The US understands the danger inherent in Mr Biden’s words

Anthony Zurcher, BBC:

Over the past week, US President Joe Biden has made a series of unscripted remarks that have upped the temperature of US-Russia relations to near boiling point.

However, his ad-libbed line at the end of what was billed as a “major speech” in Poland on Saturday – seemingly calling for President Vladimir Putin to be removed from power – may have landed the hardest.

The speed with which the US issued its “clarification” – later echoed by Mr Blinken – suggests the US understands the danger inherent in Mr Biden’s words.

Earlier in the day, the US president had called Mr Putin a “butcher”. Last week, he seemed to get ahead of his own administration’s diplomatic process by accusing the Russian leader of war crimes.

Idaho Republican Jim Risch, the senior Republican on the Senate foreign relations committee, called Mr Biden’s remarks a “horrendous gaffe”.

“My gosh, I wish they would keep him on script,” he said. “Any time you say or even, as he did, suggest that the policy was regime change, it’s going to cause a huge problem. This administration has done everything they can to stop escalating.”

I can’t recall when I read language laying out more clearly the existence of the US president as marionette, spokesman for policymakers rather than orchestrator of policy. This was very obviously the case during the George W. Bush and Reagan administrations, but I don’t remember reading media reporting it so clearly.

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