Biden’s European Tour and Iran’s Presidential Election Charade

Biden’s European Tour and Iran’s Presidential Election Charade
An Iranian woman casts her vote at a polling station inside the Iranian consulate in Karbala, Iraq, June 18, 2021 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

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I gave a preview of U.S. President Joe Biden’s European tour in last week’s newsletter. It’s worth following up briefly, as there were some notable outcomes from his whistle-stop summitry. To begin with, he very clearly succeeded in resetting relations with America’s European allies and putting the various multilateral forums of the trans-Atlantic partnership back on an even keel. The experience and professionalism of the Biden team was on prominent display, especially compared to former President Donald Trump’s chaotic and unpredictable approach to these settings.

That paid off in Biden’s subsequent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, because the American president was able to arrive in Geneva portraying himself as an emissary from a united and cohesive Western bloc. In fact, scheduling the meeting with Putin on the heels of the three preceding trans-Atlantic summits was in itself a savvy move by Biden’s team, raising the potential cost of any prominent displays of rancor or division, even if the apparent cohesion is more than a little misleading.

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