What the Geneva summit revealed about Biden

Joe Biden arrives in Geneva June 15. (AP)

During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign, a number of observers expressed concern about Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities.

Foreign corespondent Patrick Lawrence wrote that President Biden’s performance at the Geneva summit meeting last week bears this out.

Geneva requires us to face a fact most of us have either flinched from, buried altogether, or noted in an offhand manner not devoid of mockery. 

The fact is this: We have a president who suffers some measure of senility and is in consequence incapable of fully executing his duties.  Geneva brought this home in the starkest of circumstances.


Flubs in press conferences, more malapropisms than you’ve had hot dinners, Biden’s failure to remember what the Declaration of Independence is called—“the, you know, you know, the thing”—are small stuff in the end, the stuff of the jokes.

An inability to conduct the affairs of state with a major world power is quite another. No room for ridicule or YouTube segments here. The matter is simply too grave.

Two highly consequential treaties—Open Skies and New START—tensions NATO provokes on Russia’s western flank, the Syria mess, the Ukraine mess, Russia’s hypersonic weaponry, Israel’s apparent intent to go for broke this time with the Palestinians, all the cyberbusiness—little to nothing got done in Geneva on any of these questions.

Given how thoroughly Biden’s people scripted his appearance, I am convinced this was intentional. Get out there and posture for the “folks” back home, Mr. Prez. We’ll take care of the substantive stuff later.


Netting this out, Secretary of State Blinken is charged with managing America’s international relations these next three and a half years. [snip]

Blinken is all bromides on Twitter, and how tone-deaf he proves to be: We’re here to protect the people of Venezuela? We defend “the rules-based international order” while the U.S. pirates Iranian ships in international waters and sells stolen oil in the open market?

Crocodile tears for Syrian children while Israel bombs Damascus nightly, the U.S. burns the nation’s wheat fields, and rather proudly blocks international reconstruction aid?  [snip]

The Biden administration did not have a foreign policy prior to the Geneva summit…[snip] Post–Geneva we are on notice that we will not have a foreign policy for the duration of Big Joe’s term.  

We will have a crew of Russophobes, Sinophobes, and what-have-you phobes, declared exceptionalists in all cases, looking backward rather than forward and making it up as they go along.  Something else to focus the mind, I would say.

It was the separate press conferences after the (truncated) summit that prompted me to think through this piece.

Putin fielded questions for nearly an hour, no notes, no choreography, international correspondents welcome.

Biden appeared for 11 minutes, no Russian correspondents allowed, all questions pre-screened, those called upon listed on one of the cue cards Biden depended upon throughout.

Cognitive decline is nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m 84 years old.  I don’t suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but I’m more absent-minded than when I was 74 or 64, and I find it harder to focus my attention.  I’ve resigned from various committee chairmanships in my church.

Joe Biden passed a dementia test.  So did I.  So did Donald Trump who, in my opinion, was temperamentally and morally as well as intellectually unit to be President.

Being President of the United States is a hard job.  Not just anyone is up to filling it. 

Is Biden?  Sadly, I don’t think so.


“Something happened in Geneva” by Patrick Lawrence for The Scrum.  Well worth reading in full.

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7 Responses to “What the Geneva summit revealed about Biden”

  1. Vincent Says:

    As a mere 79-year-old, I struggle with this kind of decline every day. One is fortunate to have few responsibilities, and loving support from all sides. A sense of humour is vital.

    I wonder whether America’s predicament today, as depicted above, is comparable with the presidential years of Ronald Reagan.

    In various countries—Ireland and France come to mind—the President is head of state, fashooned by law as a figurehead: neutral, above party politics. Like the British monarchy. I’ll say no more.


  2. silverapplequeen Says:

    I was forgetful when I was a kid! I’ve had to have lists FOREVER! If it isn’t written down, it doesn’t get done & that’s the way it’s always been with me!

    Ya know, our national press is a disgrace. This is such a non-story but they had to run with it anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. davidgmarkham Says:

    Is this trope about Biden’s alleged senility ageism?

    He has done a great job governing so far. 10 times better than Trump.

    Perhaps we could reframe the question and ask is there evidence for Biden’s competence and incompetence? Selection of staff and appointments to the cabinet and Federal government department heads is a major part of the job of any chief executive and he has surrounded himself with excellent people.

    I find these news articles about Biden’s senility disingenuous and full of innuendo and argumentum ad hominems.

    If Biden is unfit for office we need more evidence. What older folks lack in vigor and sharpness they make up for in wisdom and integrity.

    Joe Biden, like him or not, is what is called a wise elder and we are fortunate to have someone of his stature leading our country after the incompetence we have been subjected to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • marymtf Says:

      If you need more evidence you must be wearing blinkers. It’s August now and I’m wondering what you think about the inept way Biden and his careers, the Biden bunch, have handled the withdrawal.


  4. philebersole Says:

    I’m not impressed by Biden’s appointments—Antony Blinken in particular.



    Of course Blinken isn’t as bad as Mike Pompeo, but that’s a low bar.


  5. marymtf Says:

    Joe Biden spent 3 out of the 5 hours allocated to talks with Vladimir Putin, behind closed doors, then presented him with his trademark sunglasses. Biden turned his back on a journalist who managed to slip in an unscripted question. Once the world accepts the premise that Joe Biden is cognitively damaged you have to ask what on earth the woman closest to him could have been thinking. Why did she go along with the Democrat’s sinister plans? Now there’s the way Biden and his minders dealt with Afghanistan. Finally something the media can’t hide.


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