Biden’s shaky debate has overseas allies bracing for Trump return

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Biden’s Debate Performance Sparks Global Concerns, Raises Prospect of Trump Return

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TOKYO/SEOUL, June 28 (Reuters) – Joe Biden’s shaky performance in the U.S. presidential debate drew stunned reactions worldwide on Friday, prompting calls for him to step aside and leaving some of America’s closest allies bracing for Donald Trump’s potential return.

Supporters had hoped the debate would quell concerns about Biden’s age, but footage of the president sounding hoarse and stumbling over his words boosted Trump, according to politicians, analysts, and investors.

Global newspapers were harsh in their critiques. France’s Le Monde likened Biden to a shipwreck, Britain’s Daily Mirror called his performance a “gaffe-strewn nightmare,” Germany’s Bild ran with “Good night, Joe!” and the Sydney Morning Herald declared, “Trump monstered Biden. The Democrats can’t win with Joe.”

“Joe Biden can’t do it,” said Matteo Renzi, a former Italian prime minister, on social media platform X, urging a change in leadership to prevent an “inglorious ending” for Biden.

For Japan and South Korea, among the closest U.S. allies in Asia, relations with Trump’s administration were previously strained by demands for increased military payments and trade tensions. Countries like Japan and Germany have started preparing for a potential Trump return as his campaign gains momentum.

“Mr. Trump didn’t win but Mr. Biden might have imploded,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a former Japanese diplomat. “Unlike eight years ago, we are much more prepared, as are other European and Asian allies. Still, Mr. Trump is unpredictable.”

Peter Lee, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, expects Trump to be “very tough” on allies regarding defense spending if he returns to office. During his previous term, Trump initiated a tariff war with China and has hinted at imposing higher tariffs if he wins the November 5 election.

Overseas firms dependent on U.S. markets, particularly automakers, are wary of Trump’s possible return due to his previous tariff-related policies, said Lee Jae-il, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

Stephen Lee, chief economist at Meritz Securities in Seoul, added that Trump might impose tariffs on other countries as well under the concept of American exceptionalism.

In Europe, Trump’s criticisms of NATO and demands for greater financial contributions from its members dominated his last administration. His skepticism towards NATO is causing further anxiety as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues.

“American democracy killed before our eyes by gerontocracy!” exclaimed Guy Verhofstadt, a European Parliament member and former Belgian prime minister, on X.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who previously supported Biden’s re-election prospects, saw a senior defense figure in his coalition lament Biden’s performance and urge Democrats to find a stronger candidate. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, of the liberal FDP party, told the Rheinische Post that a Trump return would be a “historic tragedy” felt worldwide.

A spokesperson for Scholz did not comment on the debate but reaffirmed the chancellor’s high regard for Biden, noting their terms did not overlap.

During the debate, Trump accused Biden of being weak on China and claimed that leaders like Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, and Vladimir Putin “don’t respect” Biden. Trump also alleged Biden was driving the country “into World War Three.” Biden countered that Trump’s tariffs would raise costs for American consumers and accused Trump of cozying up to authoritarian leaders.

Putin stated that it made little difference to Russia who occupied the White House, and the Kremlin declined to comment on the debate, labeling it an internal U.S. matter.

Keir Starmer, leader of the British Labour Party, emphasized that the U.S.-UK relationship is strong and “above the individuals.”

In Sydney, Australian officials and experts attending a workshop titled “Trump 2.0” watched the debate. “The overwhelming feeling from today is that it was a disaster for Biden,” said Peter Dean, a professor at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney.

“The mood has changed considerably after the debate, and the general view is that preparing for a Trump 2.0 is now the smart play.”

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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