During his keynote speech at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden made a gaffe by confusing Russia and Ukraine. This mistake occurred just days after a US State Department spokesman also made a similar slip of the tongue when discussing the ongoing conflict.
Biden initially stated, “Russia could end this war tomorrow by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine, reconing [sic] its international borders and ceasing its attacks on, its inhumane attacks, on Russia.” He quickly corrected himself, saying, “I mean by Russia, on Ukraine.” This mistake highlights the complexity and sensitivity of the situation in the region.
Interestingly, the day before his speech, an unnamed US official informed reporters that Biden was preparing for a “big speech” and had just completed “four full days of official business.” As a result, he had decided to skip a dinner hosted by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. Critics responded to this news by posting pictures of Biden relaxing on the beach in Delaware before his trip to Europe on Sunday, questioning the legitimacy of his need for rest.
Biden’s history of verbal gaffes is well-known, and his supporters often attribute them to his alleged childhood stutter. Just two weeks ago, during an impromptu press conference outside the White House, Biden intriguingly claimed that Russia was “losing the war in Iraq.” Although some US media outlets attempted to omit the “Iraq” part when quoting him, his remarks were captured on live video.
Critics of Biden have suggested that these verbal slips could be a sign of dementia, heightened by his frequent outbursts of anger. Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has described Biden in recent Tweets as an “old, rotten, demented stump” and an “ill and miserable old man.” These assessments reflect the ongoing tensions between Russia and the US.
However, it is important to note that Biden is not the only US official who has made verbal slip-ups regarding the Ukraine conflict. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, on Monday, twice referred to it as a “strategic failure for Ukraine,” prompting reporters in the briefing room to intervene and suggest that he likely meant Russia. These mistakes emphasize the challenges of effectively addressing the nuanced and ever-evolving situation in the region.
In conclusion, President Joe Biden’s confusion between Russia and Ukraine during his NATO summit speech highlights the complexities of the ongoing conflict. His history of verbal gaffes and outbursts of anger has led critics to question his cognitive capabilities. However, it is important to remember that he is not the only US official to have made such mistakes, as the sensitive and intricate nature of the situation in Ukraine presents challenges for accurate communication.