Behind the headlines
Bumbling Biden is no match for Putin
Nobody knows whether Russia will actually invade Ukraine, says Dominic Green in the Daily Mail. But in a “mumbling, stumbling performance” at his first press conference since November, Joe Biden gave Vladimir Putin the green light to do so. If the Russians made only a “minor incursion”, he declared, America and her allies would “end up having a fight about what to do and not do”. In other words, Putin is “welcome to sink his teeth” into Ukraine – just as long as he doesn’t take too big a bite. This wasn’t an “unfortunate one-off”. Whenever the “gaffemeister-in-chief” pokes his head above the parapet, aides hang on his every ill-considered word, issuing “clarifications” of his addled thoughts in real time. Twice last year, Biden threatened to upset the “nuclear-tipped balance of power” in the Pacific by making unscripted commitments to defend Taiwan – in both cases leading to frantic backtracking by officials. The White House is in denial, but everyone can see the sad reality of a president in “obvious mental decline”.