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Biden Europe Tour Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Biden’s Grand Tour

US President Joe Biden’s upcoming trip to Europe will include G7 and NATO summits, as well as meetings with European Union leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Repairing the damage to the transatlantic alliance caused by former President Donald Trump is crucial for Biden, not least to devise an effective response to an increasingly assertive China.

In this Big Picture, Melvyn B. Krauss of New York University argues that the Biden administration’s recent acceptance of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Germany to Russia reflects its broader strategic goal of anchoring Germany firmly within a united Western front vis-à-vis China. But Charles A. Kupchan of Georgetown University worries that Biden’s framing of geopolitics as an ideological clash between democracy and autocracy could undercut America’s allies and block necessary cooperation with China and Russia on shared global challenges.

One such challenge is climate change. Here, former Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio and Bruegel's Simone Tagliapietra think the EU and the United States now have a real chance to forge a transatlantic green deal that could help to accelerate their decarbonization efforts and encourage other countries to move in the same direction. Likewise, Harvard University’s Joseph S. Nye, Jr. says the US has four good reasons to lead a Marshall Plan-like effort to immunize people in poor countries against COVID-19. But Johns Hopkins University’s Anne O. Krueger sees troubling signs of continuity in US trade policy, including toward China, where the Biden administration has yet to reverse many of Trump’s failed protectionist measures.

Moreover, some version of Trumpism is almost certain to be on the US ballot again in 2024. For that reason, argues former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, the worst thing European leaders could do now is to sit back and resume their previous subordinate role within the transatlantic alliance.

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