Biden scores victories in Europe – as challenges pile up at home

“You haven’t found a single person, a single world leader, to say that America is backing down. America is in a better position to lead the world than we have ever been,” Biden told reporters at the end of the NATO summit in Madrid. « The only thing that has destabilized is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States which struck down not only Roe vs. Wadebut essentially calling into question the right to privacy.

But the troubles Biden left across the Atlantic were what dominated the press conference he held at the end of the trip. The summits had undeniable successes – including an agreement to admit two new members to NATO – but they struggled to break through a cycle of national news at home.

White House aides have long conceded that Biden’s handling of the war in Ukraine, vital as it is to global security, would win the president and his party some votes at home. And there are growing fears that patience to support the war effort – both among European allies and among American voters – could fade if the conflict drags on into next year, exacerbating record inflation by making skyrocketing energy and food prices.

But for this week, there was no doubt about the worth of the cause, with the United States once again becoming the go-to nation. In the beautiful Bavarian Alps, Biden led the leaders of the six wealthiest democracies to push for a measure to cap Russian oil prices while unveiling a global infrastructure plan meant to take part of the developing world off the hook. the influence of another authoritarian regime, China. . And in sunny Madrid, Biden publicly said the United States would stand with Ukraine as he worked behind the scenes to assuage Turkey’s concerns of paving the way for Finland’s membership and from Sweden to NATO.

Biden said the alliance would challenge Vladimir Putin’s war effort « as long as it takes » even if it meant spending billions more on arms for Ukraine.

“Putin thought he could break up the Transatlantic Alliance. He tried to weaken us. He expected us to be determined to break up,” Biden said. “But he gets exactly what he didn’t want. . »

Not all of the items on the summits’ wish list have been met, as talks of tackling climate change have taken precedence over trying to boost fossil fuel production. And when asked at the press conference about oil prices, Biden struggled to justify his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, a nation he once considered a « pariah ». But progress has been made, experts say.

“NATO enlargement and plans to increase and move forces are a significant advantage,” said Richard Haass, head of the Council on Foreign Relations. « When it comes to supporting Ukraine economically and militarily, everything will depend on what is actually done. »

But Haass warned that the political quagmire at home « dilutes his ability to lead as they raise questions about both his ability to deliver and the long-term political direction of the United States. »

While Biden was in Europe, anger grew among Democrats who believed he was not doing enough to support women’s right to choose. He then hit the headlines on Thursday by announcing, for the first time, that he would support an exception to the Senate filibuster to protect privacy rights, which includes codifying Roe vs. Wade.

“Any president grappling with a Supreme Court that makes decisions that are largely antithetical to most Americans, as well as a filibustered Senate, would face a difficult political landscape. What matters is how you handle it,” said Adrienne Elrod, a Democratic strategist who advised Biden’s transition. « His announcement today that he supports the removal of the filibuster over privacy concerns was smart, timely and lit an additional flame under an already inflamed Democratic base. »

But the Senate seemed unlikely to act on the suggestion, and Biden’s ability to protect abortion rights through executive action was inherently limited. And the court didn’t stop there in its efforts to hamper the president’s priorities.

Days before Biden left for Europe, he made the decision to weaken gun control laws. Then, just moments after Biden condemned the court on Thursday, the Supreme Court issued another ruling seen as a blow to efforts to fight climate change.

And while the White House has pushed more Democrats to vote midterm this fall, to contribute to larger Democratic margins in Congress, many Americans have been frustrated by the lack of progress from a party that controls that House. Blanche and both houses of Congress.

And though Biden played down the concerns of his international peers, many heads of state openly condemned the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling while privately whispering in Bavaria and Madrid about whether America would remain a partner. reliable after its next round of elections.

“The world knows we are problems. Americans know we are problems too,” said Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude. « And, to be honest, President Biden better put political calculus aside and fight like hell for a democracy that seems to be in need of survival. »


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