In the news conference he hosted on Wednesday, wrapping up his weeklong first foreign trip since taking office, US President Joe Biden again focused on supposed threats from Russia and China, driving home what has been on his mind during his meetings with the G7 and NATO Leaders.
True, as he said of his meetings, “it was important to meet in person”, but it seems that while he has ensured “there can be no mistake about or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate”, what he wanted to communicate was the message that as far as the United States is concerned the world is divided into two separate camps, those that are with it and those that are against it.
Although he did not receive any obvious cold shoulders, the US president will have discovered for himself that the US’ European allies do not share the same simplistic view of the world and they are not particularly enamored of the so-called value alliance he is trying to foist on them.
In saying that the G7 should support multilateralism and that issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss cannot be solved without China and that the G7 is not a club which is hostile to China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel & French President Emmanuel Macron have unequivocally shown that although the US and Europe maintain a security alliance, a historical heritage of the Cold War era, the dramatic changes that have been reshaping the world since the end of the Cold War have made the appeals of the two sides increasingly divergent.
Particularly since the European countries are embracing the changes, while the US is still trying to turn back the clock.
That said, the internal tensions between a domineering US and other members within the G7 and the NATO, as well as other clubs of developed economies, originate from Washington’s inability to change in accordance with the times.
Washington’s efforts to build up a value alliance are doomed to fail, as it has become an ingrained consensus of most countries that it is the UN Charter that is the foundation on which the international system should be based.
The attempts the US has been making to decouple its economy with China’s have already backfired hurting the global market as a whole, and the so-called Build Back Better for the World initiative Biden has urged the G7 to launch to rival China’s Belt & Road Initiative will only aggravate that effect.
Biden should realize that his face-to-face meetings with the other G7 leaders has not persuaded them to link arms with the US, but instead made them more wary of the US’ dangerous selfishness, and thus more determined to seek independent diplomacy.
To restore the US to its leadership in the world, Washington must show its ability to unite the world to resolve the common challenges, not divide and downgrade it to a dog-eat-dog competition.