Biden’s Summit of the Americas Fiasco, U.S. Firearms’ Global Impact and More

Biden’s Summit of the Americas Fiasco, U.S. Firearms’ Global Impact and More
President Joe Biden speaks during the opening plenary session of the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, June 9, 2022 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

This week’s Summit of the Americas, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden in Los Angeles, would have been a challenging affair under the best of circumstances, given the wide-ranging crises the hemisphere faces. But poor planning by the Biden team and the region’s changing political landscape combined to make the summit a diplomatic fiasco.

The run-up to the gathering was dominated by a controversy over the guest list, amid rumors that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua would not be invited due to their nondemocratic governments. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, along with several Caribbean leaders threatened to boycott, and a range of others expressed their disapproval. The Biden team didn’t help matters by appearing to dither over the issue, releasing the official list of invitees just days before the summit.

In the end, the three countries were excluded, in line with the summit’s origins as a forum of democratic states, but reversing the precedent set by the Obama administration to give precedence to regional states’ clear demand for an inclusive gathering. AMLO and the others stayed away, sending their foreign ministers in their place, and several leaders who did attend directed scathing criticism at Biden, including to his face at the summit’s opening on Thursday.

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