WASHINGTON – President Biden addresses the United Nations today. His message to the world is that “America is back” and will be a global partner with a foreign policy rooted in diplomacy. However, Biden’s recent actions from Afghanistan to Australia have made some allies angry at worst or leery at best.
From the chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan to the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, and a number of other bad news stories, recent events call into question U.S. leadership in the world.
The French are so angry right now they’ve pulled their ambassador to the U.S. That came after a new security agreement between the U.S. and Australia killed France’s $66 billion contract to sell diesel-powered submarines to the Aussies.
“I’ve been recalled for consultations, that’s the meaning of this procedure which is uncommon and which marks the seriousness of our reaction and of this moment in our relations with the United States,” Philippe Etienne, France’s ambassador to the U.S., said in an interview.
Underscoring it all is the rapid and scrambled U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that outraged NATO partners and left allies in the lurch.
In August, the man expected to be Germany’s next prime minister, Armin Laschet, criticized the U.S. for acting unilaterally, calling it the greatest debacle in NATO’s history.
Members of Britain’s Parliament echoed that sentiment and actually condemned Biden, calling for a new direction.
“We can set out a vision and clearly articulate it for reinvigorating our European and NATO partners to make sure we are not dependent on a single ally, on the decision of a single leader,” said Tom Tugendhat, member of the British Parliament, in an impassioned speech.
This is not what the Europeans expected from Biden.
“When Biden came in they expected an easier time and to some extent, it has not been,” Michael O’Hanlon with the Brookings Institution told CBN News.
O’Hanlon says France in particular felt ambushed by the submarine deal, something it would have expected more under the Trump administration. He says trust is going to have to be rebuilt.
“Negotiate with allies before you make the next big decision,” said O’Hanlon. “Don’t do things secretly… these are the kinds of things the Biden team will have to restore and we expected from them at the outset, but they’ve breached on a number of occasions.”
In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Biden is calling for stronger diplomacy and renewed global alliances to fight COVID-19 and climate change. Foreign leaders will want to see his words backed up with action.