The News Fix
President Joe Biden made his first trip overseas this week in an effort to reset diplomatic and economic relations after a thorny four years under President Donald Trump. The first stop on Biden’s eight-day, three-country tour was a meeting with the G-7, the world’s seven largest advanced economies. The leaders agreed to financial support for low- and middle-income countries and pledged to donate 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine. They also signed a declaration that called for an end to human rights abuses in China.
Biden’s next stop was NATO, the 30-member alliance that formed more than 70 years ago to share defense against threats from the Soviet Union. The group met in Brussels, where Biden assured allies that the U.S. was still committed to the agreement despite his predecessor threatening to pull out. Biden called it “a sacred obligation.” Also in Brussels, the U.S. and European Union agreed to end a long-running dispute over subsidies for homegrown aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus. As Marketplace’s Scott Tong reported, the deal “could direct the two sides’ attention to Chinese competition in the commercial aircraft industry.”
The main event, of course, was Biden’s Wednesday meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva. Biden pressed the Russian leader on cyberattacks and his government’s treatment of political opponents (and also gifted him a crystal bison). The two leaders concluded the meeting with a vague promise to “begin consultations” on cybersecurity, but their post-summit press conferences struck different tones. Ultimately, the chronology of Biden’s trip — meeting with Putin only after he’d smoothed things over with NATO — underscored what The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser called his “I’m-not-Trump approach.”