Biden Defends Foreign Policy as NATO Summit Opens Amid Speculation on His Leadership

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WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden strongly defended his foreign policy achievements during a NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday, addressing concerns from both domestic and international observers about his leadership.

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Despite facing questions about his fitness for office following a challenging debate performance, Biden, 81, emphasized the importance of supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. “Putin wants nothing less than Ukraine’s total subjugation… Ukraine can and will stop Putin,” Biden stated.

Biden aims to shift the narrative with his speech, presenting a confident and clear message. He reiterated his commitment to defeating Republican Donald Trump in the upcoming November election, maintaining support from most Democratic leaders.

Central to Biden’s foreign policy is restoring traditional U.S. alliances, contrasting with Trump’s “America First” approach. Trump’s skepticism towards NATO, including questioning defense commitments and aid to Ukraine, has heightened the stakes of the election for the alliance’s future.

The summit’s main focus is on new commitments of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, along with discussions about Ukraine’s potential NATO membership. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who arrived in Washington, is advocating for enhanced air defenses and more F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, announced NATO’s plans to establish a new military command in Germany for Ukrainian troop training and appoint a senior representative in Kyiv. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that the summit would further solidify Ukraine’s path to NATO membership.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg discussed pledges to boost arms production and a significant order for Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, highlighting ongoing support for Ukraine.

Biden’s opening speech at the summit aims to underscore the administration’s view of a stronger, more united NATO under U.S. leadership, bringing tangible benefits for American voters, including national security and economic strength.

As Biden prepares for a solo press conference and private meetings with NATO leaders, the focus remains on his political resilience amid global uncertainties. Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer and other European leaders are navigating their own domestic political challenges.

The summit’s outcome could have far-reaching implications for NATO’s stance on Ukraine and its collective security commitments in the face of Russian aggression.

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