July 11, 2024

Day 1 of the NATO Summit: support for Ukraine and Biden’s redemption

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July 10, 2024, Washington D.C., United States. From the left: US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Keir Starmer, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Picture by: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street | Flickr

On July 9, the 2024 NATO Summit began in Washington, DC, marking 75 years since the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

NATOis a political and military alliance of 32 member countries (newly including Finland and Sweden), originally founded in 1949 during the Cold War to counter Soviet influence in central and eastern Europe.

This is the 34th NATO summit, as they are not held every year but rather at key moments in the Alliance’s evolution. The reason for this year’s summit is Russia’s recent gains in the Russo-Ukrainian War, leading NATO spokesperson Farah Dakhlallah to call it“the most dangerous security environment since the Cold War”.

United States President Joe Biden pledged to partner with Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Romania to donate a number of strategic air defence systems, including at least four of the Patriot batteries that Ukraine has been seeking.

The announcement comes a few days after a Russian airstrike hit a children’s hospital and devastated Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said that 36 were killed and 140 more were injured.

It is likely that the Summit will introduce further NATO commitments for Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO has signed a contract of nearly $700mn to produce more Stinger anti-aircraft missiles for several of its member states.

Stoltenberg also told reporters that the allies are close to formulating the exact wording that will allow Ukraine to become a NATO ally.

Biden declared the alliance “stronger than ever” and said: “Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail.” In his 13-minute speech, Biden spoke clearly and forcefully, a marked difference from his worrying performance at the first presidential debate.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party seems divided. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey became the seventh House of Representatives Democrat to call for Biden’s replacement in the upcoming election. California Representative Nancy Pelosi indicated that the matter was not yet settled, suggesting that Biden reconsider his decision.

However, other Democratic sources told Fox News that “the reality is, it is too late in the game to replace the guy if we want to win — that’s it”.

Diplomats also expressed doubt about Biden’s future, with one envoy telling Reuters “We don’t see how he can come back after the debate… I can’t imagine him being at helm of the US and Nato for four more years.”

US 2024 elections: Is this the end of American support for Ukraine?

The possibility of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s return has caused some nervousness, especially after his statements that he would let Russia do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO members that do not meet the agreement to spend at least 2% of gross domestic product on defence.

Trump also indicated he would lessen support to Ukraine if elected.

Many allies have now reached the benchmark since Russia attacked Ukraine. Trump criticised NATO allies at a concurrent rally in Doral, Florida, where he credited himself with their increased defence spending.

Stoltenberg reacted to a similar speech in February, saying that such comments “undermines all of our security”. Analysts at Eurasia Group said they expected NATO leaders to take steps to ‘Trump-proof’ Ukraine aid by having the alliance ‘take over substantial parts of the various coordinating efforts for Ukraine aid from the U.S’.

Nonetheless, Secretary General and latest winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Stoltenberg remained tight-lipped about Trump on the first day of the proceedings.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “everyone is waiting for November” when the United States general elections will occur. Zelenskyy is due to meet President Biden at Thursday’s NATO proceedings.

Written by:


Justin Sau

Culture editor

Hong Kong, SAR

Born in 2007, Justin studies in Hong Kong at the HKIS. Fluent in English and Mandarin, he is interested in journalism, English literature, history, and sports.

Justin joined Harbinger’s Magazine in 2023 as a contributor, writing predominantly about culture. In 2024, he took over the Culture section of the magazine.

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