WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden goes before the United Nations this week eager to make the case for the world to act with haste against the Coronavirus, climate change and human rights abuses. His pitch for greater global partnership comes at a moment when allies are becoming increasingly skeptical about how much US foreign policy really has changed since Donald Trump left the White House.
Biden plans to limit his time at the UN General Assembly due to Coronavirus concerns. He is scheduled to meet with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, today, and address the assembly, on Tuesday, before shifting the rest of the week’s diplomacy to virtual and Washington settings.
At a virtual COVID-19 summit he is hosting Wednesday, leaders will be urged to step up vaccine-sharing commitments, address oxygen shortages around the globe and deal with other critical pandemic-related issues.
The president also has invited the prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan, part of a Pacific alliance, to Washington and is expected to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House.
Through it all, Biden will be the subject of a quiet assessment by allies: Has he lived up to his campaign promise to be a better partner than Trump?
Biden’s chief envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, offered a harmonious answer in advance of all the diplomacy: “We believe our priorities are not just American priorities, they are global priorities,” she said Friday.
But over the past several months, Biden has found himself at odds with allies on a number of high-profile issues.
There have been noted differences over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the pace of COVID-19 vaccine-sharing and international travel restrictions, and the best way to respond to military and economic moves by China. A fierce French backlash erupted in recent days after the US and Britain announced they would help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.