Ukraine looms over Biden’s State of the Union speech

US President Joe Biden has presided over a resurgence of Western unity against Russia

President Joe Biden will try to reboot his US domestic fortunes Tuesday in a tense State of the Union speech delivered under the shadow of the spiraling confrontation against Russia over Ukraine.

The annual speech to the full session of Congress comes at a hard time for the 79-year-old Democrat.

Now, the dangerous crisis in Ukraine risks overwhelming the already burdened White House, while also perhaps offering Biden a way to recast the way Americans see him.

What seems clear is that Ukraine and Biden’s key role in uniting the West against President Vladimir Putin’s Russia will get a strong focus.

Now that the invasion has begun, Biden will likely paint himself in the State of the Union as a leader of the free world, reclaiming the traditional US role of marshalling the transatlantic alliance.

Yet a return to Cold War postures brings mounting risks — everything from rising fuel costs to jitters about nuclear weapons.

– Looking for positives –

On the economy — the issue that tends to decide elections — the Post-ABC poll found that 54 percent of Americans think things have got worse under Biden. Only 17 percent see improvement.

Job creation and GDP are strong, while inflation, Biden argues, will be temporary, as pandemic-related kinks in the global supply chain are sorted out.

And Biden does come with two strong cards.

Biden will also have an opportunity to pivot the country into an optimism-filled post-pandemic future, putting the long national coronavirus nightmare into the rearview mirror.

Biden recognized during a weekend YouTube interview the “phenomenal negative” impact of Covid on the US psyche. He said that for two years, Americans had faced the most basic, but painful, of questions: “How do you get up in the morning and feel happy?”


Originally published as Ukraine looms over Biden’s State of the Union speech

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