On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with US President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss a range of topics including Ukraine, economic partnership, and artificial intelligence. The visit comes at a crucial turning point in the Russia-Ukraine war, with the recent collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam and a counteroffensive expected to retake territory.
During the meeting, the leaders unveiled a new economic partnership that is expected to strengthen stability between both countries. Though it stopped short of a free trade agreement, it signals the importance and potential for the US and UK to work together on economic issues. Officials have noted that the stability in the UK government has allowed for better coordination on Ukraine, which has been a major point of discussion between the two nations.
The UK has been a leading contributor of military aid to Ukraine, and the US and UK are coordinating on providing F-16 fighter jets to reinforce long-term deterrence against Russia. Sunak has been a staunch proponent of economic and military support for Ukraine, and this is likely to be a top priority during his talks with Biden.
Sunak’s economic priorities include a push for closer investment links and more resilient supply chains, as well as making Britain a world leader in developing and regulating artificial intelligence. The latter is an area of keen interest for both leaders and one that Sunak is expected to deliver a pitch on during their meeting.
Despite their political differences, Sunak has been a stabilizing force at 10 Downing Street after a tumultuous period, and his pragmatic approach mirrors Biden’s in some ways. They share a low-drama style compared to their predecessors, and their warm and friendly relationship bodes well for future cooperation.
During the meeting, NATO’s next secretary-general is likely to be discussed, with Sunak lobbying for British defense secretary Ben Wallace. While there are undeniable differences between the two leaders on issues such as government economic intervention and Brexit, they share a commitment to protect their people and uphold their way of life.
In summary, the meeting between Biden and Sunak reflects the extensive range of issues between the US and the UK, whose partnership is often described as a “special relationship.” The bond between the two leaders is warm and friendly, and while they may hold opposing ideological outlooks and generational gaps, they share a commitment to work together to strengthen stability and cooperation between their nations.