As Air Power Two taxied for takeoff certain for Germany, Vice President Kamala Harris made her method by the aircraft handing out heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cookies. It was good observe for her journey to the Munich Safety Convention, the place her mission will likely be to reassure European allies that America nonetheless loves them.

Arriving in Munich whilst House Republicans block military aid to Ukraine and former President Donald J. Trump vows to encourage Russia to assault “delinquent” NATO allies, Ms. Harris has the unenviable activity of telling European leaders to not fear an excessive amount of about these issues. And he or she faces the problem of creating the case that Mr. Trump and his backers are flawed in regards to the worth of alliances.

Whereas the conferences she and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken may have in Munich will likely be aimed toward calming European leaders, the speech she’s going to ship to the convention on Friday will likely be aimed as a lot on the American viewers again house. With out mentioning Mr. Trump by identify, officers stated, she plans to make use of the platform to forcefully rebut the previous president who’s aiming to reclaim his previous job, arguing that worldwide partnerships are important to American safety, not a burden to be frivolously discarded.

It is going to even be an opportunity for her to show herself on the world stage in an election 12 months during which her operating mate, President Biden, faces questions on his age. Whereas nobody within the White Home would say this too overtly, Ms. Harris’s problem within the marketing campaign is to show that she is as much as the job in order that voters is not going to fear about re-electing an 81-year-old president who can be 86 on the finish of a second time period.

“I’m able to serve. There’s no query about that,” Ms. Harris told The Wall Street Journal in an interview revealed this week. Anybody who interacts along with her, she stated, “walks away totally conscious of my capability to guide.”

Munich has been a popular platform for Ms. Harris to attempt to showcase that for years. In 2022, she spoke simply days earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine, calling it a “defining moment” for the world. Final 12 months, she used the convention to accuse Russia of “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine, elevating the diplomatic stakes of the struggle.

She was already planning to talk this 12 months on the hazards of American isolationism even earlier than Mr. Trump instructed a marketing campaign rally final week that if elected once more he not solely wouldn’t defend NATO members attacked by Russia in the event that they “didn’t pay” sufficient, however he would even “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to the allies. The ensuing furor made her theme all of the extra salient.

A White Home official, previewing the speech on the situation of anonymity, stated she would use it to denounce the “failed ideologies of isolationism, authoritarianism and unilateralism” represented by Mr. Trump, and argue that his strategy to overseas coverage may result in a world of dysfunction. She’s going to deal with what the official described as 4 decisions — globally engaged versus isolationist, worldwide guidelines and norms versus chaos, democratic values versus authoritarianism and collective motion versus unilateralism.

Maybe as vital, she’s going to attempt to persuade world leaders that she and Mr. Biden will win in November regardless of rising doubts amongst European leaders and analysts, who’re already fascinated with contingencies for a second Trump presidency.

Former Consultant Jane Harman, a California Democrat who traveled on Air Power Two with Ms. Harris, stated the vp will likely be compelled to clarify the intransigence on Capitol Hill to approve extra Ukraine help despite the fact that by most assessments it has the help of a bipartisan majority. “The true villain is Congress, which thrives on blaming the opposite aspect for not fixing issues,” stated Ms. Harman. “Trump exploits this brilliantly, although I hate to present him any credit score.”

However many Europeans additionally stay unsure about Ms. Harris herself, sustaining that she has but to carve out a transparent id. “Does she have any views and does she have any explicit data?” requested François Heisbourg, a senior adviser for Europe on the Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research. “Who’s she?” He stated that he didn’t imply it “as a pejorative,” including, “It’s only a bewilderment.”

Ms. Harris may have an opportunity to outline herself in a sequence of conferences with world leaders. She is scheduled to sit down down individually with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany on Saturday, periods prone to deal with how Ukraine can grasp on in opposition to Russian forces whereas ready for U.S. navy help that will or might not come.

European officers are more and more predicting that American disengagement could lead to further Russian aggression. German and Estonian officers have stated that Russia may assault a NATO member inside 5 to eight years, whereas Denmark’s protection chief put the window of hazard at three to 5 years.

The darkish temper in Munich would require intense American comforting, analysts stated. “If hand-wringing had been an Olympic sport, we’re going to be handing out a variety of medals,” stated Heather A. Conley, president of the German Marshall Fund of the USA, a bunch that promotes the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Recognizing European uncertainty, the White Home introduced on Thursday that Mr. Biden would host President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland for a joint assembly on the White Home on March 12. It will likely be their first assembly since a centrist-progressive coalition won elections in October, ousting a nationalist authorities seen as aligned with Mr. Trump.

“The leaders will reaffirm their unwavering help for Ukraine’s protection in opposition to Russia’s brutal struggle of conquest,” the White Home stated in a press release saying the go to. “The assembly additionally coincides with the twenty fifth anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO and underscores the USA’ and Poland’s shared ironclad dedication to the NATO alliance, which makes us all safer.”

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