President Joe Biden embarked on his first trip abroad since being elected Wednesday. During the week-long trip, the President will meet with dozens of world leaders, but perhaps most significantly he will sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Although this is Biden’s first international trip as President, he is very much a veteran of overseas travel. Biden was very engaged in foreign policy as a U.S. Senator and also as Barack Obama’s Vice President. Still, this will be different.
President Biden has made it clear that he feels America's relations with traditional allies and the nation's standing in the world were damaged by the previous administration's America-first approach to foreign policy, and thus the overarching goal of this trip, he reiterated Wednesday, is beginning to undo that damage.
"Strengthening the alliance and make it clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight, and the G-7 is going to move," said Biden to reporters today as he boarded Air Force One.
After a meeting Thursday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Biden will attend the Group of Seven Summit in Cornwall, England where, among other things he will discuss with his counterparts the strategy for vaccinating the world against COVID-19.
"I have one and I’ll be announcing it," Biden noted.
The President will reportedly be announcing the plans to buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and then donating them to countries struggling to get their citizens inoculated.
After the President and First Lady meet with Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, he will continue to Belgium for NATO and European Union summits. Monday and Tuesday, President Biden then flies to Geneva to become where he will become the fifth U.S. President to have a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden has been highly critical of Putin over Russian election interference, aggression against Ukraine, and harboring cyber-criminals, and a spokesperson says this meeting will allow him set parameters for their relationship moving forward.
"And he certainly has no intention of holding back during this meeting publicly or privately." said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during a briefing Monday, "but at the end of the day, our job, or our focus, is on moving toward a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia."
Following the meeting with Putin a week from today, President Biden will return to Washington where he will presumably get back to trying to find Republican support for his infrastructure bill.