As President Biden and six leaders from the world’s richest nations meet — face-to-face — in a picturesque seaside resort in Cornwall, on England’s southwestern shore, it is the first in-person global summit since the pandemic shut down travel and forced presidents and prime ministers to reach for the “raise hand” button, just like everyone else.
Their proximity appears to be working in favor of cooperation.
Summit meetings are always full of prepackaged “deliverables,” but stage management works better when there is an actual stage. So as Friday’s summit opened, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who is not only hosting the gathering but lured most of the royal family to a formal dinner, announced that the Group of 7 nations would collectively donate one billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to the developing world.
It was a very conscious effort to show that the world’s richest democracies can catch up with China’s moves to establish itself as a leader in the fight against the virus.
The dinner was held at the Eden Project, an environmental charity that features rainforests capped by several large biomes along Cornwall’s shores. It was balm for Mr. Biden, who loved nothing more than jetting around the world as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then as vice president — a man who actually enjoyed roaming the halls of the famed Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where the Munich Security Conference is held each year. He could be seen, two hands on a diplomat’s shoulder, making his point, persuading, posing for pictures.
Then such travel all came to a crashing stop — until now.