The NATO summit, which will commence on Tuesday, was initially planned to spotlight President Biden’s leadership in the trans-Atlantic alliance and contrast it with Donald Trump’s approach. Instead, it has become a significant test of his viability for a second term.

Demonstrating Leadership

A strong performance at this three-day gathering of NATO leaders could reinforce Biden’s candidacy by highlighting his support for the longstanding 75-year-old military alliance, which Trump often criticized. On the other hand, any errors similar to those seen in his recent debate with Trump could amplify calls for the 81-year-old president to step down from the presidential race.

High Stakes and Pressure

Rachel Rizzo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, emphasized the importance of this summit for Biden, noting, “He cannot afford any mistakes or missteps.” She pointed out that Biden’s frequent gaffes, which have become characteristic of his public persona, will now be closely watched by European leaders as indicators of his overall suitability.

Summit Agenda

The summit will begin with Biden’s address on Tuesday, followed by a full day of discussions and a Wednesday dinner at the White House for NATO leaders. The event will wrap up with a press conference on Thursday. Additionally, Biden will engage in bilateral meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and newly appointed British Prime Minister Keir Starmer.

This NATO summit is a critical juncture for Biden, where he must showcase steady leadership and competence on the global stage, proving his fitness for a second term.