NATO summit provides Biden a forum to demonstrate his leadership

NATO summit provides Biden a forum to demonstrate his leadership

BIDEN TAKES CENTER STAGE: President Joe Biden capably delivered a forceful speech, read from a teleprompter, at the opening of this week’s Washington summit marking the 75 anniversary of the NATO alliance. He passed the first test in his effort to show he’s still up to the job of leading not just the United States but also the Western world.

But Biden—who is stubbornly resisting pressure from worried Democrats to give up his reelection bid—will face a much bigger test tomorrow. He is scheduled to hold an unscripted news conference, during which he will be peppered with questions from the global press corps.

“This is a pivotal moment for Europe, for the transatlantic community, and, I might add, for the world,” Biden said. “Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail.”

“And Kyiv — remember, fellows and ladies — was supposed to fall in five days. Remember? Well, it’s still standing two and a half years later and will continue to stand,” Biden said. “Putin thought NATO would break. Today, NATO is stronger than it’s ever been in its history.”

“Make no mistake, Russia is failing in this war. More than two years into Putin’s war of choice, his losses are staggering: more than 350,000 Russian troops dead or wounded; nearly 1 million Russians, many of them young people, have left Russia because they no longer see a future in Russia,” he said. “When this senseless war began, Ukraine was a free country. Today, it is still a free country, and the war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country.”


US, ALLIES PROMISE ‘DOZENS’ OF AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS, ‘HUNDREDS’ OF MISSILES: Just two days after the devastating Russian cruise missile attack on Europe’s largest children’s cancer hospital in Kyiv, Biden announced NATO allies would significantly boost Ukraine’s ability to defends against Russia standoff missiles and bombs.

“The United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Italy will provide Ukraine with the equipment for five additional strategic air defense systems, and in the coming months, the United States and our partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of additional tactical air defense systems,” Biden said. “All told, Ukraine will receive hundreds of additional interceptors over the next year.”

A fact sheet released by the White House said initially the five systems would include three additional Patriot batteries from the U.S., Germany, and Romania; as well as components donated by the Netherlands and other partners to enable the operation of an additional Patriot battery, as well as a  SAMP-T system donated by Italy. 

“We are coordinating closely with the Ukrainian government so that these systems can be utilized rapidly,” the statement said. “We are working on a further announcement this year of additional strategic air defense systems for Ukraine.”


DEFENSE SPENDING SOARS: Biden cited figures that show NATO defense spending has increased dramatically since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, a spike no doubt driven by the ominous threat posed by President Vladimir Putin’s irredentist ambitions.

“Putin wants nothing less than Ukraine’s total subjugation; to end Ukraine’s democracy; to destroy Ukraine’s culture; and to wipe Ukraine off the map,” Biden said. “And we know Putin won’t stop at Ukraine.”

Biden noted that when he took office in 2021, only nine NATO nations were meeting the 2% of GDP defense spending goal set in 2014. So far, 23 of the 32 members are meeting the standard, which was given a deadline of this year. But collectively, the entire alliance is now spending more than 2% on defense, and Biden said the remaining countries that have not yet reached the milestone “will get there soon.”

“It’s remarkable progress — proof that our commitment is broad and deep, that we’re ready, that we’re willing, and we’re able to deter aggression and defend every inch of NATO territory across every domain: land, air, sea, cyber, and space,” Biden said. “My friends, it’s good that we’re stronger than ever, because this moment in history calls for our collective strength.”


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HAPPENING TODAY: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to speak at the NATO public forum this morning. According to the Pentagon, he will “highlight the continued strength, unity, and resolve of the NATO alliance to safeguard our collective defense and tackle security challenges together.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also speak at the forum this morning. Blinken’s remarks will be live-streamed on the State Department website at 9:05 a.m., and Austin’s remarks will be live-streamed on the Pentagon’s website at 9:50 a.m.

Today, Blinken and Austin will join Biden for discussions with NATO heads of state at the summit. Tonight, Austin is hosting NATO defense ministers for a dinner at Fort McNair in Washington, and Blinken is hosting a similar dinner for NATO and partner foreign ministers in Washington.

HAPPENING TOMORROW: The White House says President Biden will meet one-on-one with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky at the Washington Convention Center, site of the NATO summit.

“This will be the third meeting between both presidents in recent weeks, following their sit-down in France and also a sit-down at the G7 in Italy, and it will further demonstrate the strength of the partnership between our counties,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “It will take place just before the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting.”


ZELENSKY: WORLD CAN’T WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER: In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation yesterday, Zelensky warned the world must not wait for the U.S. election in November to help Ukraine turn the tide of battle against Russia.

“Let’s be candid and frank. Now everyone is waiting for November,” Zelensky said according to a transcript on his official website. “Americans are waiting for November. And Europe, Middle East, Indo-Pacific – the whole world is looking to November. And truly speaking – Putin awaits November too,” he said. “It’s time to step out of the shadows, to make strong decisions work, to act and not to wait for November or any other month.”

In a separate address to the Ukrainian people, Zelensky said, “We are pushing for more aircraft, F-16s. We are pushing to get them. We are pushing for additional security commitments for Ukraine, which means weapons, finances, and political support. We are pushing for the necessary decisive actions by America and Europe, something that will strengthen our warriors.” 

“I am confident it will happen,” he said. 


QUESTIONS ABOUT BIDEN’S BEDTIME: In an appearance on Fox News following Biden’s NATO speech, John Kirby, White House national security communications adviser, fielded a barrage of questions raised by reports that Biden told a meeting of Democrats he needs more sleep and is no longer scheduling events after 8 p.m.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier raised a Wall Street Journal report that questioned Biden’s stamina and read from a portion of the article recounting an anecdote that allegedly happened at the G7 meeting last month in Germany. 

“German officials, aware of Biden’s fatigue at night, sought to accommodate the president by planning a June 22 event with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz early in the evening. The informal event, a soiree at the Alpine resort during the Group of Seven summit, was arranged as a confidential meeting on Ukraine in a relaxed setting,” Baier read. “Biden didn’t show, surprising the chancellor and his aides, officials said. Instead, Secretary Blinken arrived and announced that Biden had to go to bed,” according to two people there.

“I can’t verify those reports, these anonymous reports,” Kirby said. “I would point to you to what got done at the G7. And one of the things that got done was a press conference with President Zelenskyy at the end of a very, very long day at the very end of that trip, where he signed a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine. I mean, there was an awful lot of work done at the G7, and the president was right in the middle of it.”

“You know, a couple of elections ago, there was the 3:00 a.m. call,” Baier said. “Now there’s real concern about can he handle something that doesn’t happen between 10:00 and 4:00 p.m.”

“He gets calls in the middle of the night all the time,” Kirby replied. “And a couple of G7s ago, Bret, you might remember, there was a missile that fell in Poland. There was a concern that it could have been a Russian missile. That call came in to him in the middle of the night. He called together the G7 in a snap meeting by 8:00 that morning. He gets calls a lot.”


JAMES INHOFE, 1934-2024: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who served nearly 30 years in Congress and chaired the Armed Services Committee after the death of John McCain (R-AZ), died yesterday at the age of 89. Inhofe — who underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2013 — suffered a stroke over the July Fourth holiday, his family said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Many of the obituaries for Inhofe mentioned the time he brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to illustrate his skepticism about climate change. Still, his colleagues on both sides of the aisle remembered him for his ability to forge compromise on national security.

“Together, we produced nearly two dozen bipartisan National Defense Authorization Acts, traveled to combat zones and military posts around the world, and worked to support our men and women in uniform. We both had the privilege to serve in the Army, and I know Jim carried out his deep sense of responsibility to our troops in the Senate each day,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-NH), chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

“Jim Inhofe demonstrated that he continued to know how to build consensus and get things done for his fellow Oklahomans, as well as for his fellow Americans,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). “Jim Inhofe was an accomplished pilot. He flew solo around the world at age 56. As a Member of Congress, he was known as a straight shooter who was not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom, as he did so on numerous occasions.”“For nearly three decades, the Senator for Oklahoma lived up to his unique and distinguished middle name: Jim was a Mountain of a man,” saidSen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “His laser focus on growing and modernizing the U.S. military strengthened the security of the entire free world.”



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8 a.m. 801 Allen Y. Lew Pl. NW — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Washington Summit through July 11, marking the 75th anniversary, 32-member alliance Full schedule at

9 a.m. — Atlantic Council, Center for a New American Security, German Marshall Fund, U.S., GLOBSEC, and Hudson Institute 2024 NATO Public Forum

1 p.m. 2044 Rayburn — Defense Forum Foundation discussion with North Korean escapees on “The Road to Peaceful Unification is the End, Kim Regime: Let Us Show the Way” RSVP:

2 p.m. — Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe hearing: “Putin’s Syrian Puppet: War Crimes and Complicity from Syria to Ukraine,” with film director and producer M. Night Shyamalan, co-founder and president, M. Night Shyamalan Foundation; Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, Syrian civil society leader and human rights activist; and Mouaz Moustafa, executive director, Syrian Emergency Task Force

4 p.m. — U.S. Institute of Peace virtual discussion: “China-Taiwan Competition: Why It Matters for Peace and Stability in the Pacific,” with Graeme Smith, senior fellow at Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs; and Gordon Peake, USIP senior adviser on Pacific islands

8 p.m. — Jews United for Democracy virtual discussion: n “Legal Aspects, War Against Israel,” with Steve Zipperstein, associate director, University of California, Los Angeles’ Center for Middle East Development and professor, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and in the UCLA Global Studies Interdepartmental Program; and Madeleine Brand, host of Press Play


8 a.m. 801 Allen Y. Lew Pl. NW — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Washington Summit final day. Full schedule at

9 a.m. 216 Hart — Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on pending nominations

9 a.m. — Atlantic Council, Center for a New American Security, German Marshall Fund, U.S., GLOBSEC, and Hudson Institute 2024 NATO Public Forum

9 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies “South China Sea Conference,” with Kathryn Paik, CSIS senior fellow; Charles Edel, CSIS Australia chair; Andreyka Natalegawa, CSIS associate fellow; Harrison Pretat, deputy director, CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative; and Gregory Poling, director, CSIS Asia Program

9:30 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “What Happened, NATO Summit?” with former Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Mark Lippert, CSIS Korea chair; Sue Mi Terry, senior fellow for Korea studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Max Bergmann, director, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program; and Victor Cha, CSIS senior vice president for Asia

10 a.m. — Arab Center virtual discussion: “The Looming Israel-Hezbollah War: Prospects, Deterrence, and Impacts,” with Joseph Bahout, director, American University of Beirut’s Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs; Rola El-Husseini, associate professor of political science at Lund University; Paul Salem, Middle East Institute vice president for international engagement; Imad Harb, Arab Center director of research and analysis; and Patricia Karam, Arab Center nonresident fellow

12 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion: “Air and Missile Defense in the High North,” with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK); retired Army Gen. Charles Jacoby, chair, U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Modern War Institute and former commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command; and Tom Karako, senior fellow, CSIS International Security Program and director, CSIS Missile Defense Project

2:30 p.m. — Washington Post Live virtual discussion: “NATO, Trump and the Latest in Ukraine,” with former White House national security adviser John Bolton

7 p.m. 101 Independence Ave. SE — Library of Congress hosts the 75th Anniversary NATO Symphony Orchestra Concert with musician Peter Frampton 


9 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “Israel’s Missile Defense Engagements Since October 7th,” with Moshe Patel, director, Israel Missile Defense Organization; and Tom Karako, senior fellow, CSIS International Security Program and director, CSIS Missile Defense Project

9:30 a.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW — American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research discussion: “Europe’s Security After the Washington Summit,” with Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski; Kori Schake, AEI director of foreign and defense policy studies; and Dalibor Rohac, AEI senior fellow

10:45 a.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: “Bolstering Transatlantic Security and Solidarity,” with Jan Jires, director general of defense policy and planning, Czech Ministry of Defense; Lt. Gen. Karel Rehka, chief, General Staff, Czech Armed Forces; J.R. McDonald, vice president for business development at Lockheed Martin; Valbona Zeneli, nonresident senior fellow, Atlantic Council Europe Center; and former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Daniel Fried, fellow, Atlantic Council Eurasia Center

11 a.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council discussion: “Beyond the Summit: Outcomes and the Path Forward to Ukraine’s NATO Membership,” with Paul Good, president, Ukrainian World Congress; Nico Lange, senior fellow, Munich Security Conference; Michal Szczerba, member, European Parliament (via video); former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis; former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, senior director, Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center; and Shelby Magid, deputy director, Atlantic Council Eurasia Center

12:15 p.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: “Next Steps for Transatlantic Cooperation Post-NATO Summit,” with Czech Republic President Petr Pavel; Jan Jires, director general of defense policy and planning, Czech Defense Ministry; Karel Rehka, chief, general staff, Czech Armed Forces; former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs and former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Daniel Fried, fellow, Atlantic Council; and Valbona Zeneli, nonresident senior fellow, Atlantic Council

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