BRUSSELS (AP) — President Joe Biden
arrives at a NATO summit
to consult European allies on efforts to counter provocative actions by China
, while emphasizing the United States
' commitment to the 30-nation alliance that was frequently criticized by predecessor Donald Trump
The summit on Monday comes as Biden tries to rally allies for greater cooperation in countering China and Russia, two adversaries whose actions on the economic and national security
fronts have become the primary foreign policy
concerns in Biden's first year in office.
Biden will use his time at the summit to emphasize the United States' adherence to Article 5 of the alliance charter, which states that an attack
on one member is an attack on all and must be met with a collective response.
“I will make it clear that the United States’ commitment to our NATO alliance and Article 5 is rock solid,” Biden said last week to U.S. troops in the United Kingdom
, the first stop on his eight-day European tour.
According to the White House
, the communique to be signed by alliance members at the end of the NATO summit will include language about updating Article 5 to include major cyber
attacks — a growing concern in the wake of a series of hacks
targeting the US government and businesses around the world by Russia-based hackers
According to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the update will specify that if an alliance member requires technical or intelligence assistance in response to a cyber attack, it can invoke the mutual defense provision to receive assistance.
According to Sullivan, the president will begin the day by meeting with leaders of the Baltic states on NATO's eastern flank to discuss the "threat posed by Russia," China, and the recent air piracy in Belarus
, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Biden's itinerary in Europe has been planned so that he will first meet with Group of Seven
leaders for a three-day summit on the craggy coasts of Cornwall, then with NATO allies in Brussels, before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
in Geneva on Wednesday.
Leaders at the G-7
sought to convey that the club of wealthy democracies — Canada
, the United Kingdom, and the United States — is a better friend to poorer countries than authoritarian rivals such as China and Russia.
The G-7 meeting concluded with a communique condemning forced labor
practices and other human rights
violations affecting Uyghur Muslims
and other ethnic minorities in western Xinjiang province. The president declined to discuss private summit negotiations over the provision, but said he was “satisfied” with the communique, though disagreements remain among allies about how forcefully to condemn the provision.
Biden is focused on forging a stronger bond between the United States and its allies, who have grown wary of American leadership after four years of Trump's name-calling and frequent invectives about the importance of multilateral alliances like NATO.
The previous administration was at odds with some key NATO members, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, over Trump's decision in 2018 to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal
, which was negotiated during the Obama administration and limited Iran's uranium enrichment program in exchange for sanctions
Trump and other critics argued that the agreement provided Tehran with too many economic benefits while not doing enough to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon; the Biden administration
is now looking for a way to resurrect the agreement.
Trump also claimed that the NATO alliance allows “global freeloading” countries to spend less on military
defense at the expense of the United States, and he branded the alliance “obsolete.”
On Sunday, Biden fired back, saying, “We do not view NATO as a sort of protection racket. We believe that NATO is critical to our ability to maintain American security for the remainder of the century, and there is a real enthusiasm.”
When the alliance members last met in England
in December 2019, Trump made headlines by labeling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "two-faced" and French President Emanuel
Trump lashed out after Trudeau was caught on a hot mic gossiping with other leaders about Trump turning photo opportunities into long news
conferences. Macron had declared NATO "brain
dead" ahead of the summit due to a void in US leadership under Trump.
During his Europe tour, Biden has already acknowledged that the alliance requires improved burden sharing and increased American leadership, and he has also emphasized NATO members' contributions to the Afghan war.
The United States and the Alliance are winding down their involvement in the nearly two-decade-long war that has killed tens of thousands of Afghans and more than 3,500 US and allied troops, while raising serious questions about whether NATO's most ambitious effort was worthwhile.
The military operation followed the arrival of a coalition led by the United States in 2001, which ousted the Taliban
for harboring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
For the time being, NATO intends to leave civilian advisers in place to assist in the development of government institutions, though it is unclear who will protect them. The alliance is also debating whether to train Afghan special forces outside of Afghanistan
NATO members are also expected to support the development of a new cyber defense policy to improve coordination with countries affected by the increasing frequency of ransomware
attacks, a climate
security action plan to reduce greenhouse gases
from military activities in accordance with national commitments under the Paris Agreement, and a commitment to strengthen NATO's deterrence in the face of Russian threats.
On the eve of the summit, Biden will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan.
According to the White House, the two leaders will discuss Syria
and Iran, as well as what role Turkey can play in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops. Also on the agenda will be how Washington
and Ankara “deal with some of our significant differences on values, human rights, and other issues,” Sullivan said.
The unrest in Libya's security situation, as well as overlapping concerns about China and Russia, are expected to be discussed.