August 3, 2021

The Alliance of Democracies behind Joe Biden’s European tour

Almost five months after his inauguration, Joe Biden is preparing to carry out an intense European tour. It should lead him to the summit of the industrialized countries of the G7 (scheduled for June 11 to 13), in the United Kingdom, focused on the vaccination of the whole world, in the name of solidarity between rich and poor states. Then, the President of the United States is expected in Brussels for a NATO summit, before meeting the leaders of the European Union (EU). Finally, he must meet Vladimir Poutine in Geneva on June 16 for a tête-à-tête which will enable the differences between Washington and Moscow to be confirmed.

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This international sequence is an opportunity to renew in person the signals of re-engagement of his country vis-à-vis its allies. After four years of brutality and humiliation under Donald Trump – which had the advantage of nourishing their need for autonomy – Europeans are torn between two feelings: the taste for reunion and the mistrust of purely verbal effusions.

At the heart of this ambiguity is an idea, carried by those close to Joe Biden during the campaign: the alliance of democracies. During a White House briefing on June 7, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made it explicit. It is necessary, according to him, that ” democracies and no one else, not China or other autocracies, write the rules of commerce and technology for the XXIe century ».

“Appear less weak”

The UN Security Council is paralyzed; the G7 and G20 show their limits when it comes to questions of sovereignty or individual rights. It would therefore be a question of creating a more flexible formula, with contours and composition to be defined, to respond to contemporary challenges. “It is about going beyond the old Western alliance and forming a group of countries of the same orientation, to allow these democracies to take firmer positions on human rights, and to emerge less weak in the eyes of dictators like Putin or Xi “, underlines Jana Puglierin, who heads the Berlin office of the think tank European Council for International Relations.

This formula has been called “D10” by the United Kingdom, which suggests adding South Korea, India and Australia to the G7 countries. An old idea combining values ​​and shared interests, revived by the pandemic, which highlighted the dependence on Chinese production chains. “With the Biden administration, the language of trade war has passed, notes Sophia Gaston, director of the British Foreign Policy Group think tank in London. But the radical change concerns the way the US president speaks to his public opinion about China, with a degree of respect, presenting it as a deserving competitor. Biden says: “Our values, our open societies, our democracies are better, we have to invest in them to win.” ”

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