by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joe Biden was the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s chairman, then a vice president handed many global tasks by his boss, President Barack Obama. But as he embarks on his first trip abroad as president, he will feel the bright lights of the world stage in full beam for the first time.
That means there will be more pressure than when he, as a senator, met with world leaders to explain a Democratic president’s policies or privately let one know Congress was poised to check the global whims of a Republican chief executive.
When he spends six days in the United Kingdom and Europe, he won’t have the luxury of simply making a sales pitch, leaving Obama to close any possible deals.
As he huddles with a wide range of leaders, with an equally wide range of interests, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, NATO and EU allies, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, his ability to broker deals himself or coerce change will be tested for the first time as president.
Biden, who along with first lady Jill Biden also will meet with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, has failed to cut major deals with Republicans at home. His first foreign trip will offer clues about whether he can deliver on his promise to restore U.S. leadership after four years of former President Donald Trump’s “America first” rule. …
… After “BoJo,” after the queen, after Merkel and Erdogan will stand Putin on June 16, the final day of the trek.
The U.S. president is vowing to press the hard-line Kremlin boss on a list of contentious issues, from companies that supply gasoline and beef to Americans being targeted by Russian groups with ransomware attacks, his recent military buildup on the Ukraine border, and his meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as a host of other matters.