The White House was thrown into a panic and subjected to scolding from world leaders after President Biden got carried away with his remarks on the war in Ukraine during his Poland trip and announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to be removed from power. Biden was clearly suggesting a forced regime change in Russia, but White House staff raced to reassure Americans and American allies, as well as the Kremlin, that the president hadn’t meant what he said.
White House denies regime change plans
Biden was previously willing to emphasize that anything which might start world war three is a bad idea right now; he evidently forgot that principle in Poland.
After a bizarre meeting with American troops in Poland in which the president discussed what they would see in Ukraine (where he has said they will not be going) Biden went off script again with disastrous results.
The president got carried away while discussing the invasion and exclaimed “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” speaking of Putin.
He obviously was not meant to say this, as the White House was almost immediately racing to reverse the damage and tell the world that he had actually meant something else entirely.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken argued that Biden actually meant that Putin “cannot be empowered to wage war” and that the United States does not currently have a strategy of regime change anywhere.
The remark wasn’t quite as egregious as Lindsey Graham openly calling for Putin’s assassination, but the entire world is closely watching what the president says, and most of the world recognized this as a disaster.
World leaders cringe after Biden gets carried away
As French President Emmanuel Macron pointed out, the remark will make diplomacy with Russia more difficult and it risks escalating tensions between Russia and NATO even farther.
Biden’s speech is especially headache-inducing for Macron, who has been in regular contact with Putin and serves as an intermediary between the Russian president and other Western leaders.
Russia reacted much as it did when Biden publicly described Putin as a “war criminal.” The Kremlin said that “personal insults” are making diplomatic relations with the United States more difficult.
Concern about personal insults did not, however, stop the Kremlin from again suggesting that Biden is simply a befuddled old man who lost his temper. Moscow has largely treated Biden as an object of ridicule rather than taking his comments seriously.
Regardless of how the speech was received by Putin, it offers Russia an enormous propaganda opportunity to raise public support for the war in Ukraine.
Russia can now claim to be defending itself from an American regime change campaign that is trying to overthrow its government. This is a refrain that will be well received in parts of the world where bitterness about American-led regime change operations is still widespread.