Zelensky Responds to Joe Biden's 'Historic' NATO Speech in Less Than Flattering Terms

Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

Depending on who you listen to, you’ll get a completely different reaction to Joe Biden’s speech at NATO addressing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His sycophants will tell you it was not only “historic,” but that it surpassed Ronald Reagan’s famous “tear down this wall” speech. And as to the massive gaffe at the end, well, at least Biden is mean to Putin or something; consequences for millions of innocent people need not apply.

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Obviously, those who aren’t as partial to the president weren’t nearly as impressed. I found the speech to be meandering and generic, long on talk and short on action. In response to the idea that it measured up to Ronald Reagan’s proclamation about the Berlin Wall, I’d suggest that we wouldn’t even remember that moment if the wall hadn’t been, you know, actually torn down. In short, words are cheap, and Biden is a top wholesaler.

Anyone can get up and read a teleprompter, throw out some tough talk, and then head back to their Delaware beach house. The test of Biden’s speech is not whether it sounded good (and it really didn’t), but if it actually leads to anything tangible–and I wouldn’t count on that.

But just in case anyone wants to accuse me of being a partisan for holding that opinion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has responded to the speech, and it wasn’t positive.

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That’s the correct take, regardless of whether one personally thinks the US should be more involved in Ukraine at the moment. If Biden weren’t trying to present himself as a savior, “uniting'” the world against Russian aggression, then Zelensky’s critique might be out of bounds. But what Biden is doing is what he’s always done throughout his political career, which is to pretend he’s in the thick of the action when he’s actually just falsely pumping up his ego. We saw it with his lies about being arrested in South Africa, his lies about being part of the Civil Rights movement, and his lies about a black man named “Cornpop.”

Zelensky is desperate for help, and perhaps it’s not smart for the US to get directly involved in a war with Russia, but can you blame him for not suffering fools? I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for the Ukrainian president to see someone like Biden playing celebrity on the world stage and taking credit for things he didn’t even do, while refusing to take direct action.

Again, I’m not arguing one way or the other about what level the US should respond going forward in regards to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I believe people can disagree on that point in good faith without either side being evil, and there are clearly serious variables to consider in regards to challenging a nuclear power. Still, I completely agree with Zelensky that lofty speeches (and Biden’s was far from that) are not helpful at this point. Either take action or shut up and support from the sidelines. Biden’s attempt to raise his own profile on the backs of dead Ukrainians is gross, and it’s not helping him back at home anyway.

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