Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

America can’t afford to be careless in the war of words against Russia

By Joel Mathis The Week

The Western world has a Goldilocks problem in Ukraine: It wants to support that country’s defense against Russia’s invasion, and to do it just the right amount. Too little help and Ukrainians might be left at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mercy; too much and there’s the risk of provoking a wider war in Europe. It’s tough to find the right balance, and the results can sometimes look absurd — why do NATO countries feel comfortable providing Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles, but not actual aircraft?

There’s a similar challenge with wartime rhetoric. It’s important for the United States and its allies to condemn Russia’s aggression, but to do so in carefully calibrated terms.

On Saturday, though, President Biden wasn’t so careful.

At the end of a 27-minute speech in Poland, during which he vowed both to provide a refuge to Ukrainians fleeing war and that American troops won’t be sent to fight in the war, Biden took aim at Putin with an ad-libbed, unscripted remark. “For God’s sake,” Biden said, “this man cannot remain in power.”

Oops.

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