Watch: Finnish President Embarrasses Biden Using Only 5 Words, Biden Laughs Uncomfortably
While opinions vary drastically regarding the extent to which the U.S. is obligated to police disruptions to the global order, it’s only natural that, as the strongest, wealthiest and most powerful nation that has ever existed, we have been thrust into the middle of the European response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
And, Lord help us, this means that President Joe Biden is overseeing the de-escalation efforts.
So when poor little Finland, which along with Sweden has opted to stay out of NATO and has historically remained a neutral party between Western Europe and Russia, was faced with the prospect of being forced to join the alliance in light of the situation in Ukraine, its leader was also faced with the prospect of meeting with Biden to discuss such a move.
This was a meeting that, naturally, led to one of Biden’s embarrassing diplomatic moments, which, at a time when Russia’s actions in Ukraine are being unfavorably (and perhaps not always fairly) compared to our own history of interventionism and invasion, amounted to a slight against our nation as a whole.
Now, I don’t know if Finnish President Sauli Niinistö meant to throw Biden and the nation he leads some serious shade. But regardless of his intentions, when he offered up what was perhaps an inadvertent jab at American military aggressions, Biden’s reaction was the truly humiliating part.
He simply opted to laugh heartily in the face of the implied insult.
Here’s the deal: Niinistö met with Biden March 4 at the White House to discuss Finland’s precarious situation given neighboring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The White House said in a statement that the two leaders “committed to start a process that would strengthen U.S.-Finnish security cooperation” and discussed NATO’s open-door policy allowing any nation willing to agree to the alliance’s values to join.
During their Oval Office meeting, Biden also noted that when he served in the Obama administration, the former president used to quip that “we’d be alright if we left everything to the Nordic countries.”
Right in front of the cameras, Niinistö cheekily noted, “Well, we usually don’t start wars.”
President Biden quotes President Obama during meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö:
Biden: “We’d be alright if we left everything to the Nordic countries.”
Niinistö: “We usually don’t start wars.” pic.twitter.com/enwHplH8Yh
— The Recount (@therecount) March 4, 2022
Again, we don’t know if the Finnish leader meant to slight his host, but either way, Biden’s awkward, gratuitous laughter in response suggested that he had no idea what to say.
It’s hard not to point out the contrast between Biden and his predecessor, who one imagines would have hit back with his own dry one-liner without batting an eye.
Of course, comparing Biden to former President Donald Trump in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfavorable to Biden in more ways than one. This is hardly the first time he’s managed to embarrass his country while meeting with world leaders.
There was the time he declared “I don’t want to go home” after spending about five minutes in the U.K. on his first presidential trip overseas, an enthusiasm for Europe that seems to have faded by his next visit to the realm for a climate conference in Scotland, during which he was caught napping and later shamelessly checked his watch as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave closing remarks.
When it was Johnson’s turn to visit the States, Biden told him a rambling story about his love of commuter trains — a story he’s told multiple times in the past that has been thoroughly debunked.
Then his handlers gave the two leaders about five seconds to field questions from reporters before shooing them away because, one can only imagine, the elderly president was all tuckered out from all the diplomacy and faulty reminiscing.
When it came time for Biden to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin — you know, the guy who seems to have waited to invade Ukraine until Biden was in office — our president had never looked worse.
He brought flashcards with him to the high-stakes summit.
Yeah, nothing says “I’m not afraid of you” like a leader showing up to a tense meeting with an antagonistic, thuggish counterpart armed with handy notecards so he doesn’t forget his talking points.
And now he’s laughing awkwardly as the leader of a nation that could be facing an existential crisis without our aid slyly jabs our history of interventionism — a history, by the way, that has saved countless lives and without which there might not even be a Finland if one considers the outcome of American interventionism before the Vietnam War.
Way to go, Biden. I’m sure you just made Putin’s day all over again.
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