Western diplomats believe the US president’s speech failed to compensate for his disastrous debate with Donald Trump, according to Reuters

US President Joe Biden has reportedly delivered a forceful keynote speech to NATO leaders at the opening of the military bloc’s summit in Washington on Tuesday, in a bid to reassure them that Ukraine can still prevail in its conflict against Russia.

Several Western diplomats however have told Reuters that the US leader’s better-than-expected stage performance failed to make up for his disastrous debate with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Biden touted the bloc as “the bulwark of global security” and reiterated its intention to support Ukraine with military aid, including new deliveries of air defense systems.

“We know [Russian President Vladimir] Putin won’t stop at Ukraine. But make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin… When this senseless war began, Ukraine was a free country. Today, it is still a free country, and the war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country,” he declared. “Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail.” 

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The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC before the NATO leaders summit.
Kremlin reveals position on NATO summit

Russia has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing they only prolong the conflict. It has also called NATO a “hostile” bloc directly involved in the conflict between Kiev and Moscow.

According to Reuters, Biden delivered his remarks without a teleprompter in an explicit and clear-cut manner, in sharp contrast to his performance at the debate with Republican rival Trump last month. The 81-year-old president’s performance was described as “fumbling” and “incoherent,” with numerous media reports claiming that the debate disaster led to prominent Democrats urging him to drop out of the race.

Several unnamed Western diplomats told Reuters that Biden’s NATO speech failed to erase the damage to his public image done by the recent debacle. “We don’t see how he can come back after the debate,” one European diplomat noted, adding that the president’s remarks were scripted and could not be seen as evidence of his endurance.

“I can’t imagine him being at helm of the US and NATO for four more years,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Biden has insisted he is “not going anywhere” and intends to beat Trump in the November election. On Tuesday, the GOP candidate challenged his rival to another face-off, calling it a “chance [for Biden] to redeem himself in front of the entire world,” and suggesting that the debate should be held without moderators.

Biden and Trump are already scheduled to hold another debate, which will be moderated by ABC, on September 10.

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