Written by 07:03 World

Visiting Europe, Biden Will Find Both Solidarity and Isolation

As President Biden visits France this week, he will be rallying European leaders to his side and showcasing the resolve he has helped to foster on behalf of Ukraine.

But he will also be defying the very same leaders and standing virtually alone among Western democracies still firmly in support of Israel as it wages war in Gaza.

Mr. Biden arrived in Paris on Wednesday morning for a trip aimed at celebrating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. It is his first visit to Europe since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack led by Hamas, which killed 1,200 people in Israel and triggered a military retaliation that has killed about 36,000 people in Gaza. Next week he will return to Europe for a summit in Italy with the leaders of the Group of 7 nations, and three weeks after that he will host the 75th anniversary summit of NATO nations in Washington.

The series of meetings will put Mr. Biden in a position he has not experienced since becoming president: He will be embraced and isolated at the same time by the same group of allies he has courted for nearly four years. For a president who has emphasized his support for America’s traditional alliances, it represents a challenge that will test his diplomatic skills in unfamiliar ways.

“Gaza undermines the moral clarity of the argument they want to make about Ukraine,” said Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism and politics at the City University of New York and a longtime analyst of Middle East affairs who has been critical of Israel’s government. “The Gaza war makes that story a lot less compelling to a lot of people.”

Ivo Daalder, who was an ambassador to NATO under President Barack Obama, acknowledged the tension in Mr. Biden’s approach.

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Last modified: 7 June 2024
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