HIROSHIMA, Japan — President Joe Biden addresses a summit meeting in Japan aimed at uniting allies against threats from Russia and China, leaving behind an unresolved fight over the debt ceiling that shows the disunity surrounding American policy. .

Biden has been forced to cancel stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia as negotiations with Republican leaders drag on and the United States nears an early June deadline by which Congress must raise the debt limit to avoid non-compliance.

Shortening the trip is a setback for the president’s diplomatic ambitions. The White House had envisioned the meetings with the leaders of Australia and Papua New Guinea as a forum to bring together countries that have chafed at China’s efforts to exert military and economic influence in the Pacific. A central premise of the Biden presidency is that the US offers the best model: that democracies allow political freedoms and economic opportunities that autocracies like China forbid. The prospect of an unprecedented default that could plunge the US into recession undermines the idea that things are running smoothly at home.

Even reaching the brink of default “would cause enormous anger and backlash toward the US because all of this is totally avoidable,” said Josh Lipsky, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Center for Geoeconomics. A full-blown default, he added, «would shake confidence in US leadership in the international financial system and, over time, erode confidence in the dollar.»

At the White House, aides tried to put the best face on the president’s hasty review of the itinerary. John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told reporters that reducing travel underscores Biden’s determination to end the stalemate and not hand adversaries a new talking point about America’s partisan divide. .

Non-compliance, he said, «can affect our own international reputation, because there are countries like Russia and China that would like nothing more than for us to default so they can point a finger and say, ‘See, the United States is not a stable country. ”. , reliable partner.'»

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will attend the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima and will have the chance to speak with Biden on the sidelines. Still, in something of a consolation prize for his absence from Sydney, Biden invited Albanese on an official state visit to Washington later.

The G-7 summit of major industrial nations, to be held from Friday to Sunday, is expected to focus on stopping Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and curbing China’s dominance in the Pacific. Participants include leaders from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, along with the European Union.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked other nations by moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus amid the bitter conflict. By hosting the summit in Hiroshima, a city devastated by a US atomic bomb in World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wanted to remind world leaders of the devastation caused by nuclear weapons, analysts said. On Friday, Biden will join Kishida and the other G-7 leaders at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, whose message is «No more Hiroshimas.» They will place a wreath at the site and plant a tree.

As the summit unfolds, one of Biden’s goals is to reassure his counterparts who are eager for US foreign policy to oscillate between global engagement and isolation. Biden is up for re-election next year, and victory is not a sure thing. Former President Donald Trump, who reflected withdraw from the NATO alliance, is running again and is leading the Republican presidential primary polls. A Trump victory in 2024 could mark a return to more introspective policies that sparked concerns among allies that America’s friendship is more fragile than they had imagined.

“The resurgence of Trump has raised new questions in the Pacific about whether or not the United States will continue to be a leader and protector of countries in the region,” said Brett Bruen, who was director of global engagement at President Barack’s White House. Obama. “So Biden has to reassure our allies that US policy will not be radically changed and US support will not be radically reduced in the next two years.”

Another of Biden’s goals is to take steps that help Ukraine repel Russian forces, foreign policy analysts have said. That could be difficult to achieve. The G-7 nations, for example, are divided on the merits of imposing additional sanctions against Russia. An analysis by the Atlantic Council It showed that members collectively export about $4.7 billion a month to Russia. That’s almost half of what they sent before the invasion. Still, the US would like to reduce this amount further, and some members of the G-7 may be reluctant. Both the European Union countries and Japan export far more goods to Russia than to the US, and the reduction could hurt their own economies, the report shows.

“Can the US convince the Europeans to shut down about two-thirds of what is left in terms of exports” to Russia? Lipski said. «I just see this as a major sticking point.»

The invasion of Russia looms over the top for what it may portend. Asian nations living in China’s intimidating shadow took note of how Russia attacked a smaller neighbor without provocation. Kishida said last year that «Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow.»

China’s military exercises have threatened the autonomous island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its domain. If China were to attack Taiwan, the conflict would inevitably endanger Japan, which has already seen chinese invasion in its waters, experts warn.

Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Asian and Pacific Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote last week that Kishida has «observed that Russia’s use of military force to change the European status quo could easily be imagined in the Indo-Pacific, where Chinese military forces appear increasingly threatening to their neighbors.»

Reining China is difficult, given its extensive trade relations with the West and the infrastructure projects it has been used to forge ties with the poorest nations. The United States and its allies see a «coercive» drive in China’s economic policies. At the summit, they are expected to discuss a joint approach to confronting China’s economic influence.

Colleen Cottle, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub, described “a really tough environment facing foreign companies in China. So how these G-7 countries can think about how to collectively coordinate policies to address that, I think will be very key.»

Early in his presidency, Biden promised his allies that «America is there.» Biden will not be there for the second half of the trip that he had planned. The White House’s hope is that other nations will forgive and accept reason: that it is worth going home early if it means avoiding a default that would reverberate around the world.