Mr. Biden quickly declared Monday that the alliance is “of critical importance to American interests” and called Article 5 a “sacred obligation”. He added: “I just want all of Europe to know that the United States is here.”
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi spoke for many when he linked this summit to the just concluded Group of 7 summit meeting in Britain and compared them unfavorably to Mr Trump’s time. “This summit is part of the process of reaffirming, of rebuilding the fundamental alliances of the United States”, which were “weakened by the previous administration”, declared Mr. Draghi.
And he pointed to Mr. Biden’s equally important meetings on Tuesday with leaders of the European Union, whom Mr. Trump saw as an economic competitor and even an enemy. “We are here to reaffirm these alliances, but also to reaffirm the importance of the European Union,” said Draghi.
Another key element of Mr. Biden’s European tour, which ends Wednesday in Geneva, where he meets Russian President Vladimir V. Putin for a much-anticipated conversation, is how democracies in Asia and the West can meet the authoritarian challenge. . While Russia is a particular threat to NATO and the Euro-Atlantic world, it is not an economic rival.
Speaking on Monday evening, Biden called Putin a “worthy adversary” and said he would seek areas of cooperation with Russia, while setting red lines on Russian efforts to disrupt democratic societies.
“I will make it clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate, if he wishes,” Biden said. “And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts like he has in the past, with respect to cybersecurity and some other activity, then we will respond. We will respond in kind.
It is the rise of a rich, aggressive and authoritarian China, however, that Biden identifies as a major challenge for the United States and its allies, and his intention in Europe is to seek allied support for the efforts. aimed at meeting this challenge – militarily, technologically and economically.