Who's Joe Biden going to visit first?
Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?
After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.
Canada. President Biden, it's Justin Trudeau. Look, it's no secret that there was no love lost between me and Donald Trump. He ruined a good thing that Barack and I had going on when he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a 12-nation trade deal — while also slapping tariffs on Canadian steel. That was a low blow. Joe, come visit Ottawa. You're our largest trade partner. We can collaborate on human rights, security, trade, and join forces on clean energy initiatives. I'll also use my doe-eyed charm to encourage you to change your mind about the Keystone XL Pipeline, which aimed to expand critical oil exports for Canada until you signed an executive order Wednesday aborting the project.
UK. Joe, Boris on the line. I know I got cozy with your predecessor, but I did at least try to distance myself from Donald Trump after the recent insurrection at the US Capitol. I should get credit for that, no? Either way, let bygones be bygones. Now that Brexit is done and dusted, we really need to focus on our "special relationship." We have so much to sort out together: How to tackle China's increasingly bellicose behavior, reforming and refocusing NATO, and tackling climate change now that you've recommitted to the Paris Climate goals. And of course, we need to iron out the details of a new UK-US trade pact so that the anti-Brexit crusaders don't have another political mishap to hold over my head.
Mexico. Joe, it's Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador here. As I recently told you, we have many challenges to tackle together — but let's not get too pally. Donald Trump was unpredictable and crass, sure, but he mostly left us alone. He didn't harangue us about human rights or rule of law, because he respects Mexico's "sovereignty." I'm not so sure about you though, Joe. That's why I recently offered Julian Assange asylum here in Mexico, and scrapped a law giving American drug agents immunity on our home soil. It was important to assert myself a little before you came into office, comprendes? We need to come together to address security issues and the immigration crisis (there's already a new migrant caravan heading towards the Rio Grande). But let's work on these issues together — from afar.
Germany. Finally, we're back together again — Angela and Joe — albeit briefly! I'm not one for hyperbole, but you really need to prioritize a visit to Berlin pronto. There's urgent work to be done to bolster transatlantic relations after four years of chaos: We need to form a unified front on trade grievances with China (I know you're not thrilled about the EU-China investment deal currently in the works, but come to the Chancellor's office, we'll talk.) European confidence in the US as a reliable partner is at historic lows, and while Emmanuel Macron, my friend in France, thinks Europe should assert itself and stop relying so much on Washington, I know our alliance matters now more than ever. Come to Berlin, Joe. Let me help you help yourself.
Iran. Joe, it's me, President Hassan Rouhani. Long time no see. We worked so well together on that nuclear deal back in 2015, before your predecessor came along and wrecked things. You and I both want to revive it somehow. Let's meet in, say, Geneva? We can try to find some common ground. If you lift those economic sanctions currently strangling the Iranian people, I'll try to get the mullahs to hit the brakes on this rapidly increasing uranium enrichment program. But we better meet quickly: we've got presidential elections in June, and my successor could be a real hardliner who won't be as willing to fraternize with Great Satan. Think about it, Joe.