President Biden’s high-stakes address in Warsaw on Saturday was carefully written with the goal of rallying the whole United States behind its European friends while casting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as part of a worldwide “war between democracy and tyranny,” according to the White House.
Though President Vladimir V. Putin’s war was harshly criticised by certain leaders, it was an unprompted ad-lib that caught the attention of foreign policy experts, lawmakers, and friends in NATO.
President Obama’s planned address did not contain the phrase “for God’s sake, this guy cannot continue in power,” as President Joe Biden said. Two White House officials confirmed the president’s prepared statement did not include the phrase.
In spite of the fact that top administration officials spent much of Sunday trying to walk back Mr. Biden’s remarks, the statement had already sent shockwaves around the world, demonstrating just how powerful nine unprompted words from the president can be, especially during a time of international crisis.
Mr. Biden spent the majority of his speech summarising the sanctions his administration had imposed on Russia as well as its efforts to assist refugees, while asserting that, despite the fact that the United States would not send troops to Ukraine, it was prepared to defend NATO allies in that country. According to administration officials, Mr. Biden raised his voice when he warned Mr. Putin not to move “on one single inch” of NATO territory, a message of support for allies that was intended to be one of the main takeaways from the address. Mr. Biden also raised his voice when he warned Mr. Putin not to move “on one single inch” of NATO territory.
According to legislators, friends, and foreign policy experts, the speech had generally accomplished its intended aims up until Mr. Biden’s unplanned moment. However, Mr. Biden’s advisers were concerned that his unexpected statement might cause dissension among some of the president’s loyalists, whom the president was keen to maintain unity. The White House has made every effort to ensure that every action taken against Russia is in accordance with the wishes of European partners.
Taking the comment literally, it implied that the United States would be altering a policy of not pressing for regime change in the Middle East. After hearing the off-the-cuff remark, Mr. Biden’s team felt they had no option except to downplay its significance.
Mr. Biden’s address was attended by Michal Baranowski, a senior fellow and head of the German Marshall Fund’s Warsaw office, who admitted that the president’s statement may be seen as “a demand for regime change.” Mr. Biden’s speech was broadcast live on CNN. However, he believes that it is unlikely to result in further escalation with Russia.
Republican members of Congress, on the other hand, were concerned that the Kremlin, which has disseminated propaganda alleging that the United States is out to destroy Russia, would jump on the comment.
President Biden’s address was praised as “extremely forceful” by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who described it as “despite the ad-lib at the end.”
During an appearance with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said that the phrase “plays into the hands of Russian propagandists and plays into the hands of Vladimir Putin.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas stated that the unplanned remark had the potential to overshadow conversations about how to continue to support Ukraine in its struggle against Russia. Representative McCaul is the senior Republican on the committee.
The majority of the response on Sunday did not seem to have a substantial impact on the administration’s ties with partners who have supported the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia.
Nadhim Zahawi, the education minister for the United Kingdom, reiterated the White House’s explanation, saying he was certain that both the United States and the United Kingdom believed that the Russian people should have the right to chose how they desired to govern themselves.
And Julianne Smith, the United States’ ambassador to NATO, speculated that Mr. Biden’s remark was a response to the human toll of war that he had experienced during his three-day diplomatic visit to European countries. In light of the fact that President Biden had met refugees before to his address in Warsaw, she described his statements as “a principled human response.”