President Joe Biden faces competing issues at home and abroad as he sits at the Group of 20 summit in Bali this week, using the moment on the world stage to draw on international support to condemn aggression from Russia while facing the prospect of hearing Donald Trump announce his next run for the presidency.
Administration officials previewing Biden’s G20 summit activities have their sights set on coalition efforts to voice opposition to the war in Ukraine, which could send a powerful signal within a group that has so far now had fragmented approaches to the Kremlin’s aggression.
It’s the first time the group has met in person since the invasion began, and most G20 members are expected to sign a statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine ‘and the human suffering it has caused. both to Ukrainians and families in Ukraine”. developing countries that face food and energy insecurity as a result,” a senior administration official said.
Such an expression of condemnation was the work of months of diplomacy between G20 leaders. However, it is not yet clear which countries will sign the declaration.
Although the G20 is made up of world powers that have long backed Ukraine during the war, it also includes other nations that have been lukewarm in their response to Russia’s aggression, including India, China, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, the host of this year’s summit. The coalition, which largely focuses on the global economy, also includes Russia itself. But Russian President Vladimir Putin will not appear at the summit this year.
Since the spring, US officials have been anticipating a showdown at this year’s G20 over the war. Biden has said Russia should no longer be a member of the bloc, although expelling Moscow would require the support of all G20 members.
For now, no official “family photo” is listed on a calendar, a sign of the deep acrimony within the G20 sparked by the war in Ukraine.
The president’s diplomatic Tuesday — a day of work alongside leaders that culminates in a gala dinner — is set to precede an announcement of the 2024 presidential campaign by Biden’s predecessor Trump on the other side of the world. . The potential announcement would set the stage for a two-year battle for the US presidency, having the power to cast a shadow over Biden’s efforts to unify world leaders – some already personally stung by Trump’s nationalist approach.
Biden and his team have already spent time during his multi-stop, transcontinental trip abroad tackling domestic politics, suggesting the issue has not only surfaced in their minds, but also among their foreign counterparts during meetings throughout their travels.
On Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that “many leaders” at the ASEAN summit discussed the midterms with Biden, that many leaders were “watching them closely” and that the president now feels he has a strong position on the international stage. .
The vote tally for last Tuesday’s midterm races continues to roll in, with Democrats only securing their continued majority in the US Senate last weekend and the future of the US House of Representatives still hanging in the balance. suspense. But Biden – who has frequently framed the US dynamic with other world powers as a global struggle between democracy and autocracy – spoke of the political headwinds working in his favor Monday in Bali after taking part in a about three hour meeting with Xi. Jinping.
At a press conference after his meeting with Xi, Biden sought to present the election results seen so far as a victory for the future of American democracy – an issue he said was at stake in the urns.
“The American people have proven once again that democracy is what we are. There has been strong rejection of Holocaust deniers at all levels from those seeking to lead our states and those seeking to sit in Congress, as well as those seeking to oversee elections,” Biden told the beginning of his remarks after Xi’s meeting.
On Tuesday, Biden will participate in working sessions and lunch with the leaders at the summit. He will also co-host an event on the Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership, which the White House says “aims to mobilize $600 billion over the next five years with G7 partners to deliver infrastructure. sustainable and advance the national security and economic interests of the United States.” The President will meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni later and end the evening with a gala dinner.
The meeting with Meloni will be Biden’s first chance to confer on Italy’s new prime minister in person since taking office in October – when she became the country’s most far-right leader since Benito Mussolini.
The two leaders no doubt have differences over LGBT rights, abortion rights and immigration policies. But they are expected to focus on common interests – in particular, their support for Ukraine. According to the White House, Biden and Meloni will discuss “cooperation on shared global challenges, including those posed by the People’s Republic of China, and our ongoing efforts to help Ukraine defend against Russian aggression.”
The Global Infrastructure Initiative event follows a 2021 launch among G7 partners to better position the United States and its allies to compete with China.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative, first announced in 2013 under Xi, aims to build ports, roads and railways to create new trade corridors linking China to Africa and the rest of Eurasia . The Chinese-funded intercontinental infrastructure initiative has been seen as an extension of the country’s steep rise to global power.
At the summit, Biden is also expected to “talk about energy security as a central issue facing the global economy,” calling for price caps as “a key way for us to help preserve global energy security.”
Other topics at the summit, the senior administration official said, include economic coordination, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, with further announcements expected on digital infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific and the United States. solar energy in Honduras.