The purpose of the US Business Summit may have been to grow economic ties between New Zealand and the world superpower, but it was little surprise that the Ukraine war dominated much of the discussion.
“I can't recall a period – I've been working on foreign policy for 35 years – in which so much is in play and the stakes are so high,” Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell told the summit, describing the images of Russia’s violent invasion as “almost unimaginable”.
American domestic sentiment on trade is still a problem, as Center for a New American Security chief executive Richard Fontaine noted when describing Washington as “a prisoner of our domestic politics and the unpopularity of trade right now”.
However, Fontaine said there was an exception to the political polarisation dogging the country - initiatives focused on strategic competition, such as the billions in American aid which has gone to Ukraine.
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