A. J. Kaufman
A. J. Kaufmancourtesy

When U.S. President Joe Biden concluded his March 26 speech in Poland with a now-famously ad-libbed statement about Vladimir Putin — “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power!” — pundits said he was guilty of a gaffe that could lead to World War III.

White House staffers rushed to walk the president’s words back, assuring everyone that the United States will not pursue any regime change in Russia.

Biden’s nine perfunctory words — at the conclusion of an emotional speech analogizing the current fight against Russian aggression to the Cold War — were straightforward. It was his amateurish staff that erred by insisting he didn’t mean it. Putin is a despicable war criminal who bombs hospitals and sends innocent civilians to mass graves. Who wants him to remain in power?

Commentary Magazine’s Noah Rothman, with whom I usually agree, did not like the president’s statement.

“It was throat-clearing that could only further destabilize the situation in Eastern Europe, as evidenced by an administration-wide to clean up after the president’s intemperate remark,” he wrote last week. “While it’s sometimes welcome, it is not the president’s job to be a beacon of moral clarity. His role is to establish America’s national interests in as discrete a manner as possible and behave in ways that advance those objectives. Time and again throughout this crisis, Biden has let his mouth get in the way of that imperative.”

While a president’s words absolutely matter, did Biden’s unscripted comments matter that much or lead us down a dangerous path?

His suggestion of regime change isn’t likely to affect Putin’s ignoble efforts. When the rogue Russian justified his country’s unprovoked Ukrainian invasion, he accused the U.S. and others of trying “to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us.”

Putin surely doesn’t need any reason to pursue evil actions.

Ironically, it’s Democrats who more often complain about Republican presidents’ rhetoric on the global stage — from President Ronald Reagan’s dubbing the Soviet Union an “evil empire”; to George W. Bush rightly calling Iraq, Iran, and North Korea an “axis of evil”; to the many controversial provocations from Donald Trump.

Biden and Putin won’t be talking amicably ala Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev or Trump and Chinese Chairman Xi, but that’s because of Putin’s abhorrent actions, not Biden’s Warsaw utterance.

Team Biden has somehow unified most Democrats and Republicans, and members of the NATO alliance, in providing critical military aid to Ukraine — without entangling any nation directly in military conflict or placing boots on the ground.

With the exception of an ignominious new congressman and a few populist cable news hosts, Republicans are united in supporting the Ukrainian resistance. That mostly means sending weapons systems and proper training.

Yet the American public still does not credit Biden with leadership on Ukraine.

Maybe it’s because they don’t believe his heart or his party are in the fight. The far left has shown no interest in combating Putin.

Maybe that’s also because five weeks ago, Biden delivered a State of the Union address that began with a rousing defense of Ukraine and democracy, but the bulk of his one-hour speech was an laundry list of nonsensical progressive policy wishes that most Americans don’t want.

They, along with much of the civilized world, want a focus on the economy, national security endeavors, and yes, maybe even some regime change.

A.J. Kaufman is a senior columnist with Alpha News. He taught school and served as a military historian before beginning his journalism career, where his writing has since appeared in numerous print and digital outlets. The author of three books, he also contributes to Israel National News, The Lid, and is a frequent guest on various radio programs and podcasts. A.J. currently resides in the Upper Midwest.