World Biden to rebuild 'sacred' NATO bond shaken by Trump
Biden to meet NATO secretary general ahead of Brussels summit
Jens Stoltenberg to visit Washington to discuss NATO agenda including security challenges from Russia, cyberattacks.Biden and Stoltenberg will discuss the “many issues on the NATO agenda, including reinforcing transatlantic security in the face of challenges from Russia and China”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
US President Joe Biden will seek to restore bonds of trust at NATO's first post-Trump summit on Monday, as leaders push to revitalise the alliance despite differences over dangers ahead.
The allies will agree a statement stressing common ground on securing their withdrawal from Afghanistan, joint responses to cyber attacks and relations with a rising China.
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Secretary of State Tony Blinken warned that Vladimir Putin will have to answer for the ransomware attacks that caused meat and gas prices to skyrocket.'We would prefer to have a more stable, predictable relationship with Russia. We’ve made that clear. But we’ve made equally clear that if Russia chooses to act aggressively or recklessly toward us or toward our allies and partners, we’ll respond,' Blinken told Axios' Mike Allen in an interview that aired on HBO.
Biden's predecessor Donald Trump undermined faith in the West's security architecture by questioning Washington's commitment to defend European partners.
And he clashed publicly with counterparts the last time leaders met in 2019, before abruptly heading home early.
In contrast, Biden has firmly reasserted American backing for the 72-year-old military alliance -- and his administration has been making a show of consulting more with partners.
But there remain divisions among the allies on some key issues -- including how to deal with China's rise and how to increase common funding.
Partners are concerned about the rush to leave Afghanistan and some question the strategy of an alliance that French President Emmanuel Macron warns is undergoing "brain death".
What to expect from Biden’s first NATO summit as US president
Afghanistan, Russia, China and spending to dominate talks as alliance embraces Democrat after tumultuous Trump era.In Joe Biden’s first NATO summit as US president, he will be eager to reassure his allies that “America is back” after a tumultuous four years of former American president Donald Trump, who declared NATO “obsolete”, called member countries “deadbeats”, and at first refused to explicitly endorse NATO’s mutual defence principle.
"We do not view NATO as a sort of a protection racket," Biden said Sunday after a conciliatory G7 gathering in Britain.
"We believe that NATO is vital to our ability to maintain American security."
He stressed the United States had a "sacred obligation" to the alliance and the principle of collective defence, promising he would "make the case: 'We are back', as well".
The summit at NATO's cavernous Brussels headquarters is set to greenlight a 2030 reform programme.
The leaders will agree to rewrite the core "strategic concept" to face a world where cyber attacks, climate change, and new technologies pose new threats.
Looming large in the background is the scramble to complete NATO's hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan after Biden surprised partners by ordering US troops home by September 11.
- Russia remains, China rises -
US and NATO: Manufacturing a new cold war?
The US wants to remain the sole superpower in the world and wants its NATO allies to rally behind unipolarity.This will prove a challenging task. NATO seems to have lost its mojo after Trump deformed its strategic vision and values and cast doubt over its shared destiny, albeit rhetorically.
"I'm very confident that this summit will demonstrate the strong commitment by all NATO allies to our transatlantic bond," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told AFP.
"We have a unique opportunity to strengthen our alliance."
European diplomats insist that confronting an emboldened Russia remains the "number one" priority for an alliance set up to counter the Soviet threat in the wake of World War II.
Moscow's 2014 seizure of Crimea gave renewed purpose to NATO and fellow leaders will be keen to sound Biden out ahead of his Wednesday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On China, Biden is picking up from where Trump left off by getting NATO to start paying attention to Beijing and is pushing for the alliance to take a tougher line.
But National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, briefing reporters from Air Force One, played down how big a part this would play in the statement. "The language is not going to be inflammatory," he said.
Many allies are wary of shifting too much attention away from NATO's main Euro-Atlantic sphere.
No new Cold War with China, Nato chief says
The military alliance is expected to brand China a security risk at President Biden's first summit.Nato leaders are expected to issue a statement branding China a security risk after they meet in Belgium on Monday.
"This is not about moving NATO into Asia, but it's about taking into account the fact that China is coming closer to us," Stoltenberg told AFP.
He pointed to attempts by Beijing to control critical infrastructure in Europe, its moves in cyberspace and heavy spending on modern weapons systems.
"NATO has to be ready to respond to any threats from any direction," he said.
- Out of Afghanistan -
As NATO looks to the future, it is putting one of its most significant chapters behind it by ending two-decades of military involvement in Afghanistan.
Allies are patching together plans to try to avert a collapse of Afghan forces when they leave and figuring out how to provide enough security for Western embassies to keep working.
Biden will discuss a Turkish offer to keep troops at Kabul airport, in a meeting with leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara has offered to secure the essential transport hub, but insists it would need American support.
Sullivan said the leaders would discuss how "our embassies can stay in a safe and secure way in Afghanistan, to be able to do all the things they definitely want to do, providing for the Afghan government and security forces, the people".
But the US president is also set to push Erdogan on Turkey's purchase of Russian missile defences and human rights.
As part of a reform agenda over the next decade, Stoltenberg is pressing for allies to improve political cooperation.
But there have been disagreements over proposals for increased common funding for NATO, with France especially arguing it would distract from efforts by individual nations.
On that front Biden is expected to tone down Trump's rhetoric, bashing allies for not spending enough.
But he will still push European allies and Canada to further boost defence budgets to reach a target of two percent of GDP.
Stoltenberg said allies are expected to sign off on a new cyber defence policy and to create a fund to help start-ups developing groundbreaking technology.
They could also rule for the first time that an attack on infrastructure in space -- such as satellites -- could trigger the bloc's collective self-defence clause.
How Europeans have reacted to Biden's visit .
Three prominent Europeans assess how Joe Biden's talks with European leaders have gone.Mr Biden has met leaders at the G7 in Cornwall, then at Nato and EU headquarters in Brussels.