President Biden’s meetings with foreign leaders in New York come at a difficult time for him personally and politically.
President Joe Biden will deliver his annual address on Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, where he is expected to advocate for increased support for Ukraine.
World leaders are gathering in New York for the opening of the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly this week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be among the leaders attending this year’s meeting, which will be his first in-person appearance at the U.N. since Russia invaded his country.
According to the White House, the war in Ukraine and funding for international development projects will be high on President Biden’s agenda at this year’s gathering.
President Biden is “eager to use this trip to advance U.S. interests and values on a range of issues, from mobilizing financial resources for the Global South for development and infrastructure needs to galvanizing cooperation to tackle the climate crisis to strengthening global support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal invasion,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are among the leaders who will skip the meeting.
After his speech, President Biden is expected to meet with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to discuss global issues. In addition, he will meet with the presidents of five Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
This will be the first so-called “C5+1 presidential summit,” where President Biden and five Central Asian leaders plan to “discuss a range of issues related to regional security, trading connectivity, climate, and reforms to improve governance and the rule of law,” a senior administration official said during a briefing.
On Wednesday, the president will meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time since the Israeli leader returned to office.
President Biden supported reforming the United Nations Security Council to make it more inclusive in his speech last year. And he will continue to push for it at this year’s meeting. In addition, he will advocate for changes at the World Bank and other multilateral development institutions to better serve the infrastructure needs of low- and middle-income nations.
“There’s a keen recognition that development issues are intricately linked with international peace and security,” the senior administration official said.
After concluding his meetings in New York, President Biden will welcome Mr. Zelenskyy to the White House, where he will be hosting him for the third time. The White House will announce an additional aid package for Ukraine this week.
Biden’s Rough Week
President Biden’s meetings with foreign leaders come at a difficult time for him personally and politically. Just last week, his son, Hunter Biden, faced indictment on three felony charges related to firearm possession while using narcotics.
Meanwhile, the president himself faces an impeachment inquiry. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced on Sept. 12 that the GOP-controlled House has launched an investigation into his potential involvement in Mr. Hunter Biden’s business dealings during his tenure as vice president under President Barack Obama.
The challenges don’t end there for the 46th president. David Ignatius, a prominent Washington Post columnist and ardent supporter of the president, opined last week that he should withdraw from the 2024 race. Mr. Ignatius, despite his respect for the president’s achievements, raised concerns about his age.
“In sum, he has been a successful and effective president,” he wrote. “But I don’t think Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris should run for reelection.”
President Biden is also dealing with the worst labor crisis of his presidency, which adds to an already onerous list of challenges. The United Auto Workers’ strike against Detroit’s three automakers, which began last week, has entered its fifth day with little sign of movement toward an agreement. A prolonged strike could have far-reaching effects on the economy and pose a significant setback for the president’s economic agenda, called “Bidenomics.”
In addition, the president faces continued low approval ratings, and the majority of Americans are unhappy with his handling of the economy.
However, according to Biden officials, these issues are not causing the president any distractions.
“This president has focused on advancing his positive agenda,” the senior administration official said.
The world leaders will “hear a vision that we think is pretty compelling and a vision that not many other countries can offer,” the official said.