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Biden Strikes Out at the UN

The EUROPEAN CONSERVATIVE – “Simply put, the 21st century … the 21st century results … are badly needed … are needed … to move us along,” cryptically stated President Joe Biden in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 19. A week before, at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, Biden made a number of verbal gaffes before his press secretary declared—while the president was still mid-sentence—that his address was over and cued music to usher him off the stage.

If Biden’s puzzling words make little sense beyond evidencing his widely suspected cognitive decline, whatever he had to say was of little importance to much of the world. Although New York City’s decaying infrastructure suffered as ever under the weight of the annual event’s intense diplomatic traffic, 48 national leaders skipped this year’s General Assembly meeting. The absentees included the chief executives of all four other permanent members of the UN Security Council—Russia, China, Britain, and France—as well as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who presides over the world’s most populous country. The mass absenteeism was notable enough to make it into UN Secretary General António Guterres’s press conference, where he acknowledged “symptoms” of a recently theorized “great fracture” that could see global institutions recede in favor of a multiplicity of rival economic and political blocs. Former president and current 2024 Republican front runner Donald J. Trump lost no time criticizing his once and near-certain future opponent: “Biden just finished his surrender (‘speech’) at the United Nations,” he almost immediately posted on his Truth Social platform, “and nobody, despite all we give them, showed up. No respect for America any longer!”

Guterres maintained that the UN is “not yet in an irreversible situation,” but Biden very well may be. A CNN poll released in early September found that some 70% of Americans do not believe he is either physically or mentally fit to serve in office. A staggering 82%—including 67% of Democrats—would prefer he not run for reelection. The day before Biden’s UN speech, Congressional Republicans launched an official impeachment inquiry, with hearings to begin next week in a process that will ultimately determine whether he should be convicted of a crime and removed from office. The previous week Biden’s troubled son Hunter was indicted on three counts relating to purchasing and possessing a firearm while actively using illegal narcotics—felony charges ancillary to a much larger investigation of alleged financial misdeeds that could also ensnare the president in serious criminal prosecution. Biden’s approval rating is among the lowest of any president in modern times, with especially low numbers on the economy, which is the most important issue for American voters. Many polls show him losing to Trump in 2024, despite the former president’s own major difficulties, and to several other Republican contenders.
Impaired and imperiled, Biden is now in his ninth decade with a world understandably wondering if he will survive—politically or at all. His UN speech was no rousing turnabout or reclamation of American world leadership. Apart from typical globalist platitudes about climate change, education, health care, and international cooperation, its main point was to try to rally international support for Ukraine, now 19 months deep into a war with Russia that neither side can win in any foreseeable circumstances. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who attended this year’s General Assembly session and will also visit Washington to lobby for yet more American support, looked on expectantly as Biden asked “is the independence of any nation secure” if “we allow Ukraine to be carved up?” Citizens of Libya, Yemen, or Sudan could rightly ask if the sample principle applies to their countries, but Biden also confusingly called on the international community to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict. This has been the likeliest outcome since Day 1, but Zelensky, enjoying a steady flow of American support, says he will not entertain such a settlement unless Russia agrees to a full evacuation of all occupied territories—including Crimea and the Donbas, lost in 2014—and Russia’s more recent conquests, which Ukraine has no realistic chance of reclaiming through military means. As summer passed, a much-vaunted Ukrainian offensive to dislodge Russian positions went nowhere, while Russia has crushed internal opposition, intensified missile attacks on Ukrainian targets, ended deals to allow for the export of Ukrainian grain, taken measures to address its troubled military logistics, and shored up its isolated and heavily sanctioned economy. These measures are unlikely to bring Moscow victory, but they will make it considerably harder for Kyiv to realize peace on Zelensky’s current terms.

At a NATO summit in Lithuania in July, Biden pledged to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Like most aspects of his administration, including Biden himself, his people are sick and tired of it. According to a poll taken that month, a majority of Americans believe their country “has already done enough” to help Ukraine, compared to 62% who wanted it to do more in the days after the conflict began. In the intervening time, according to estimates from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) based on U.S. budget figures, Washington has spent $111 billion in taxpayer funds to finance a bloody stalemate in a country that more than 80% of Americans could not identify on a map as of last year. Additionally, the U.S. has neither an alliance commitment or, arguably, any strategic interests at stake. In August, the Biden administration requested an additional $24 billion for Ukraine in a supplementary budget bill that Congress is expected to pass despite mounting opposition in both Washington and the country at large to unlimited funds and another “forever war.” Some 55% of Americans opposed the additional funds in August, and signs point to opposition growing as serious questions begin to emerge about where the money is really going. Earlier this month, Zelensky fired Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov amid major corruption allegations. Just one day before Biden’s UN speech, all six of Ukraine’s deputy defense ministers followed Reznikov out the door—fired without official explanation but apparently also in connection with corruption claims.

Not coincidentally, Ukraine is the setting for a significant part of the impeachment investigations Biden et fils now face. In addition to the protracted conflict in that country, Biden’s UN speech riled opposition by failing to mention his own country’s insecure borders, which over the preceding weekend infelicitously witnessed the largest number of contacts with illegal aliens to date. In other news, an F-35 fighter jet valued at $80 to $100 million simply vanished on American soil, while on Sunday General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who gave us the 2021 debacle in Afghanistan, ridiculously wasted an interview with servile establishment television host Fareed Zakaria denying that the U.S. military is ‘woke,’ among other absurdities that could only make Vladimir Putin laugh.

With each embarrassment outdoing the last, the next fourteen months could well overshadow Biden’s lackluster UN performance. In the end, however, it is America and its people who will be diminished.

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