Will Europe Finally Wake Up to the Truth About Joe Biden Now?

COMMENTARY Europe

Will Europe Finally Wake Up to the Truth About Joe Biden Now?

Mar 30th, 2022 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.

Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow

Nile Gardiner is director of The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow.
President Joe Biden exits the Air Force 1 at Rzeszow Airport on March 25, 2022 in Rzeszow, Poland. Omar Marques / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

It is amateur hour on the world stage from the Biden Presidency.

Our Nato allies will be deeply disappointed with Biden's performance in Brussels.

The United States needs stronger, sharper and wiser leadership, not empty, sabre-rattling soundbites.

It is amateur hour on the world stage from the Biden Presidency. His visit last week to Europe was a train wreck, from his bizarre press conference in Brussels to the ad-libbed final words of his speech in Warsaw.

At times Mr. Biden looked dazed and confused, struggling to command his sentences, and drifting into incoherence. The messaging was muddled, forcing even the president’s top officials to disown their own leader’s comments.

In 20 years in Washington, I have not seen a White House more disorganized, incompetent or mismanaged, in both the president's and vice president's office. It has a distinctly Monty Python-esque feel to it. Having visited the Trump White House on multiple occasions, and met with the former president several times, I can attest it was a model of efficiency compared to what we’re seeing now.

On no fewer than three separate occasions, Biden’s own staff had to clarify or even refute the words of their commander in chief. Biden officials had to explain to the world’s media that he was not calling for U.S. troops to go into Ukraine, that the United States would not respond to Russia with chemical weapons if Moscow used them, and that the Biden administration was not seeking regime change in Moscow. These are big misstatements, not minor gaffes, with major global ramifications, and a direct impact on the war in Ukraine.

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There is a major lack of discipline in messaging from the Biden administration, and clearly deep-seated divisions as well among policy staff. Biden himself has been stung by the charge from political opponents that he has been weak over Ukraine, as well as by sinking poll numbers, and is trying to overcompensate with tough rhetoric on Putin. His own aides are trying to rein him in. As a result, confusion reigns.

Much of the focus on Biden’s trip to Europe was on his final declaration in his Warsaw speech that Putin “cannot remain in power,” a dramatic intervention that would fundamentally alter the course of U.S. foreign policy in Europe if put into practice. But his brief NATO press conference two days earlier had already unnerved U.S. allies. Rambling, confused, incoherent, even bizarre, Biden’s NATO presser did not instill confidence in his leadership. He simply did not come across as the leader of the free world.

Our NATO allies will be deeply disappointed with Biden's performance in Brussels. This should have been a moment to rally the NATO alliance and free world in the face of the Russian threat. It was a lost opportunity, mired in foggy thinking, with a complete lack of strategic vision.

Biden in Brussels looked way out of his depth. There was no talk of winning in Ukraine, no promise to work with allies in substantially strengthening military assistance for the Ukrainian military. Biden looked weak, disorganized and even cognitively impaired at times. He does not inspire faith in U.S. leadership, particularly at a critically important moment in time.

Donald Trump used to come under heavy fire from the French, Germans and European elites at NATO summits, and his message was not always popular. But he was far more effective than Joe Biden at getting results, increasing defense spending, and shaking up the complacent status quo in Europe.

Biden claims he is standing with the people of Ukraine and isolating Russia. The reality is that he has been a strikingly weak leader on the Ukraine front, and has been very slow to move. Tough words in Warsaw do not change that reality. Nor does the fact that he is still doing too little to help Ukraine win against the Russian hordes invading Europe’s second biggest country.

Shamefully, Biden is happy to partner with Putin's tyrannical regime in getting a new nuclear deal with the world's biggest state sponsor of terror in Iran, one that will allow vast sums of money to flow to Tehran to fund terror groups like Hezbollah. This is a staggering act of sheer hypocrisy.

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There were plenty of harsh words from Joe Biden against Putin in Warsaw. But what is the actual strategy for defeating him? His speech was full of soaring rhetoric, but short on substance. Real leadership is not the same as a debating society. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had a clear vision for winning against the Russians. Biden has none today.

Joe Biden simply does not lead or strengthen our alliances in the face of the enemies of the free world. The U.S. President has not done enough to help Ukraine win the war, including working with Poland to send urgently needed MiG 29 fighters to Ukraine to defend themselves against Russia's air force, and pressuring Europe to implement tougher sanctions.

The United States needs stronger, sharper and wiser leadership, not empty, saber-rattling soundbites.

This piece originally appeared in the Telegraph