Like most of his speeches, the U.S. president’s State of the Union address was incoherent, dull and breathtakingly mind-numbing.
As Joe Biden entered Congress to deliver his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, it was hard to think of a less successful first year for a US president in the modern era. True to form, he gave a monumentally unimpressive address, one that fit the myriad failures of his time in office so far.
In many respects, it was a reminder of why the US is a superpower in decline under the Biden presidency. America’s enemies are emboldened by a weak-kneed president who is the antithesis of Ronald Reagan. America deserves better.
Aside from the opening lines on Ukraine, American leadership in the world barely featured in Mr. Biden’s State of the Union speech. Why? Because Mr. Biden simply doesn’t lead. The Afghanistan withdrawal was a disaster, China is threatening to invade Taiwan, the Iranians are growing closer to building a nuclear weapon, and the Russians are at the gates of Kyiv. This president has been a massive failure on practically every foreign policy front.
Reagan would have used a moment like this to rally the free world to stand up to Russia and outline a clear course of action to provide immediate support to the Ukrainian people in their hour of need. Mr. Biden failed miserably, offering nothing of substance, making Jimmy Carter, the former Democratic president, look like General Patton by comparison.
With the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, Mr. Biden struck the wrong tone with boastful rhetoric on his underwhelming actions. This was an arrogant speech, after an abject lack of US effort to successfully deter a Russian invasion under his watch. It will do nothing to reassure the people of Ukraine. As Russian tanks head towards Kyiv, he offered little more than limited sanctions and a ban on Russian planes from US airspace.
The president is still failing to lead in crippling the Russian regime. The lofty rhetoric on Ukraine was undermined by weak proposals to hit the Russian economy. No sanctions were announced against Russia’s energy sector, and there was no pledge to stop buying Russian oil, with zero strategic thinking outlined for strengthening US energy independence.
And if you look carefully at Mr. Biden’s words on Russia, his language on Vladimir Putin was strikingly soft. There was limited reference to Putin’s record as a brutal tyrant, and clear hesitation in calling his actions evil or barbaric. Boris Johnson’s approach has been far tougher. This was a cowardly speech on the Russian front that could have been much stronger.
The speech was disappointing on other key foreign policy issues too. It contained no condemnation of China’s Communist rulers, and significantly made no mention of the appalling Uyghur genocide. Mr. Biden is at heart an appeaser, a president who kowtows to the US’s enemies. Like Russia, China has grown stronger under Mr Biden’s watch and more menacing too. Mr. Biden consistently fails to acknowledge the immense threat that Communist China poses to the free world, increasingly alongside its Russian partner.
In many respects, this was also a remarkably lazy speech from him. His speechwriters rewrote the opening lines on Ukraine, but 90 per cent was tired Left-wing domestic rhetoric, partisan in tone, divisive in substance, and full of empty language. It was one of the most forgettable State of the Union speeches in decades.
Mr Biden simply doesn’t inspire. His speeches are incoherent, exceedingly dull and breathtakingly mind-numbing. This should have been a moment to rally the free world, not bore it into slumber.
This piece originally appeared in The Telegraph