“It was a statement of first principles, a promise that the United Kingdom and the United States would meet the challenges of their age and that we’d meet it together,” Mr. Biden declared after his private meeting with Mr. Johnson.
“Today, we build on that commitment, with a revitalized Atlantic Charter, updated to reaffirm that promise while speaking directly to the key challenges of this century.”Meeting in a seaside resort on the Cornwall coast of England, with Royal Navy ships patrolling to protect the in-person meeting of the Group of 7 industrial nation leaders, the two men clearly sought to cast themselves in the Churchill and F.D.R.
As they looked over a small exhibit of the original Atlantic Charter, agreed on aboard a ship off Newfoundland in August, 1941, less than four months before the Pearl Harbor attack, Mr. Johnson noted that “this was the beginning of the alliance, and of NATO.”But Mr. Biden’s aides said they thought the Charter had grown musty and did not reflect a world of different challenges — from cyberspace to China — in which Britain is a much-diminished power.
Where the original charter contemplated the “final destruction of the Nazi tyranny” and called for freedom to “traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance,” the new version focused on the “climate crisis” and the need to “protect biodiversity.” It is sprinkled with references to “emerging technologies,” “cyberspace” and “sustainable global development.”
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