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Politico: NATO allies express concern over Biden’s age and reelection prospects

On the onther hand, European leaders fear the return of Donald Trump could damage NATO and Ukraine support, according to a Politico investigation.
Joe Biden debate
President Joe Biden speaks during a presidential debate on 27 June 2024. Credit: AP
Politico: NATO allies express concern over Biden’s age and reelection prospects

Politico reports that diplomats and world leaders preparing for next week’s NATO summit privately express serious concerns about President Joe Biden’s age, health, and ability to win reelection in 2024.

According to the report, these foreign officials largely favor Biden’s reelection but fear that Donald Trump’s return to office would damage the NATO alliance and hinder support for Ukraine.

The publication spoke with 20 people connected to NATO or the upcoming summit, finding that many allies had reservations about Biden before his recent debate performance. An official from a European NATO country told Politico, “It doesn’t take a genius to see that the president is old. We’re not sure that, even if he wins, he can survive four years more.”

The debate appears to have intensified these concerns. An EU official described it as “painful to watch,” adding, “We all want Biden to have a second term to avoid dealing with Trump again, but this isn’t really reassuring.”

Some leaders have been more explicit in their criticism. Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk publicly expressed alarm after the debate, saying, “They definitely have a problem. The reactions have been unambiguous.”

However, Mark Gitenstein, the US ambassador to the EU and a longtime Biden adviser, defended the president.

“I have never heard any leader directly or indirectly express a concern to me about his age. They’re all worried about the elections because the elections are close and they’re worried about some of the stuff Trump has said,” Gitenstein told Politico

Politico reports that the upcoming NATO summit, originally planned to celebrate the alliance’s 75th anniversary, has become a test of Biden’s leadership and stamina.

According to the report, some NATO allies are unsatisfied with Biden’s leadership in Ukraine. Many view his approach to providing weapons and authorizing strikes inside Russia as too incremental. A senior European diplomat in Washington questioned, “Is the US leading, or is it just taking part like everyone else?”

Despite these concerns, Politico notes that Biden has established solid relationships with most democratic allies over his three and a half years as president. However, the report suggests that allies still worry about his age as a major political liability affecting his reelection chances.

Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told Politico that many G7 and European leaders have expressed fears about Biden’s status.

“Ukraine is still the most important topic,” he said, “but concerns about Biden and growing panic from Europeans about Trump are increasingly distracting the substantive conversations.”

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