President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE is scheduled to meet with Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday during his visit to the United Kingdom, a most sought-after diplomatic occasion. As a rule, these meetings are opportunities for two state heads of the world’s most consequential global partnership to renew their bonds of friendship.
With her characteristic charm, the queen outwardly receives all presidents with grace; we’ll never know what she thinks personally of her visitors. As a rule, presidential visits with the queen involve some spectacle. But, considering the mess that Biden has made of the current visit — imposing himself inappropriately on controversial issues and criticizing his host country — one cannot help but imagine that this particular presidential reception may be less enthusiastic than those of its predecessors.
The diplomatic row started the week before Biden’s travel to the U.K. for the G7 Summit in Cornwall and has been captured in the British press. One headline read: “Joe Biden fears Britain is ‘inflaming’ tension in Ireland and EU,” with an explanation beneath: “U.S. president orders rebuke of Boris JohnsonBoris JohnsonLondon police investigating Downing Street lockdown parties The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, NATO eye 'all scenarios' with Russia Defense & National Security — Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alert MORE for jeopardizing peace process in Northern Ireland.”
In essence, a week before Biden’s trip, his senior U.S. diplomat in Britain (there currently is no acting ambassador) imposed a formal reprimand — normally reserved for U.S. adversaries — of Prime Minister Johnson’s policy regarding the impact of Brexit on the Irish border, an internal issue between the EU and U.K. So, too, Biden addressed the issue on Thursday, warning the U.K. and Johnson that they must not “imperil” the Irish peace process.
Biden and Johnson did sign a new version of the Atlantic Charter, and discussed issues such as trade and U.S.-U.K. travel. Still, Biden’s offensive posture ultimately could alienate America’s most important ally. It is inappropriate for the president to wade into the affairs of a sovereign nation. Biden’s stance might be better understood by considering his identity as an Irish-American. But, as Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation put it in a British opinion piece: “The British people didn’t vote for Joe Biden and the Democrats. They voted for Brexit and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. They voted to leave the EU and take back control of Britain’s destiny. They don’t need to be lectured by a U.S. president.”
Moreover, Biden’s tension with the Johnson government does not stop there. Johnson’s most consequential achievement to date has been Brexit, enabling the U.K. to regain the sovereignty it had ceded to the European Union, whose bureaucratic hand holds sway in the destiny of its member states. Like his former boss, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhat does the Preamble to the Constitution have to do with Build Back Better? White House underscores action amid violent crime streak Biden frustration with Fox News breaks through surface MORE, Biden is unconvinced by Britain’s conviction in having taken back control of its own destiny. A majority of Brits voted to make this happen, and Johnson’s endeavor should be applauded, not derided.
And so, Biden has begun a relationship with Britain that could be fraught with obstacles.
Notwithstanding this poor start to transatlantic relations, Queen Elizabeth will put on her best smile to greet the Bidens on Sunday — it is who she is and what is required by her role as queen. A constitutional monarch is a head of state — essentially, the No. 1 ambassador of his or her nation. Constitutional monarchs do not meddle in matters political or controversial, and for that they can enjoy popularity and longevity, as with Queen Elizabeth.
Moreover, considering the magnitude of the trade and defense relationship between the United States and United Kingdom, the Crown is usually happy to roll out the red carpet to Oval Office visitors. Publicly, the inscrutable queen puts on her best smile to welcome U.S. presidents.
It is widely believed that Ronald Reagan was Elizabeth II’s favorite president, considering their shared interests such as horses and the number of times the Reagans enjoyed the queen’s hospitality and vice versa. She and the late Duke of Edinburgh were rumored to have enjoyed the company of the Obamas and Bushes, as well. And no one can deny the genuine smile the queen bestowed upon the Trumps.
Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterTrump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections Why our parties can't govern Second gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House MORE made the mortifying faux pas of kissing the Queen Mother on the lips during a U.K. visit. While it is unlikely that Biden will go to such lengths, his slights of the U.K. this week are not likely to stir the queen to great affection. When there are bumps in the road between the two nations, the queen typically uses her office and diplomatic prowess to help smooth them. After 70 years of service, she remains at the top of her game and will deal accordingly with Biden’s visit.
Lee Cohen, a senior fellow of the Bow Group and the Danube Institute, was adviser on Great Britain to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and founded the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus.