“We’re going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future,” Biden said, speaking to U.S. Air Force personnel and their families stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall shortly after he landed.
“Our alliances weren’t built by coercion or maintained by threats. They’re grounded in democratic ideals, a shared vision of the future, where every voice matters,” he said.
Biden’s remarks underscore his administration’s efforts to use the Europe trip to re-establish America’s place at the international negotiating table following President Donald Trump’s isolationist approach to foreign policy, which frayed relationships with key U.S. allies.
The pandemic response and cybersecurity will be topics at the G-7 summit, Biden said. Recent ransomware attacks have disrupted organizations around the world, including hospitals in Ireland, Germany and France, as well as pipelines in the U.S. and banks in the U.K.
Biden said that at the NATO summit in Brussels, he would make it clear that the U.S.’s commitment to Article 5 was “rock solid,” calling it a “sacred obligation.” Article 5, the cornerstone of the NATO alliance, says an attack against one ally should be treated as an attack against all members.
After the G-7 and NATO summits, Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, their first in-person meeting since Biden took office. Biden said he plans to “let him know what I want him to know.”
Biden also underscored what he sees as a need to showcase the ability of democratic institutions to deliver results, particularly as autocracies rise.
“We have to expose as false the narrative that the decrees of dictators can match the speed and scale” of 21st century challenges, Biden said. “You and I know they are wrong. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work harder than ever to prove that democracy can still deliver for our people.”
Biden is expected to announce at the G-7 meeting his plan to buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to donate to other countries struggling with limited supplies, three people familiar with the plan said.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the move would help demonstrate that democratic systems are equipped to “best deliver solutions for people everywhere.”
Biden described the G-7 and NATO gatherings as “essential” diplomacy, “because no single nation acting alone can meet all of the challenges we face today,” including countering the pandemic and climate change.
“To tackle this century’s most pressing challenges, we have to do it together,” he said.