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President Biden departs for the United Kingdom. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

As President Biden departed Washington, he told reporters he was going to use his first foreign trip to make "clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight and the G7 is gonna move."

Why it matters: The problem is his statements regarding the allies' shared objectives are not supported by the statements and actions of the allies themselves.

  • Biden's optimistic words and their bottom-line deeds will collide during a G7 summit in the U.K., a NATO gathering in Brussels and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Between the lines: Two powerful European countries — Germany and France — don't appear to be on board when it comes to presenting a united front against China and Russia.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to strengthen European financial connections with the Chinese. She has been the most prominent European voice advocating for an EU-China investment deal.
  • She's also determined to complete and operationalize the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
  • The Germans have made clear to the Biden administration they won't back down on this project, regardless of U.S. pleas or pressure.

Biden all but conceded defeat by waiving sanctions on the company overseeing construction — clearing the way for the pipeline's completion.

  • Completing the project is a major win for Putin.
  • He now has a potent lever to increase his influence in Europe and over vulnerable states such as Poland and Ukraine.
  • Each scenario is another means of furthering his efforts to divide NATO.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also made public statements conflicting with Biden's comments.

  • In February, Macron warned against the idea of the European Union joining the U.S. to confront China.
  • "A situation to join all together against China, this is a scenario of the highest possible conflictuality," Macron said. "This one, for me, is counterproductive."
  • Macron also has called for European "strategic autonomy" — a phrase that implies a distance between Europe and the U.S.

The bottom line: Biden's meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels is crucial to his plan for reestablishing the Atlantic alliance that former President Trump pilloried and was accused of undermining.

  • A major goal of the trip is promoting alliance unity on Russia.
  • The actions that European leaders have already taken, though, are now speaking louder than any joint statement they ultimately produce in Brussels.

Go deeper

By the numbers: Presidential foreign travel

Expand chart
Data: U.S. State Department Office of the Historian; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

President Biden leaves for the United Kingdom on Wednesday, kicking off his first foreign trip as president.

By the numbers: Presidents have made more stops in foreign nations in most recent administrations, though they dropped way off when Donald Trump was in office.

Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Biden revokes, replaces Trump executive orders on Chinese-owned apps

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday on ensuring the security of American user data in regard to foreign-owned apps such as TikTok, revoking and replacing three Trump-era executive orders to impose a more structured "criteria-based decision framework" for potential bans.

Driving the news: It's the latest in a series of China-related steps Biden is taking ahead of his first overseas trip to Europe, where curtailing Beijing's abuses will be a top agenda item in meetings with G7 and NATO leaders.

Jun 9, 2021 - World

China: Senate's global competition bill "full of Cold War mentality"

Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in may 2021. Photo: Ju Peng/Xinhua via Getty Images

China criticized a sweeping Beijing-focused global competition bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, calling the $250 billion package "full of Cold War mentality," according to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The bill officially designates China as the "greatest geopolitical and geoeconomic challenge" to U.S. foreign policy, a sign of the solidified bipartisan consensus of the need to curtail Beijing's global influence and abuses.