay a visit to the Italian hosts of the G-20 summit before
he sits down with French President Emmanuel Macron. Biden is trying to close a
rift with France created when the U.S. and U.K. agreed to provide
nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, supplanting a French contract in the
Biden is also expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan,
who backed down just days ago from threats to expel Western diplomats and whose
purchase of Russian surface-to-air missiles has upended his country's
participation in the F-35 fighter program.
In those and other meetings, Biden is expected to address the Iranian
nuclear threat, and Iran's announcement that it could return to talks next
month in Vienna.
He is also set to continue to press wealthier U.S. allies to step up their
commitments to share COVID-19 vaccines with lower- and middle-income countries.
Some nations have been slow to deliver on ambitious pledges and others have
largely stayed on the sidelines. Biden will argue that the pandemic can't be
ended until vaccines are available widely, and that democracies can't let
Chinese and Russian vaccine diplomacy -- which often comes with strings
attached -- take root globally.
Biden will have little interaction with those two most significant of
American rivals, as China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin participate
in the summits only virtually because of the pandemic threat. Those two leaders
are critical for broader climate issues at a time of rising energy prices.
China has committed to increase coal mining ahead of winter, while Russia's
natural gas reserves give it a degree of political power over parts of Europe.
Beyond the policies and personalities that will be prominent in Biden's
trip, the president will be trying to make the case for democracy itself,
arguing that essential aspects -- fair elections and representative government
-- are superior to autocracies in good times and bad.
Heading to Scotland on Sunday night for the climate summit, Biden will lead
a large U.S. delegation that he hopes will showcase America's plans to address
the threat of climate change. It's a sharp reversal from former President
Donald Trump, who withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
Biden is set to deliver a significant address on climate change and attempt
to reclaim the mantle of American leadership. One of the key objections to
shifting away from oil and other fossil fuels has been the costs, but the
president has been making the claim that nature is already exacting a price
with extreme weather from climate change.
The president noted in a Monday speech in New Jersey that storms, floods,
fires and other disasters exacerbated by climate change have already cost the
U.S. $100 billion this year.
"We're going to address the root cause of ever-increasing extreme weather
and destruction: the climate crisis -- we have a climate crisis," Biden said.