Sunday, June 13, 2021

Eighty years later, Biden and Johnson revise the Atlantic Charter for a new era

CARBIS BAY, England – President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday signed a new version of the 80-year-old “Atlantic Charter” using their first meeting to redefine and emphasize the Western alliance, which they say is a growing divide is between battered democracies and their autocratic rivals, led by Russia and China.

The two leaders introduced the new charter as they sought to draw the world’s attention to emerging threats of cyberattacks, the Covid-19 pandemic that has boosted the world economy, and climate change, using language to strengthen NATO and international institutions that Mr. Biden hoped would make it clear that the Trump era of America First was over.

But the two men also continued to grapple with the old-world challenges, including Mr. Biden’s private reprimand from the Prime Minister against actions that could incite sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

The new charter, a 604-word declaration, was an attempt to bring forward a great vision for global relations in the 21st century, just like the original, first drafted by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a statement of a Western commitment. to democracy and territorial integrity just months before the United States entered World War II.

“It was a declaration of first principles, a promise that the United Kingdom and the United States would meet the challenges of their age and that we would meet them together,” he said. Biden stated after his private meeting with Mr. Johnson. “Today we are building on the commitment, with a new Atlantic Charter, updated to confirm the promise, while speaking directly to the key challenges of this century.”

The two men met themselves in a seaside resort on the Cornwall coast of England, while Royal Navy ships patrolled to protect the personal meeting of the group of 7 leaders of the industrial nation, and clearly found themselves in the Churchill- and FDR form cast. When they looked at a small exhibit of the original Atlantic Charter, agreed in August 1941 aboard a ship off Newfoundland, less than four months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Johnson noted that ‘it was the beginning of the alliance was, and of NATO. ”

But the assistants of Mr. Biden said they think the Charter has become stale and not reflects a world of different challenges – from cyberspace to China – in which Britain is a greatly reduced force.

Where the original charter considered the ‘final destruction of the Nazi tyranny’ and called for freedom to ‘cross the open sea and oceans unhindered’, the new version focuses on the ‘climate crisis’ and the need to protect ‘biodiversity’ ‘. It is littered with references to ’emerging technologies’, ‘cyberspace’ and ‘sustainable global development’.

In a direct reprimand from Russia and China, Western allies are urged to oppose ‘interference with disinformation or other malicious influences, including in elections’. It ranks the threats to democracies in a technological age: ‘We reaffirm our shared responsibility for upholding our collective security and international stability and resisting the full spectrum of modern threats, including cyber threats.’

And it promises that ‘as long as there are nuclear weapons, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. Our NATO allies and partners will always be able to rely on us, even if they strengthen their own national forces. ”

It would be difficult to get Mr. Johnson, who nurtured his relationship with President Donald Trump, and signed such a document in the Trump era. Yet he clearly adheres to Mr. Biden, who was born barely two years after the first charter was signed and who adopted the alliance it created during his political life.

The new charter calls on both countries to comply with “the rule-based international order”, a phrase that Mr. Trump and his associates have unsuccessfully sought to ban from previous statements by Western leaders, convinced that it poses a globalist threat to Trump’s America First agenda at home.

Mr. Biden also used his first full day abroad to formally announce that the United States would donate 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to 100 poorer countries, a program that officials said would cost $ 3.5 billion. including $ 2 billion in donations to the Covax consortium already announced.

“At this moment, our values ​​call on us to do everything in our power to vaccinate the world against Covid-19,” he said. Biden said. He expressed concern that his administration would use the vaccine distribution as a diplomatic weapon on the world market.

“The United States provides these half a billion doses without supplementation,” he said. ‘Our vaccine donations do not include pressure for favors or potential concessions. We do it to save lives. To end this pandemic. That’s it. Period. ”

But the donation, while portrayed as a humanitarian move that was also in America’s own interest, also carries a political message. The assistants of mr. Biden says it is a powerful demonstration that democracies – and not China or Russia – are capable of responding to global crises and can do so faster and more effectively.

By taking a leading part in the effort to vaccinate the world and provide resources to meet the greatest challenges to public health, officials said the United States has played a role since the end of the World War II trying to play, reclaim.

Mr. Johnson, who is keen to use the summit as a showcase for a post-Brexit identity labeled “Global Britain”, also outlined ambitious plans to end the pandemic. In the run-up to the summit, Mr. Johnson called on leaders to vaccinate every person in the world against the coronavirus by 2022.

Public health experts welcomed the announcement by Mr. Biden applauded. If earlier donations were little more than the patches on a huge global vaccine shortage, the dose was 500 million more in line with the scale of the challenge, they said.

The announcement comes as Covax, the vaccine-sharing partnership, struggled to deliver enough doses, especially as India blocked shipments from a large factory there to speed up its domestic vaccination. Covax shipped 82 million doses, less than a fifth of the offer it had previously expected to be available by June.

But getting doses in people’s arms still poses problems. Global public health officials have urged wealthy countries to start distributing their donations soon, rather than releasing extra doses immediately later this year so that countries can administer doses upon their arrival.

In his meeting with mr. Johnson called Mr. Biden also deals with an old issue he knows well: the British territory of Northern Ireland. It first flared up as a source of tension between Mr. Biden and mr. Johnson during the presidential campaign in 2020, when Mr. Biden warned about Twitter that ‘we can not allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to fall victim to Brexit.’ He added that any trade agreement between the United States and Britain depends on the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which is in the European Union.

A proud Irish American who loves to quote poetry from Yeats, the loyalty of Mr. Praying on this issue has never been in doubt. They stand in stark contrast to Mr. Trump, who advocated Brexit and once put forward Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, to sue the European Union. Mr. Biden, on the other hand, called Brexit a mistake.

The problem is that tensions over trade arrangements after the Brexit in Northern Ireland have only worsened since Mr. Biden was elected. Britain blamed the European Union for trade disruptions that left some supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland empty after Britain formally left the bloc in January.

Negotiations over the arrangements, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, have become increasingly controversial, and Britain is threatening to withdraw from the agreement unless Brussels makes concessions. Last week, the US diplomat in London, Yael Lempert, explicitly expressed the government’s concerns about the growing tension towards the great Brexit negotiator, David Frost.

The news of the meeting appeared in the Times of London on Wednesday night, just when Mr. Praying arrives in the country. While some analysts have predicted that this will be the meeting of Mr. Johnson with Mr. Johnson would overshadow, others pointed out, that it has a purpose – to publicly register U.S. concerns in a way that Mr. Biden spared to emphasize the point personally.

White House officials have gone so far as to say they do not want to be involved in a dispute between London and Brussels. At the same time, they leave no doubt about the depth of Mr. Biden’s feeling about the Good Friday deal, mediated with the help of one of his Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton.

“He is not issuing threats or ultimatums,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told Air Force One reporters. “He’s just going to convey his deep conviction that we need to stand behind and protect this protocol.”

Mark Landler reported from Falmouth, England, and Benjamin Mueller from London.

Nation World News Desk
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