Why Are NATO and Europe Anxious About Biden’s Debate Performance?

Because “Biden can’t do it”, Trump might get a second term as US president – and that scares Europe 

Biden Did Bad

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Following US President Joe Biden’s performance at last week’s presidential debate against Donald Trump, various US allies have voiced their concerns – especially within NATO and Europe. 

Trump’s 2nd Round?

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The debate has made it clear that a second Trump term is more possible than anyone thought – and with that realization dawns another regarding the future of NATO, the Ukraine-Russia war, plus happenings in the Middle East. 

Did Democracy Die?

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Guy Verhofstadt, a European parliament member and Belgium’s former prime minister, proclaimed on X that: “American democracy killed before our eyes by gerontocracy”.

Italy Feels the Same

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From Italy, the former prime minister Matteo Renzi just said: “Joe Biden can’t do it.” He acknowledged that Biden had served the US with honor before adding: “He doesn’t deserve an inglorious ending, he doesn’t deserve one. Changing horses is a duty for everyone”.

Why the Fear?

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But what are the main concerns of US allies? It’s not about Biden’s ability to make decisions, nor that he might implement dangerous policies, but instead that he’s unable to provide what they most desire: stability. 

A Stable Future

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But this is about more than just political stability or consistency. The allies’ dominant fear is that if the loud uncertainty regarding Biden’s governing abilities continues, he might be unable (fairly or unfairly) to offer the West the stability it needs at this uncertain time. 

Dropping Out Not an Option?

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Diplomats also fear that should a candidate be removed from the presidential race this late, the entire process could be undermined. And powerful adversaries like Russia and China could lash out at the US democratic system and make it look frail compared to their autocracies. 

Russia Said What It Said

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Following the presidential debate, the Russian state-owned domestic news agency RIA Novosti has stated: “Biden unexpectedly misspoke multiple times and stammered. Democrats have already called his performance a failure”. 

Trump was not criticized.

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Is Europe Scared of Trump 2.0? 

The debate results have also stirred up unease about what a second Trump term could mean for Europe’s security, especially Ukraine’s future. “Trump proved once again that his potential victory is bad news for NATO, Ukraine, and by extension, Poland”, a Polish news website posted.

He Said What?

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The US political class was shocked in February when Trump said he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to NATO allies who don’t meet defense-spending targets. 

Bad for Business?

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Although Trump’s statement caused quite a stir and boosted his popularity, it did worsen European insecurity. Many are anxious that Trump’s nationalist- and disruptive governing style would challenge and perhaps even terminate the relationship between the US and Europe. 

In Need of US Support

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Many Europeans are anxious that their country’s future is uncertain without strong support from the US. The fear is that should Trump beat Biden in November, Europe’s security won’t be guaranteed. 

Trump and Russia

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Trump has said that if he gets re-elected, he will end the Russia-Ukraine war. And present circumstances dictate that that could be more of a defeat for NATO than for Ukraine. 

What Could Happen?

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Russia might love the idea of a Europe stripped of its NATO security, but the result could be a continent descending into chaos because of internal quarrels should the US decide to evacuate. 

Europe is Buffing Up

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Since Trump’s first presidential term ended in 2021, the EU has been working on solidifying the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), building up defense budgets, and improving military cooperation between member states. 

Ready for War

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Initiatives such as the European Defense Fund (EDF) and Permanent Structured Cooperation are working on developing joint military projects and boosting defense readiness. In addition, countries such as France and Germany are encouraging a more integrated European military to ensure Europe can independently manage its security while responding to possible threats.  

Read the Room

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Currently, leaders of NATO’s 32 member countries are gearing up for the 75th anniversary in Washington from 9th to 11th July. However, Trump’s debate comments and his position on Ukraine have considerably dampened the celebratory mood.   

One Hot Topic

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One subject matter that is almost certain to be discussed at the summit is Trump’s chastising of European NATO members who don’t contribute enough to the alliance’s budget, which he repeated at the debate. 

More to Pay

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The US remains the largest contributor to NATO with over 3.5% of its GDP given to the alliance. Many European countries have vowed to contribute 2% of their GDP to the NATO budget by the end of this year. 

Ike Felt the Same

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Trump is not the only US president who has questioned the burden placed by NATO on the US. President Dwight Eisenhower, who served from 1953 to 1961, was also of the opinion that European nations should be able to defend themselves without assistance from the US, suggesting that NATO must not be seen as a permanent solution. 

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The post Why Are NATO and Europe Anxious About Biden’s Debate Performance? first appeared on EcoHugo.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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