What's Really Behind Biden's Inflammatory 'Gaffe' Against Russian President Putin?
19:32 GMT 28.03.2022 (Updated: 14:17 GMT 15.11.2022)
Joe Biden's off-the-script remarks targeting Russia's President Vladimir Putin have put the world on edge, the US mainstream press has admitted. Following the US president's declaration that Putin "cannot remain in power," the Kremlin responded that it is obviously not up to Biden to decide.
"Clearly, the remarks are not one of diplomacy nor of respect for other nations, moreover they have the potential of further escalating an already highly dangerous situation and continue to test the boundaries of US-Russia relations," says Earl Rasmussen, executive vice president of Eurasia Group. "Yet, there are those in positions of influence that seek exactly what President Biden stated clearly. Why make such a statement in public?"
Joe Biden made a stunning statement on Saturday night at the end of what mainstream media called a "well-crafted" speech. "For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power," Biden said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. After the apparent gaffe, the White House jumped in to assure the press that the president was not calling for a regime change in Russia, while the US mainstream media pointed out that Biden had gone off the script.
"[Joe Biden] is skilled at raising money for elections and serving the interests of powerful corporations and the military complex. But I am not sure he is skilled otherwise," says investigative journalist Rick Sterling. "His minders have their hands full cleaning up the mess of confusion after each press conference where he runs off the prepared script. Isn't it clear he is very old and losing it? He accurately represents the US empire in decline."
Biden very much wants to appear to be tough on Russia, according to Pamela Geller, an American political activist, blogger, and editor-in-chief of the Geller Report. She notes that the US president "also is trying to counter the overall impression of weakness and impotence that his administration has conveyed."
"But it's all hollow, as the White House retractions and clarifications demonstrate," Geller remarks.
British and French officials have distanced themselves from Biden's controversial statements, with French President Emmanuel Macron warning the US against the use of inflammatory language in an already tense situation.
This wasn't the only aggressively hostile remark concerning Vladimir Putin and Russia muttered by the American commander-in-chief: earlier he called his Russian counterpart a "war criminal" and a "butcher." The Kremlin made it clear that the US president's claims are "absolutely inadmissible and inexcusable."
However, Rasmussen does not rule out that it was not just a "gaffe": "There may be a desire to test the reaction within Europe; to send a signal or threat to Russia; to influence the Russian public," he suggests. "When I heard such outlandish remarks it brought back memories of the “Assad must Go” campaign in Syria. Yes, the US foreign policy team was much the same."
Does Washington Want Peace in Ukraine?
The Biden administration is not pushing forward with any diplomatic solution and is not trying to de-escalate the situation, the observers point out. Instead, Washington is not only resorting to aggressive rhetoric but is also flooding Ukraine with weapons, according to them. While delivering his speech in Warsaw last Saturday the US president vowed to send more lethal arms to Ukraine, stressing that "this battle will not be won in days, or months either."
"This raises the serious question: Does the US want peace?" asks Rick Sterling. "Maybe the US foreign policy establishment wants a long war which will hurt Russia instead. When the military conflict is only a month old, why are they treating refugees like they will never go back home to Ukraine? Why is the US not talking about negotiations and settlement and ending the war? The US seems intent on ramping up the conflict and stoking more hostilities."
Moscow appears to be fully aware of the plans and desires of Joe Biden and his team, according to Rasmussen. Before launching the special operation to de-militarise and de-Nazify Ukraine under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the Russian leadership asked the West in mid-December 2021 to provide legal guarantees of NATO's non-expansion eastward and Ukraine's non-admission to NATO, among other issues. However, the US, NATO and the EU rejected Moscow's key proposals.
Right now the US foreign policy team is "panicking and extremely frustrated," Rasmussen says. According to the scholar, extensive censorship in Europe and in the US is caused by the fact that Western governments do not control the situation. He believes that their policies, including the bans on Russian energy, have been hasty and ill-thought-out amid galloping post-COVID inflation and soaring prices. The EU has become the biggest loser as a consequence of this policy, according to the observers.
"The US does not have European interests at heart nor do they have the interests of the US people at heart but rather only the interests of the political elite and their corporate sponsors and American oligarchs," says Rasmussen. "Some of these actions are driven by warped ideology and historic hatred with little realistic rational thought."
Having backed themselves into a corner, Western governments "may do something even worse such as a 'false flag' or intervention," he warns. "Such actions would rapidly see an escalation of the conflict and easily could pull Europe in completely," remarks the scholar.
Biden's Harsh Russia Rhetoric Can't Fix Domestic Problems
Biden is clearly trying to use Russia as a bogeyman to divert the American public's attention from snowballing domestic problems, according to Rasmussen. "Yet, while President Putin’s approval ratings are rising, President Biden’s seems to be continuing to fall," the scholar remarks.
Biden's approval rating has plummeted to 40%, as the latest Reuters poll has found. At the same time, according to the latest NBC News survey, 7 in 10 Americans expressed low confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to deal with Russia's special operation in Ukraine.
Moreover, many US residents are starting to feel the pain of the sanctions against Russia, says Rick Sterling.
"Gas prices have soared," the investigative journalist says. "Every time you fill your car gas tank you see it. US citizens are now paying for a ridiculously high 'defense' budget - higher than the next eight countries combined - plus the cost of economic war on Russia plus hundreds of millions in weapons to Ukraine plus the costs associated with refugees. All this so neocons can control Ukraine to make it an anti-Russia tool with the Ukrainian people as expendable pawns? Who benefits?"
What's more, this situation will only get worse since "Russia is a vital component not just for markets but in the global supply chain impacting almost every element that touches our lives," according to Rasmussen.
"The Washington elite in their [effort] to protect borders halfway around the world and a democracy that they themselves destroyed in a coup in 2014 seem to have missed assessing the impact of their insane actions," he says. "Let’s hope they do not continue us down such a dangerous path. Unfortunately, my eternal optimism is fading."