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It’s being called the
FIRST STOP : England
He’ll meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Queen Elizabeth II and other allies at the G7 Summit.
SECOND STOP : NATO
He’ll continue on to a conclave in Brussels on June 14, before his
THIRD STOP : Geneva
For a tête-à-tête with Vladimir Putin June 16.
THE BIG PICTURE : Beyond The Headlines
Biden has promised to
Stand up for human rights and democracy
Position the U.S. for competition with China
Rally the world to fight climate change
Lift the lid a little further. There is a lot to see.
We were told that Joe Biden would be a transitional President — mainly there to lower the political temperature; try to heal a divided nation. OKAY. He would take the absurd politics out of the Covid response. Drain some of the festering poison from the body politic. That aside, not do too much.
The presidency of Joe Biden began at noon EST (17:00 UTC) on January 20, 2021, when he was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. Is it possible that far from being transitional that he’s . . .
I’m not spinning either positively or negatively. It’s still early — and while G7 Summit participants may have sighed with relief that “he’s not Trump“, as Biden himself admits, “ it’s not enough to say America is back. He has to convince the world that we are staying.”
WHY IT MATTERS : Diplomacy by tweet
After four years of diplomacy-by-tweet under Trump, allies and partners are reacclimating to a more familiar foreign policy process as Biden reboots America’s foreign policy apparatus. He has to pull off a pivot, from saying America is back to meeting the challenges facing multilateralism in both foreign and domestic arenas.
Far from being a boring presidency to date, and even further from being a crippled one which GOP drama and ridiculous hijinks had hoped to create, this Administration came in with vision and determination.
Let’s start with the $1.9 trillion (£1.35tn) stimulus package.
The headline from the passing of this humungous piece of legislation was that nearly all adult Americans would receive a check for $1,400 to help them cope with the hardships brought about by the Covid pandemic. It was cash in hand to a lot of Americans and won massive approval – from Democratic and Republican voters alike – although not a single Republican lawmaker had the courage to buck their benefactors to back the proposal, even so-called moderates like Romney. The America Rescue Package, or as it is popularly called by the voters, “the stimulus” was a major piece of social policy.
One insight that Biden borrowed from his time as vice-president to Barack Obama’s presidency is to not be too cautious when dealing with a crisis. The urgency of the pandemic gave Biden the excuse he needed to push for a massive plan — and he got it through.
Now he’s planning on rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Again, the price tag will be in the trillions. The ambition is immense. Most think of infrastructure as just the repairing of bridges and roads (important and vital) but Biden’s plans are about making digital access more equitable. And – it goes even wider than that. Way wider. “It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” the president told an audience outside Pittsburgh. “It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”
The wish-list Biden hopes to achieve with his infrastructure plan aspires to create millions of jobs in the short term and strengthen American competitiveness in the long, especially with China. It hopes to lead to greater racial equality. The focus on new, cleaner energy sources promises to help the nation fight climate change.
Biden set ambitious goals for climate change reform, too. A 52% cut in emissions by the end of the decade is BIG.
These are not the actions of a steady-as-you-go president. In March an interesting meeting took place in the East Room. Presidential historian Jon Meacham brought in a number of his eminent colleagues for a sitdown that Joe Biden was anxious to host. At this stage, only around 60 days into his presidency, Biden was already thinking about his legacy and what he needed to do; what was the limit of presidential power; what lessons could he learn from his predecessors. At one point he turns to perhaps the most revered of these presidential scholars, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and says “I’m no FDR, but… “
He ran for President at a time of record unemployment and economic despair, with democracy itself in apparent retreat around the globe. He overcame tremendous personal hardship and promised to heal a battered nation. His friends thought of him as a unifier; his enemies called him a socialist.
If this sounds to you like Joe Biden, you’d be right. If this sounds like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, you’d also be right.
“Though broken, each of us can be healed,” Biden says. “As a people and a country, we can overcome a devastating virus. We can heal a suffering world. Yes, we can restore our soul and save our country.”