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NATO Summit Faces Critical Challenges

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A NATO summit in Washington this week comes at a critical juncture for several key leaders as the alliance faces increasing global threats.

The meeting, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Cold War-era military alliance, has gained more attention as its 32 members contend with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict.

President Joe Biden will be in the spotlight as he hosts the event, especially after his recent debate with former President Donald Trump raised concerns among some Democrats.

However, Biden is not the only leader under scrutiny. In Europe, far-right groups are gaining influence. France recently experienced a historic election that tested the far right, with the left-wing coalition’s New Popular Front winning the most seats in the National Assembly.

Biden in Focus
The Biden administration will likely try to address pressing policy issues while mitigating fallout from the June 27 debate. The summit could provide a chance for Biden to appear presidential among world leaders or become a stage for increased scrutiny of his actions.

In an attempt to ease concerns ahead of the summit, Biden wrote to congressional Democrats on Monday, affirming his commitment to his reelection bid.

“Despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, running it to the end, and beating Donald Trump,” Biden wrote.

However, this letter will not quell all worries for Biden or his party. The president is set to deliver remarks on Tuesday and host a press conference on Thursday, both of which will be closely watched.

NATO Wary of Trump
The upcoming presidential election has raised concerns about U.S. commitments to NATO under a potential Trump administration.

Trump has historically criticized NATO and expressed friendly sentiments toward Russian President Vladimir Putin. He suggested he might not defend NATO members who failed to spend enough on defense and encouraged Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to them.

Congress passed legislation making it harder for the president to withdraw the U.S. from NATO, but Trump could undermine the alliance by non-compliance. Biden remains committed to NATO and has worked to ensure U.S. support for Ukraine would continue if he lost his reelection bid.

The possibility of another Trump administration likely makes other NATO members uneasy, with some seeking to “Trump-proof” the alliance.

Though Trump won’t attend the summit, his influence will be felt.

Rise of the Far Right
Leaders will likely discuss the rising influence of the far right in the U.S. and other countries, which may threaten NATO support.

French President Emmanuel Macron faces questions following a legislative election. Although left-wing parties defeated the far right, no party secured a majority in parliament, leading to political gridlock. A far-right win, which polls predicted, would have shocked Europe and strained France’s international relationships.

Several NATO countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden, have also seen right-wing shifts in national elections.

Concerns about the far right’s rise in Europe grow as support for Ukraine becomes crucial. A new multibillion-dollar package for Ukraine is expected to be announced this week, according to The Associated Press.

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