The 75 NATO Summit commenced on July 9, with President Joe Biden delivering a powerful speech.

Biden Rallies NATO With Forceful Speech Against Putin 

Biden reaffirms commitment to Ukraine, showcases leadership amid public worry over fitness for re-election

2 mins read

Mia Boykin

U.S. President Joe Biden delivered a forceful speech at the NATO summit in Washington on July 9, pledging to defend Ukraine against Russia’s invasion and attempting to reassert his leadership on the global stage. The NATO Summit is the annual meeting of all the NATO members, with this year’s discussions mainly focusing on the war between Russia and Ukraine. 

“Putin wants nothing less, nothing less, than Ukraine’s total subjugation … and to wipe Ukraine off the map,” Biden declared, referring to the Russian president. “Ukraine can and will stop Putin.”

The NATO Summit is the annual meeting of all the NATO members, with this year’s discussions mainly focusing on the war between Russia and Ukraine. This year, the summit runs from July 9-11 in the nation’s capital, causing much of downtown D.C. to essentially shut down for the rest of the week. 

The 81-year-old president, who has faced recent questions about his fitness for office, spoke confidently from a teleprompter, largely avoiding the verbal missteps that marked his recent debate performance

Biden emphasized the strength of the alliance, stating, “Today NATO is stronger than it’s ever been in its history.” He surprised NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, crediting him with revitalizing the 32-member alliance.

The summit’s centerpiece is expected to be new commitments to military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the summit would “further strengthen” Ukraine’s path to NATO membership.

President Biden’s speech was closely watched as conversations over his ability to run the nation have been in question since the first Presidential debate.

A joint statement from Biden and several European leaders announced the delivery of additional Patriot and other strategic air defense systems to Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who arrived in Washington on Tuesday, expressed his country’s needs on social media: “We are fighting for additional security guarantees for Ukraine – and these are weapons and finances, political support.”

The summit comes amid political uncertainties in both the United States and Europe. Biden faces a challenging re-election campaign against former President Donald Trump, whose potential return to office has raised concerns among NATO allies.

A U.S. intelligence official stated on Tuesday that Russia prefers Trump to win the upcoming election. Trump has previously questioned the amount of aid given to Ukraine and suggested he might not defend NATO members if they came under military attack and didn’t meet the alliance’s defense spending target. Trump’s presence loomed over the NATO summit because of this, as many members are anxiously waiting for the U.S. election season to end. 

In Europe, recent elections have seen gains for left parties in France and weakened Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition in Germany. New British Prime Minister Keir Starmer, attending his first NATO summit, reiterated his commitment to increase UK defense spending to 2.5% of GDP, but only when economically feasible.

Despite these challenges, a senior NATO official provided some optimism regarding the conflict in Ukraine. The official stated that Russia currently lacks the munitions and troops to start a major offensive in Ukraine and needs to secure significant ammunition supplies from other countries. However, the official estimated that Russia could sustain its war economy for three to four more years.

The summit will mostly focus on Ukraine and discussion for peace, making many worry over a lack of discussion from Biden, and in the plans for the summit, over the Israel-Palestine situation. Additionally, no African countries are currently at the summit, not even leaders from partnered countries like Algeria or Tunisia. However, the summit plans to discuss peace methods for terrorist threats in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sahel regions.

As the summit continues over the next few days, leaders will grapple with these complex issues, balancing the immediate needs of Ukraine with long-term strategic concerns that span multiple continents, including Africa. 

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