Biden meets with world leaders in Europe, discusses actions against Russia

President Joe Biden travels to Europe for NATO summit. Photo courtesy of AP

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

The international leaders gathered in Brussels between three separate summits, with meetings of NATO, the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the 27-member European council.

Biden announced in a press conference on March 24 that the United States will pledge another $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Additionally, Biden said the United States will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees if they choose to travel.

“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today,” Biden said at his press conference. “Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.”

Joanne Cummings, adjunct professor of political science, served as a foreign policy adviser and has extensive knowledge within foreign policy. She explained Biden’s visit to Europe solidified the stand of NATO against Russia after several years of disengagement.

“Over the last half decade, there had been developed riffs between the United States and our European allies, including President Trump saying that NATO was worthless, threatening to withdraw the United States from NATO,” Cummings said. “This made our European allies and partners very concerned about the role of the United States in the world.”

Cummings said this trip to Europe furthered the United States’ role as a world leader by working with its allies to help with the now monthlong crisis.

“The reason that Biden went in person is to both demonstrate to European leaders that the United States is specifically engaged in helping them resolve this issue, but also in demonstrating to the world as a whole that the United States is committed to playing a valuable role in the world, not just in Europe,” Cummings said.

Additionally, NATO activated a task force to respond if Russia uses weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

“It is far more likely that Russia will use chemical weapons than nuclear weapons; even if they were to use nuclear weapons, it is likely they would use chemical first,” Cummings said. “They have used and supported the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We have to look at how Russia has been behaving for the last 10 years in Syria if we want to understand what they are willing to do in Ukraine. We need to look at the weapons they used, the strategies that they’ve adopted, the willingness to destroy entire urban centers, if we want to understand what they’re willing to do in Ukraine.”

Magnolia senior Kenadie Wilde said she thinks about Ukraine every day and wonders if this meeting was a delay of a possible United States military involvement.

“As more things happen and the Russian forces just don’t seem to stop, I can’t help but feel like we’re inevitably going toward some sort of an ultimate, scary end,” Wilde said. “Seeing Biden go and talk, I appreciate a lot of the hard stances that we’re taking, but sometimes I just wonder if we’re delaying the inevitable.”

Wilde said she commends the current administration for doing everything it can to stand with Ukraine and against Russia.

“I think the Biden administration is doing what they need to do with the resources they have at their disposal to keep everything from falling apart right at the seams right now,” Wilde said. “Ukraine is standing up and fighting, so right now, the NATO plan is working, and there’s no reason to try and stop it.”

In terms of relations with China, Biden said he spoke with President Xi Jinping of China and believes they understand the severity if they choose to back up Russia in military action.

“I think that China understands that its economic future is much more closely tied to the West than it is to Russia, and so I’m hopeful that he does not get engaged,” Biden said.