President Joe Biden has been described as sleepy once or twice because of his personal lack of vitality. Apparently, the president’s narcoleptic energy is contagious.
Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday. The president’s speech was predominantly focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which will enter its eighth month over the upcoming weekend. In the approximately 30 minute speech, Biden also announced a $2.9 billion program to address food insecurity around the world, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change, and Covid-19 as the culprits for present and potential future shortages.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was not in attendance for the U.N. General Assembly meeting, but still managed to raise the stakes for his American counterpart to deliver a forthright and cogent speech by giving a televised address of his own from Moscow on Wednesday morning. “To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction,” the Russian president said. “And when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal.”
“It’s not a bluff,” Putin warned.
Putin also announced in his speech a “partial mobilization” of Russian reservists with military experience, which could provide Russia’s armed forces with hundreds of thousands of additional troops.
But with the pressure on, Biden was not able to deliver.
In the opening of his speech, Biden carried a firm but flat tone. The war in Ukraine, Biden claimed, is “a brutal, needless war. A war chosen by one man to be very blunt.”
“Let us speak plainly,” the president continued. “A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenants of the United Nations charter, no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force.”
The president also accused Russia of making, “overt nuclear threats against Europe,” seeming to reference Putin’s warning that Russia will defend itself with every capability at its disposal if it were to come under attack. This also comes in the wake of Ukraine accusing Russia of attempted “nuclear terrorism” after a Russian missile struck targets near a nuclear power plant Monday.
Despite decades of NATO expansion paired with, at best, an inconsistent Russia policy coming out of Washington in the post-Cold War era—not to mention the repeated insistence from the Democratic Party that Russia had violated America’s sovereignty by installing Donald Trump as president—Biden insisted that, “no one threatened Russia. And no one other than Russia sought conflict.”
Not too long into the speech, Biden began to fumble, tripping over his own words at pivotal points of the speech.
Biden said Putin’s goal was to challenge Ukraine’s very right to exist. “Whoever you are, where ever you live, whatever you believe, that should not—that should make your blood run cold,” Biden said in a dull slur.
“As we meet today, the U.N. char—the U.N. charter’s very basis of a stable and just, rule-based order is under attack by those who wish to tear it down or distort it for their own political advantage,” Biden continued. The president went on, stumbling his way through odes to democracy and inclusivity, as well as the need to address climate change.
Biden, revisiting a line from his first address to the U.N. General Assembly as president in Sept. 2021, said, “the United States is opening an era of relentless diplomacy.”
But at several points of Biden’s speech, diplomats from several different delegations appeared to fall asleep, including a member of the delegation Biden was attempting to intimidate—the Russian Federation.
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It appears the president himself wasn’t too convinced his diplomacy Wednesday was “relentless.”
“Thank you for your tolerance in listening to me. I appreciate it very much,” Biden said before exiting the stage.