The elephant in the NATO room: America’s Roe reversal

“Normally in diplomatic circles people are going to be a bit circumspect in criticizing your domestic policies,” Connolly said, adding that in each of the four separate meetings the foreign ministers “kicked the conversation off” and “took wished to share with me their feeling of indignation.

The episode was reminiscent of Donald Trump’s presidency, when lawmakers and diplomats routinely fielded questions from foreign counterparts expressing concern, anxiety and even outrage at the then president’s statements and behavior. While other lawmakers at the NATO summit played down the abortion decision’s impact on the rally, the chatter was a sign that President Joe Biden could receive pointed questions about deer during his final press conference on Thursday.

After defeating Trump on a promise to show the rest of the world a more stable America, Biden is now grappling with a high court that could make that job even harder. Connolly warned that the deer A reversal risks damaging the credibility of the United States and entrenching among many NATO partners the idea that the United States cannot be trusted for its commitment to the values ​​of the 21st century that its leaders regularly brag elsewhere.

“All the assurances of ‘we’re back’ and ‘don’t look under the curtain for the past four years’ are eroded to some degree with this,” Connolly said. “It erodes confidence in our system. And that’s pretty important when you’re supposed to help lead a military alliance to take on Russia’s big bads.

Connolly declined to name the foreign ministers who spoke at the dinner. Eleven of NATO’s 30 foreign ministers are women, and several NATO heads of state and government issued statements affirming abortion rights immediately after Friday’s court ruling. French officials have even declared that they are preparing to codify the right to abortion in their constitution.

A senior Biden administration official said the issue of abortion was not raised among leaders at the NATO summit, at least on Wednesday.

Members of a separate bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers, led by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) and Thom Tillis (RN.C.), said they had heard little from their counterparts on the issue of abortion since arriving in Spain. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), another member of the trip, said the senators themselves didn’t even talk about the deer decision during their travels partly because of his political radioactivity at home.

“I have quite strong opinions on this, as do many members of the delegation… This subject [of abortion] Probably divides us more than any other,” Coons said, adding, “If your goal is to represent our country well at a critical time for NATO’s future, focus on the things that bring us together. We’ll have plenty of time immediately when we come back to sharply disagree.

Shaheen was asked at a NATO public forum on Wednesday whether the United States had lost credibility on global women’s issues following the Supreme Court ruling. While reaffirming that she disagreed with the court’s decision and supported abortion rights, Shaheen retorted that the United States had played a leading role in promoting abortion. role of women in foreign policy decision-making at the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Tillis, meanwhile, appeared to defend the court’s decision, as did the vast majority of Republicans in Washington. He dismissed its impact on America’s role in the world.

“The question the Supreme Court settled is whether or not this was a constitutional right or something that was a legal decision, a legislative decision that states can make,” Tillis said. “And we’ll see how that plays out over time.”

Some Democratic lawmakers, however, have weighed in on the abortion ruling’s fallout on the world stage, pointing to what they believe to say about American democracy that a group of unelected judges can reverse popular policies with the General public.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), another member of the delegation, was in Lithuania earlier this week to accept an award from its parliament, which is currently considering legislation to legalize same-sex civil unions.

Durbin recalled telling members of Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda’s staff that “these are values ​​that are important to America, that even the Supreme Court, nine people in the United States, should not suggest otherwise. .. They do not reflect public opinion.”

“This is not just an American decision. We have led the world in many ways, not exclusively, in expanding women’s rights,” Durbin added. “And I think that [ruling] really raises a question about our commitment in the future.

Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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