ELMAU, Germany ( Associated Press) — A year ago, Joe Biden entered his first Group of Seven summit as president and confidently told closest American allies that “America is back.” Now, many of them are concerned that the US is falling behind.
As Biden meets with the heads of the G-7 major democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps this week, he takes with him the household item of political unrest, shocking mass shootings and the decision of the US Supreme Court To end constitutional protections for abortion.
Biden’s 2021 summit was meant as a palate to the “America First” ideology of his predecessor, President Donald Trump.
Adoption of multilateralism and global partnership and restoring confidence in US alliances – especially NATO’s Mutual Self-Defense Treaty – were on top of his agenda. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of Biden, “We are completely on the same page.”
Biden’s election was seen by most aides as an American reset, returning to norms respected for decades, with predictability and stability at the fore.
A year later, Biden’s reception remains warm and the public’s emphasis on America’s global leadership remains upbeat — especially in the context of Biden rallying the world against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine., But increasingly, this outlook is set against a backdrop of potential turmoil ahead.
“I think Europeans look at the US domestic situation with a degree of fear,” said Max Bergman, director of the Europe program at the private Center for Strategic and International Studies. He added: “It’s like the best of times, the worst of times.”
Biden’s tour of Europe comes at a time when the Congressional Committee investigated An attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential campaign by Trump and his allies, whose party is set to make substantial inroads in November’s midterm elections. The scourge of mass shootings and gun violence – uniquely American among equally positioned nations – draws condemnation from fearful allies. And the High Court ruling that allowed states to ban abortions sparked a new round of condemnation and concerns from some of America’s closest allies.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Abortion is a fundamental right of all women.” “It must be protected. I want to express my solidarity with the women whose freedoms are being curtailed by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Biden told reporters Sunday evening that the topic of the abortion decision did not come up in his talks with world leaders.
“There is no issue discussed or related to Ukraine,” he said, giving a flat answer of “no” when asked whether the matter was reported by another summit attendee.
Yet when the Supreme Court decision arrived on Friday morning, Biden became the third G-7 leader to react, with Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Britain’s Johnson denouncing the ruling even before Biden’s remarks were delivered at the White House.
“I have to tell you that I think it’s a big step backwards,” Johnson said on Friday. “I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I hold to that point of view and that’s why the UK has laws in place for what it does and we’ve recently taken steps to make sure those laws was implemented across the UK.
Trudeau called the decision “terrible”, adding: “No government, politician or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.” He said he “cannot imagine the fear and anger” that women in America would be experiencing after the ruling.
And after 19 students and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, there was mourning from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, even as Russia’s aggression to his own country’s armed forces. Casualties caused manifold losses.
“The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans,” he tweeted at the time.
Bergman said that while European leaders may have differing opinions on the merits of the Rowe versus Wade regime, they have widespread concerns about the turmoil that the ruling could lead to.
“They saw the January 6 uprising, they are very concerned about America’s domestic stability and then here is a decision… which clearly has to up and explode American politics and deepen America’s political divide.” And that’s something that’s incredibly worrying,” he said.
He said Europeans view American domestic strife through their own safety glasses.
“The underlying concern is what this means for the United States as their security guarantor,” he said. “Will America Be Stable Enough to Keep It Up?”
Pressing on how America’s position in the world would be affected by the abortion decision, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the decision an “excessive decision” that changed same-sex marriage and access to contraception by married couples. put in danger. But she said Biden’s position globally was unchanged.
“Look, we’ve already heard from a lot of leaders,” she told reporters in Air Force One on her way to Germany. “I know some of them have made statements – very vocal – about what they have seen from this decision,” adding that they were “offering support to the American people.”
“I don’t think it precludes the work that the president is going to do or wants to do or wants to do with the leaders,” Jean-Pierre said.
Johnson, for his part, denied that he had specific fears about America’s overall path.
“Looking from the outside, it was very strange,” he told Nation World News on Sunday when asked about the attempt to overthrow the presidential election on January 6, 2021. “But I don’t believe American democracy is in grave danger, far from it. I believe America is the greatest global guarantor of democracy and freedom.”
Most G-7 nations tend to be more liberal than the US on many issues, and the question about Trump’s long-standing alliances is about more than just heads of state and heads of government.
Biden’s “America is Back” messaging has faced renewed scrutiny from everyday citizens of allied countries.
“I think America is divided,” said Gabriele Jocher, 59, a freelance social worker from Garmisch, Germany, just a few miles from the summit site. “I think there are really great forces out there and there are people who really want to move forward in that way, but also far behind. And it makes me think, globally, what’s going on out there like Two forces colliding.
Christina Maurer, 59, a homemaker and nurse in the picturesque town, said: “Whatever Mr Biden wants to change now, I don’t know. Then someone else will come, his name will be Trump or something like that and he will ruin everything again.
Associated Press writer Daniel Niemann in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, contributed to this report.