President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson hope to work together from the pact and strengthen ties of cooperation for democracy.
With the world facing the immediate crisis of a pandemic and the long-term challenge of climate change, US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday 10 were inspired by another period of danger and profound uncertainty.
After meeting face to face for the first time since Biden assumed the presidency, they announced a renewal of the Atlantic Charter – the declaration of cooperation that Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt made during World War II.
While the two rulers disagree on critical issues, they emphasized the alliance's enduring resilience. When the original Atlantic Charter was signed on August 14, 1941, the Nazis had conquered much of Europe. The United Kingdom was isolated, and the United States had not yet entered the war.
But the symbolic importance of the Atlantic Charter declaration was supported by the passage of the Lend-Lease Act just a short while earlier, allowing the United States to provide essential military equipment to the Allies. Among other points, the agreement also established the recognition of peoples' right to self-determination, the freedom of the seas, and the disarmament of the aggressor nations in common after the war.
At the heart of the American president's trip and signing of the agreement is a central message: the United States and its allies are engaged in an existential struggle between democracy and autocracy.
"I believe we are at a tipping point in world history," Biden said last Wednesday night in a speech to soldiers at RAF Mildenhall at the start of his visit to Europe. "A time when it's up to us to prove that democracies not only last but will excel as we move forward to seize enormous opportunities in the new era."
In what he hopes will be a powerful demonstration that democracies – not China or Russia – are capable of responding to global crises, Biden will formally announce that the United States will donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 100 more nations poor people, a program that officials said would cost $1.5 billion.
By playing a leading role in vaccinating the world and providing resources to address the most severe public health challenges, officials said the United States claimed a position it had sought to play since the end of World War II.
Johnson, who is eager to use the summit as a showcase for a post-Brexit identity with the "Global Britain" brand, also outlined ambitious plans to help end the pandemic.
In the run to the summit, they urged leaders to commit to vaccinating everyone in the world against the coronavirus by the end of 2022.
However, while Johnson and Biden may find common ground on critical issues, including the pandemic, fundamental divisions remain.
Biden opposed the British move to leave the European Union, an impulse that Johnson helped lead. The US president is also concerned about Northern Ireland, as the Brexit deal threatens to rekindle sectarian tensions in the territory.
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