President Joe Biden said Monday that he would make “no apologies” and would not “walk anything back” after saying over the weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot continue in power,” hoping to put the issue surrounding his recent trip to Europe behind him.
The president also stated that he is not advocating for a change of government in Moscow, which would have signaled a significant move toward direct conflict with another nuclear-armed country.
Biden stated, “I was expressing the moral fury that I felt about this individual.” “I wasn’t advocating for a policy shift.”
The president’s striking comment about Putin, made at the close of a Saturday address in Warsaw designed to mobilize democracies for a protracted global fight against tyranny, prompted condemnation in the US and alarmed some Western European allies.
Biden’s statements Monday, according to Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, were “an effective method for the president to get beyond what was an unforced error.” Initially, Haass was afraid that hostile American language may “make Putin feel that he had little to lose by hanging tight or perhaps escalating.”
Biden dismissed the notion that his remark would inflame tensions over Ukraine’s conflict or fuel Russian propaganda about Western aggression.
“No one believes…,” says the narrator. “The last thing I want to do is engage in a land war or a nuclear war with Russia,” Biden said, adding, “the last thing I want to do is engage in a land war or a nuclear war with Russia.”
He said he was expressing a “aspiration” rather than a foreign policy goal for the United States.
“People like these should not be in positions of power.” “However,” he said, “they do.” “Just because they do doesn’t mean I can’t voice my displeasure.”
Despite the White House’s quick attempts to clarify that Biden simply meant that Putin “must be allowed to wield influence over his neighbors or the region,” Biden’s statement in Warsaw reverberated throughout the world.
“We need de-escalation,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in response to Biden’s remarks on Monday. We require both military and rhetorical de-escalation.”
Despite the fact that Biden has regularly emphasized American cooperation with European partners since the war of Ukraine began, he appeared to have irritated Putin in Warsaw.
“I would not use those phrases,” French President Emanuel Macron stated on Sunday, “because I continue to engage with President Putin, because what do we want to accomplish collectively?” We want to put an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine without launching war or escalating the conflict.”
During a tour to the Middle East, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was compelled to continue explaining Biden’s remarks, despite the fact that he had wanted to focus on strengthening American ties as the administration seeks a fresh nuclear deal with Iran.
Blinken claimed Biden meant that “Putin cannot be authorized to conduct war or act in aggression against Ukraine or anybody else” at a press conference in Jerusalem.
Biden has gone farther than expected in his criticism of Putin, referring to him as a “war criminal” at a time when administration officials said they were still investigating the situation.
Biden was “speaking from the heart” rather than expressing a legal judgment, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Republicans questioned why Biden deviated from the script in Warsaw when confronted with a volatile situation.
Some questioned his strong language in light of his cautious conduct, such as his refusal to enable the deployment of Polish fighter planes to the Ukrainian military.
“How is this any different if we’re so afraid of offending him that we can’t even deploy MiGs into Ukraine?” On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said. “In fact, I would argue that deploying MiGs into Ukraine is more inflammatory.”
The United States has been pushing weaponry into Ukraine, including anti-tank missiles, and is considering delivering anti-ship missiles to make it more difficult for Russia to launch an amphibious assault along the Black Sea coast.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine continues to be frustrated by the slow pace of military support, accusing Western leaders of cowardice and reiterating his desire for tanks and fighter planes.