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Alarm and amusement at Biden’s performance as world reacts to debate with Trump

HONG KONG — The first presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump offered little reassurance for restive allies of the United States.

The two candidates have distinctly different ideas about how to tacklethe challenges of a world consumed by multiple wars, rising geopolitical tensions and doubts over America's commitment to its longtime partners.

That contrast was occasionally on show Thursday night, but it was Biden’s performance that dominated headlines.

The debate was watched around the world — by allies anxious about their future U.S. ties as well as autocratic governments seeking to rival the U.S.-led global order — and neither candidate appeared to impress.

“Personal attacks, hazy memory, mocking each other... this debate was very entertaining for many Chinese people,” Hu Xijin, a nationalist Chinese commentator, said in a post on X.

“Objectively speaking, the low-quality performance of these two old men was a negative advertisement for Western democracy.”

But the focus was mainly on Biden, whose shaky performance has already brought calls from inside his own party for him not to move forward with his campaign.

The prospect of Trump returning to the White House is alarming for many U.S. allies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, their ties with Washington having often been strained during his presidency.

The verdict of liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz was that "meandering Biden, pathological Trump" had offered a "sad night for America."

Germany's Der Spiegel headlined “The President crashes.” And British tabloid The Sun had just one word at the top of its website on Friday: “JOE-MATOSED.”

With his “low voice, rasping and meandering,” Biden “lost the chance to convince not only

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