Bavaria is a popular vacation destination, and that goes for Americans too. A traveler from the United States may have been particularly looking forward to his visit to the German foothills of the Alps: For US President Joe Biden, his tour of Europe with G7 and NATO summits should offer the chance, despite all the foreign policy crisis, to take a short break from the turbulent domestic politics. The Democrat wanted to present himself as the strong leader of the West fighting the world’s autocrats.
But then domestic politics thwarted his plan again. Immediately before Biden’s departure at the end of last week, the Supreme Court made two judgments that catapult America back decades – and distance it from its Western partners.
The decisions on gun and abortion laws, made against the will of the majority of the population, also have the potential to change the United States dramatically. They also direct the focus once more to the predetermined breaking points of American democracy.
The fact that the judgments in the Supreme Court were announced at a time when a committee of inquiry is trying to prove that ex-President Donald Trump had attempted a coup increases concerns about the stability of the superpower. Not to mention the horror scenario of Trump returning to the White House in two and a half years.
Doubts are growing that Biden can assume the leadership role that he promised when he took office with the words “America is back”. This leadership role is in greater demand than it has been for a long time.
In the West, there is a mood of alarm across all countries – in view of the Ukraine war, looming energy and food crises and then also the smoldering conflict with mighty China.
That would bring every US President to the brink of being overwhelmed. But now it’s one that’s almost 80 years old and unpopular at home, even one that many refer to as “illegitimate.”
In Washington, it is considered a likely scenario that Biden could also feel obliged to run again if Trump were to run again. But even many Democrats want to avoid that.
For personnel alternatives, however, the igniting idea is currently missing. The actually obvious one – Vice President Kamala Harris – is no longer one that arouses enthusiasm.
Biden is not responsible for many developments, and he can still change the mood domestically, for example by managing to better market his government’s successes.
Perhaps the desperate hope that the Republican Party, which seems so radical at the moment, will repel moderate independents and mobilize democratic voters will also be fulfilled. But all of these controversies take a lot of energy and require your full attention – and Biden should also pull the West along with him, encourage his partners that everything will go well again.
Trump had brought the West perilously close to collapse. Joe Biden defeated him once and brought America back onto the world stage. But it takes a lot of optimism at the moment to calculate with a happy ending.