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Biden to affirm transatlantic ties in first major foreign policy outing

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.3%. 1 min read.

When Joe Biden last addressed the Munich Security Conference two years ago, he made a promise to a packed-in crowd at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.

Paired with his first virtual session of the Group of 7 a few hours earlier, Biden's back-to-back diplomatic engagements will center on his attempt to restore the transatlantic alliance after it became strained under Trump, who viewed Europe as a trade rival and often said he believed traditional US friends were harder to deal with than adversaries.

And while officials, in previewing his appearances, said that Biden would not be focused mainly on Trump during his outings, his predecessor's looming influence will nonetheless inform the message the President is seeking to convey.

"He will certainly acknowledge that democracy is under stress, democratic institutions are under stress, under challenge in the United States that they are in parts of Europe and in other parts of the world as well," a senior administration official said.

The official said Biden is not expected to make specific asks of US allies during the G7 or Munich Security Conference with respect to China, but will urge US allies to "stand together" and "develop a common outlook. " The official stressed that taking action against China would not be the thrust of Biden's remarks at either conference, nor would he be engaging in "chest-beating. "

Even among those leaders who attempted to cultivate the former President, like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Biden provides at least a more predictable and stable presence than Trump, whose sour moods -- often prompted by jet lag, aides said -- derailed many a G7 session.

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