At the G7, the failed ambitions of a Biden are weighed down by the risk of bankruptcy
How to embody a victorious America when you risk bankruptcy? Beset by a political debt crisis, Joe Biden left for Japan on Thursday, aiming to strengthen his international alliance against Beijing.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace expert and former diplomat Evan Feigenbaum tweeted, “Competing with China is + hard when you’re busy sinking your own ship. What do we look like?”
Talk of economic unity against Russia and China is complicated when “the biggest problem facing the rest of the G7 in the immediate future is[the]risk of default in the United States”, concluded Josh Lipsky of the Atlantic Council Research Center.
The US President left for the G7 summit in Hiroshima on Wednesday.
– “very happy” –
But he skipped to Papua New Guinea, a trip aimed at countering Beijing’s growing influence in the region, then to Australia.
These visits are merely “postponements”, his national security adviser Jake Sullivan assured on Wednesday.
“We are very pleased with the position of America in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said, recalling that Joe Biden recently received several leaders from the Asia-Pacific region in Washington.
Defensive Jake Sullivan insisted, “The idea that China would be happy in this situation is a very plausible media fiction, but it does not reflect reality.”
But Joe Biden, who will be on the fast track with his 2024 campaign, has been well and truly denied a golden opportunity to score points against China.
The 80-year-old Democrat will return to Washington on Sunday to hold talks with the parliamentary opposition on a topic as Byzantine as it looks from abroad: the raising by Congress of the public debt limit.
If this vote does not happen, the United States may be unable to pay wages, pensions and social benefits from June 1, and to pay its creditors. Never seen
To avoid such a disaster, Joe Biden is preoccupied with being the first US president to visit Papua New Guinea, a country his great Chinese rival Xi Jinping visited in 2018.
He also misses the opportunity to meet with several heads of Pacific island nations who had planned to meet him there.
– Quad –
According to the White House, the US President has so far not picked up the phone himself to warn the government of Papua New Guinea of this missed opportunity, leaving it to his advisers to take care of it.
Jake Sullivan said Joe Biden would have an opportunity in 2023 to meet with leaders from a region the US has ignored in recent years, but did not specify a date or location.
The White House also sought a consolation prize for Australia, which recently invested in a very ambitious submarine program alongside the United States.
Therefore, it will be a state visit to Washington by the head of the Australian government, Anthony Albanese, for the time being without a date, that is, a particularly solemn reception.
Joe Biden’s absence, however, undermines the planned meeting in the luxurious setting of the Sydney Opera House with the leaders of the Quad – the diplomatic format (United States, Australia, Japan, India) that particularly irks Beijing.
The US executive, however, maintains that the President will meet with these negotiators on the sidelines of the G7.
This truncated trip is a mess for a president who constantly reiterates that democracy, to prevail against autocracy, must be efficient, responsive and pragmatic.
How to make this argument appear when US Democrats and Republicans are embroiled in a political-fiscal tussle that threatens the national economy … and the world?
All G7 countries have huge public debt – starting with the host country, Japan, which has a world record for debt relative to GDP.
But none is facing such a political crisis around the debt ceiling as the United States has already experienced during Obama’s presidency. And one that threatens to repeat itself, in an America where partisan divisions are becoming increasingly apparent.