G20 summit in Rome: Biden comes empty-handed


Status: October 29, 2021 at 8:30 p.m.

Four months ago, Biden had promised to bring the US back on the path of international cooperation. But not much has happened yet. The US President arrives at the G20 summit empty-handed.

A comment by Torsten Teichmann, ARD Studio Washington

Disenchantment has set in. US President Joe Biden’s promise at the G7 summit a good four months ago to bring America back was still cheered. There was secret hope that the United States could no longer only pursue supposedly own interests, but also provide support in alliances.

Much has remained the same

Meanwhile, the allies in Europe have recognized that there is more continuity in US politics than could be imagined. French President Emmanuel Macron angrily announced that everything had stayed the same – just a few tweets. What has also remained is the stark polarization of American society, which has an impact on international cooperation. And so President Biden comes to the G20 summit in Rome empty-handed.

US Democrats refuse to change course

Because in the dispute over investments of trillion US dollars in the US infrastructure – climate-neutral and sustainable – the MPs of the Democratic Party are almost torn apart. One side demands generous spending, paid for by higher taxes for multimillionaires and an end to the tax gifts for high-turnover corporations such as Amazon, Apple and Tesla. But key US Democrats are refusing to change course.

With the missing majority for the infrastructure packages, the Democrats Biden screwed up the performance in Rome. Biden’s declaration before departure, a dramatic final compromise offer by the President, could not change that.

Hope to be heard internationally

The United States, as a trailblazer for international cooperation, wanted to set an example. Now the president can only hope that China, Russia and other countries will listen to his vision of “Build Back Better” more than a small group of MPs in his own party.

But it would also be wrong to write off the US president entirely. There is no alternative either. According to the New York Times, the compromise on infrastructure provides for 555 billion US dollars for the fight against climate change. That is unprecedented in the US. Free college years and parental leave have been cut. Many environmental plans, on the other hand, have made it into the slimmed-down package.

Compensation is required

On the other hand, the example of the USA shows that good plans for climate protection alone are not enough. Nothing works anymore once the breaks in society have become so great that people can no longer communicate with one another, what is true and what is a lie, what is right and what is wrong. Compensation is required, both domestically and internationally.

Chance for Biden on the summit

The G20 summit offers this opportunity with discussions on the unequal distribution of corona vaccines and debates on whether debts of emerging countries should be deferred further. And can all industrialized nations bring themselves to make the special drawing rights of the International Monetary Fund available to the developing countries as a financial reserve instead of, for example, placing them in the Bundesbank?

Then Biden’s current defeat could turn into a signal for a departure.

Editorial note

Comments generally reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

Comment: US President Biden comes to the G20 summit in Rome empty-handed

Torsten Teichmann, ARD Washington, October 29, 2021 5:07 p.m.


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