President Joe Biden published an op-ed in the New York Times Wednesday explaining his administration’s policy on whether it will seek to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin from power, according to Conservative Brief.
“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia,” Biden wrote. “As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow.”
“So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces,” he added.
The piece comes after Biden called Putin a “war criminal” and said in an emotional speech in Poland, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
Walking it back
Biden referring to Putin: “for god sake, this man cannot remain in power. ” pic.twitter.com/rYMogy5xeb
— Kevin Tober (@KevinTober94) March 26, 2022
Biden officials later walked back his statement, which suggested the U.S. was looking to remove Putin.
“The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the White House said.
Russia responded with indignation to Biden’s comments at the time.
“This is not to be decided by Mr. Biden. It should only be a choice of the people of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Making it worse
Politico pointed out that Biden’s comments could make the conflict in Ukraine worse because Putin may dig in his heels even more and refuse to negotiate for peace if he thinks the U.S. government is looking to oust him.
In a sense, it doesn’t even matter what Biden said, but what Putin heard in his comments that will determine his response.
“Putin heard loud and clear a call for regime change,” Russian-born former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler said.