Navigating the complex waters of international diplomacy requires finesse, a thorough understanding of foreign cultures, and at the very least, a solid grip on the names of our allies. Unfortunately, during his recent Asian tour, President Joe Biden seemed to stumble on this most basic prerequisite.
In a regrettable turn of events on the final day of his tour, President Biden misaddressed the South Korean leader as “President Loon”, a noticeable deviation from his actual name, President Yoon. Although the official White House transcript attempted to smooth over this blunder, the mistake, one among a series made during the trip, had already been committed.
During his address, President Biden confidently stated, “I’ve spoken at length with President Loon [Yoon] of South Korea. He came to Washington of late.” Following this, he embarked on a convoluted explanation of a rather sensitive policy subject.
“We’re all of the same agreement that we’re not going to — we’re maintaining — the One China policy,” the President attempted to clarify. This international policy, often overlooked by the public, dictates that neither China nor Taiwan can independently declare their intentions without a mutually agreed upon outcome.
In yet another awkward misstep, President Biden repeatedly referred to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as “president”. The mix-up was once again adjusted in the White House’s official transcript, but the mistake was clear.
Over the weekend, the Republican National Committee amplified the President’s confusing rhetoric by posting a clip on Twitter with the caption, “In all seriousness — what is Biden talking about?”
The transcript highlighted further instances where President Biden misspoke regarding important economic figures, mistakenly citing the wrong amounts when discussing the deficit.
In his discourse, he said, “And there’s a lot of other — for example, the idea that we’re — in terms of taxes — that they refuse to — for example, we — I was able to balance the budget and pass everything from the global warming bill — anyway, I was able to cut, by $1.7 billion [trillion] in the first two years, the deficit that we were — were accumulating.”
There were other instances throughout the trip where President Biden appeared momentarily disoriented or unsure of his surroundings, further casting doubt on his ability to navigate the complex and challenging world of international diplomacy.
Recent polls reflect the growing public sentiment about President Biden’s fitness for the job. In a Washington Post/ABC poll conducted earlier this month, 68 percent of the respondents reportedly said Biden is too old to run for president in 2024.
Mistakes are human, but when they occur on the global stage, they can have significant implications. As the President’s Asian tour demonstrated, precision in speech, especially in the realm of international diplomacy, is not an option — it’s a necessity.