Bold abroad with NATO, Biden is more reserved at home

Five days of President Biden’s meetings in Europe and the bold actions taken by the US and its G7 and NATO allies reflect a dramatic shift in the West’s approach to its own defense in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The historic summit of the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ended here. ratify the new strategic concept this will maintain a stronger military presence in Eastern Europe and a formal invitation to Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.

This happened immediately after the G-7 summit in the Bavarian Alps, where leaders donated more billions to the defense of Ukraine and agreed to work on capping Russian oil prices to further undermine the country’s ability to finance the war.

“This summit was about strengthening our alliance, solving the problems of the modern world,” Biden said at a press conference Thursday, adding that “the world is changing. NATO is also changing. Allies across the board are stepping up, increasing defense spending.”

“The United States,” he added, “is uniting the world to support Ukraine.”

But a president who strongly defends global democracy has been slower to respond to changes that are tearing at his own country’s democratic fabric, some say. His summit meetings were overshadowed Supreme Court decision overturns Roe vs. Wade and high-profile congressional hearings in which Former Trump aide testifies about how Trump’s behavior in January 6 September 2021 contributed to the violent uprising in the Capitol.

Convictions of Biden in Bayern and Madrid are unlikely to improve his low reputation among wallet-obsessed voters. But this contrasted sharply with what critics see as his hesitation in trying to strengthen democratic institutions in the United States.

“We are talking about the crisis of democracy in other countries. Democracy in the United States is in crisis and it doesn’t always seem like the White House understands that,” said Amanda Litman, founder of Run for Something, a progressive organization that helps young people run for elected office.

At Biden’s NATO press conference, his last event before returning to Washington, the questions he received focused on both domestic issues and the foreign policy steps he and his allies have taken this week. asked about interview showing that 85% of Americans believe the country is on “the wrong track,” he was defiant, attributing their dissatisfaction with inflation to Russia’s war in Ukraine and to the Supreme Court.

“America has more of a chance than ever to become a world leader,” he said. “The only thing that destabilized was the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court.”

Once again urging Americans to channel their frustrations into voting in the November midterm elections, Biden renewed his call to Congress to include abortion protection in federal law, saying for the first time that he supports an exception to the Senate’s 60-vote obstructionism rule so that legislation can move forward with a total of 50 votes, for the preservation of women’s reproductive rights.

“If a filibuster gets in the way, as in the case of the right to vote, then there should be an exception for this action,” he said.

This stance may help alleviate some of the left’s growing frustration with Biden in the aftermath of the Roe court ruling. But Democrats don’t seem to have the 50 votes needed to change the obstructionism demand and pass federal protection against abortion.

Although he resolutely rescinded the decision as a “tragic mistake”, his administration made clearer what the president would not do, ruling out a proposal to locate abortion clinics on federal soil and the possibility of adding judges to the Conservative-dominated Supreme Court, three of whom were appointed by his predecessor.

Many prominent Democrats, including a Senator from Massachusetts. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York expressed disappointment that Biden did not seem to share their outrage or desire to help women in danger. Asked Thursday if he would trigger the public health emergency that Warren and others have called for, Biden countered, saying only that he plans to meet with a group of governors at the White House Friday to discuss statewide action.

When asked by a reporter if he was the best messenger to lead his party’s response to Rowe’s decision, Biden gave a somewhat glib response. “I am the President of the United States of America,” he said with a smirk. “That makes me a better messenger.”

By comparison, Biden’s commitment to defending Ukraine “as long as it takes” was worded more forcefully, even as he acknowledged the impact on American consumers and the global economy.

Asked how long Americans should endure higher gas prices as a result of the war in Ukraine, he was blunt, repeating: “As long as it takes, Russia can’t actually defeat Ukraine.”
and go beyond the borders of Ukraine,” he said. “This is a critical, critical position for the world.”

Republicans, some of whom attended the summit and met with Biden before he left Madrid, were largely supportive of the president’s response to Ukraine. However, he is also blamed by many for rising gas prices and inflation exacerbated by the war.

“When it comes to NATO, there is more of a bipartisan spirit in NATO than in Biden’s domestic issues,” said Ash Jane, a democracies expert at the Atlantic Council.

Comparing how Biden behaves abroad with like-minded people and at home indicates that the president faces great restrictions and political challenges in the American political system.

“It’s just a much more difficult environment to work with, and the solutions are much more complex,” Jain said.

Despite the seriousness of the commitments outlined this week by the G7 and NATO allies, Biden’s political weakness at home — and the weaknesses of other G7 leaders who have seen their own support and ruling coalitions falter in recent weeks — May Work Russian President Vladimir Putin wins over time as the autocrat seeks to outlive the West on the battlefield.

NATO allies continue to express concern about America’s political instability. They worry about making a commitment to Biden that could be thrown off if he loses re-election in 2024.

“Other leaders want to know what he’s going to do with the disenfranchised Supreme Court about these attempts by Trump and others to attack American institutions,” said Brett Brewen, a former National Security Council official in the Obama administration. . “He didn’t have a big plan, and if he doesn’t, the internal quagmire could be a major setback to what he can achieve internationally.”

Presidents have more leeway in foreign affairs than in domestic affairs, where they are more limited by Congress and the courts. But Biden’s reluctance to consider structural changes to the Constitution was a source of frustration among his party’s founding members long before Roe’s Supreme Court ruling.

“Even if there are some very real structural barriers, we have to see the White House and the president feel the same fury, fury and frustration that we do,” said Litman, a progressive organizer. “We need to see that he sees the crisis and is not afraid to do everything in his power because he is asking us to sacrifice ourselves and get organized.”

With Democrats narrowly in control of the evenly divided Senate thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’s ability to break the tie, Biden nonetheless has seen much of his legislative agenda derailed.

Until Thursday, he was reluctant to call on Democratic Party leaders to change the filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to advance legislation – after briefly doing so in a failed attempt to pass voting rights protections – to codify abortion rights in federal law.

A spate of new revelations about Trump’s role in fueling the mobs that attacked cops and stormed the Capitol in a brazen attempt to prevent the Senate from confirming Biden’s election victory is only adding to the pressure on the administration.

In recent weeks, pressure has increased on the Justice Department to bring the former president and potential Biden rival to justice in 2024.

Biden’s concern about such actions, as aides privately confirm, is largely due to a sense that they will be seen as political opportunism and exacerbate the country’s polarization.

But with an approval rating of just 39%, Biden and the Democrats face a potentially catastrophic midterm election, especially if frustrated progressive voters decide not to show up.