No one has ever accused Joe Biden of being a wordsmith. Even in his most mentally robust days in the Senate he was known as a fibbing gaffe machine. When he was a minor politician from a minor state (sorry Delaware) you found his invented stories either funny or irritating, mostly depending on which side of the aisle you were on. The stakes were low, and so was the media coverage.
By some Forrest Gumpian miracle of the universe Joe Biden is now the 46th President of the United States. When he talks now, the entire world listens and acts accordingly. The only problem is the stakes have never been higher.
Ukraine is currently in a shooting war with Russia. Politicians on both sides have gotten extremely hawkish about having NATO join the fray, somehow forgetting that Putin has access to nuclear weapons and a doomsday machine torpedo. It is in the best interest of the United States to make sure our messaging is clear about our intentions.
Enter Joe Biden, gaffe machine. When he was visiting our troops in Poland, he told them they would be going to Ukraine. He also said that if Russia used chemical weapons we would respond in ‘kind.’ Finally, he said that Putin cannot remain in power. All of this in one week and none of it is the official policy of the United States.
The comms team at the White House has been trying to clean up the mess but Ole Joe is not having any of it.
So, what does Putin do with Biden where all three of the statements could be interpreted as existential threats to him? The statements add weight to the argument of Putin striking first if he feels the threats are real. The element of surprise is a powerful one in war. If you know you are going to have to fight someone anyway, you might as well get in the first shot. President Biden’s inability to stay on message is not just irritating anymore, it could end up being deadly to a lot of Americans.