Harris faces the most critical foreign trip of her vice presidency


Still, she is not completely alone-Blinken, one of Biden’s closest aides for over 10 years, will also attend the meeting. One U.S. official, unlike Harris, is known to dozens of world leaders and diplomats in Munich throughout the weekend, so his presence is a backstop to help if something goes wrong. Said it would be.

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“The goal of the Munich Security Council is for NATO allies to speak in one voice to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and its main voice will be Vice President Harris,” said the former. National Security Advisor Haley Soifer told CNN in an interview Thursday with Senator Harris. “She has a very important role to play, especially at this time of the world crisis.”

But any failure can have a significant impact not only on Harris’ political future, but also on the international community.

“I don’t know what will happen in the next few days. It’s entirely possible to see Russia start the invasion at any time.” Under former President Barack Obama, Senior Director of European Affairs of the National Security Council Charles Capchan, who serves, said. “Part of the Vice President’s mission is to emerge.”

For Harris, a senior government official described her main purpose in Munich as three aspects. Focusing on the “rapidly changing” situation on the ground, maintaining full ties with partners, the United States prefers diplomacy but is ready in the event of a Russian invasion.

During her first bilateral meeting on a trip with NATO Secretary-General Jason Stoltenberg, Harris ensured to send that message.

“Of course, we accept and want diplomacy related to dialogue and debate with Russia, but if Russia takes positive action, we also ensure that serious consequences will occur. I promise to do. The conditions of economic sanctions we have discussed. ”

She added, “I will ensure that we continue as these times and days progress in close contact through our discussions and discussions with other allies. We are here. We understand that this is a dynamic moment, so we do it every day, sometimes hourly, to strengthen our relationships and check in in terms of strategic demands. Work is very important and that’s one of the reasons I’m here. ”

Harris will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the meeting, hold his first meeting with Ukrainian leaders, and give a keynote speech on Saturday. The Vice President said she would maintain a “very fierce” schedule when she was in Munich, senior executive officials said. The meeting with Zelensky will be one of several high-level meetings she holds.

“I think this is an important opportunity for her. She can play a role that the Vice President can play on her own, which is to visibly present the ideals of the executive branch,” said the Vice President. Historian Joel Goldstein says. He told CNN in an interview Thursday.

“Great platform”

Kupchan called the Munich Conference the “Davos” of international security and was in favor of Switzerland’s prestigious World Economic Forum, which attracts senior executives to foreign leaders.

“The benefits aren’t just symbolic (for Harris). It’s also a great platform. Her speech will be covered globally,” Kupchan told CNN in an interview Thursday. “The Munich Security Council offers what you might call” one-stop “shopping in the sense that the main players are there. ”

Harris met on Friday Stortemberg There are multilateral meetings with leaders from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Harris will also hold another meeting with US Congressional leaders attending the meeting on Friday.

And on Saturday, Harris will give a keynote speech. According to government officials, she is expected to focus on addressing the situation on the Ukrainian border, the threat of Russia’s aggression, and the latest situation. She claims that any aggression will undermine Russia, while promoting the unity of the U.S. allies that the administration says it maintains and reassuring allies of the U.S. commitment to NATO and its partners. Let’s go.

After her speech, she is expected to meet Zelensky German Chancellor Olaf Scholz In the margin of the meeting, senior government officials added, in addition to other foreign leaders who were not immediately nominated.

Harris’ attendance can be seen, but the allies said it was a clear sign that Biden had confidence in the Vice President, which also showed Biden’s focus at the meeting.

“Biden is an Atlanticist. His concerns about transatlantic relations and European security are in his DNA, and he has been tackling these issues for decades,” Kupchan said. I told CNN. “Solidarity across the Atlantic continued with respect to Russia throughout Trump’s era, which speaks to the tenacity of the relationship, as Trump tested it, and Vice President Harris’ trip to Munich said that solidarity would continue. I think it’s an investment to ensure. ”

Still, serious warnings from US authorities are sparkling day by day, with the clear possibility that Russia could invade Ukraine while Harris stays on foreign lands. A new estimate from U.S. officials provided Thursday puts the number of Russian troops north of the 150,000 figures quoted by Biden in a speech televised earlier this week, despite allegations of Russia’s withdrawal. Will put.

“The conversation will be even more urgent,” Kupchan said if Russia attacked while the meeting was in progress.

“Obviously, the Vice President and her delegation need to maintain close contact with Washington, because, as you know, progress appears in minutes, but her message and her. In a sense, his mission doesn’t really change. Many of his homework has already been completed. ”

“Part of the progress of her Vice President”

The Vice President’s advance into Western Europe will be his fifth overseas trip during his tenure. At the moment of being criticized from the left, amplifying her “not coming” message from the right to immigrants trying to come north to the southern border of the United States during her first trip to Guatemala and Mexico. Her performance on the international stage was not perfect.

Subsequent trips to Southeast Asia, while Harris’ personal achievements did not cause any problems, were overshadowed by the turbulent collapse of the United States’ unsuccessful withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Harris gained capacity at the moment of suspicion from his allies. I was forced to make a prediction. Subsequent trips to Paris and Honduras were months apart, but the Vice President praised both trips for being completed without rant.

Goldstein sees Harris’ current high stakes strip as the next step.

“It’s part of her vice presidential progress,” Goldstein told CNN in an interview. “The Vice President has undertaken an important mission in the past, and I think this is certainly her Vice President’s most important mission to date.”

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At the beginning of her tenure, people close to Harris told CNN that foreign policy and national security were important areas that she wanted to develop in her portfolio. Harris’s foreign policy experience is less than her recent predecessor, as she only worked in Washington for four years before she got this new job. Harris has started a private lunch with Blinken-she says White House officials are still going on-and the pair talks frequently and shares a good relationship. Harris has also spent much of the first year of the Biden administration in power meetings with dozens of foreign leaders coming to the White House.

Allies say Harris’s trip to Munich fits well into her wheelhouse, thanks to her work as a freshman on the renowned Senate Intelligence Committee.

Soifer, then Harris’s adviser, said he played a leading role in the Commission’s investigation into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 elections.

“She took a short-term intensive course on (Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s intentions and his strategy. Much of that experience was gained behind the scenes, but it provided a deep experience on the threat of the United States and the world order. At this moment, a face from Russia. ”

Biden bent his decades of experience by dealing with international affairs during the recent surge in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, especially during his last mission at the White House. Years spent as a frontman in the United States.

According to those who attended the conversation, he is aware that he cannot read Putin’s mind, but Biden has long spent trying to explain the mysterious Russian leader to his aides.

These conversations may have served as a valuable resource for Harris in preparing for this important trip.

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“I know she’s doing the best preparation she can, but I think it’s frequent conversations and meetings with President Biden,” Soifer told CNN.

Soifer added that Harris is a thorough and meticulous preparation for such moments.

“Their conversations about this crisis will inform her approach in Munich. She spoke for the president and talked to him many times before this meeting, she was in his view and administration. It is clear that it represents the view of, “she said.

High-ranking government officials told reporters that Harris and Biden were repeatedly involved in the matter. Biden, both Vice President and Senator, attended the meeting many times.

“The Vice President and the President meet many times a day. They are closely involved in every aspect of the Oval Office,” said Harris at the President’s daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office. It pointed out. “Several times a week”, at various other conferences on Russia and Ukraine while on the side of the president.

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