The Wall Street Journal argues that Biden needs new advisers and help from Congress

More or less the whole world — including his own advisers on background —has criticized President Biden for his latest gaffe in saying in his Warsaw speech on Saturday that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” There’s no need to pile on. And someone should say that Mr. Biden’s unscripted remark did have the virtue of telling the truth that the problem in Russia won’t end even if Mr. Putin orders his troops out of Ukraine.

Mr. Biden’s remark, even after its repudiation on Sunday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, may well make it harder to negotiate with Mr. Putin over Ukraine or anything else. And Mr. Biden’s habit of misstating his own policies— no fewer than three times during his European trip — is especially dangerous amid an international crisis.

Then again, the same critics who are lambasting Mr. Biden helped to hide his obviously fading capacities in the 2020 campaign. They circled the wagons around his Delaware basement because they thought he was the only Democrat who could defeat Donald Trump.

The reality is that we have to live with Mr. Biden for three more years as President. And please stop writing letters imploring us to demand that Mr. Biden resign. Do you really want Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office? She was chosen as a bow to identity politics to unite the Democratic Party in the election campaign, not for her ability to fill the President’s shoes. In the last 14 months she has failed to demonstrate even the minimum knowledge or capacity for the job. We are fated to make the best of the President we have.

In that regard, Members of Congress of both parties will have to play a more assertive role, and the good news is that they have been doing so to good effect on Ukraine. Congress has stiffened Mr. Biden’s resolve on sanctions and military aid. The pattern is that the White House resists a tougher policy until it faces a defeat or difficult vote on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan coalitions of the willing will be even more important as the war continues, and threats from Iran, China and North Korea escalate.

As we’ve argued, Mr. Biden would also be wise to bring some high-profile conservatives and Republicans into his Administration. In 1940, as the prospect of world war approached, FDR brought in experienced GOP internationalists Henry Stimson as Secretary of War and Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy. They built credibility with the public and on Capitol Hill for the hard choices to come.

Harry Truman worked with GOP Sen. Arthur Vandenberg to build support for NATO at the dawn of the Cold War. Jimmy Carter at least had the hawkish Zbigniew Brzezinski as his national security adviser when the Soviets tried to exploit Mr. Carter’s weakness.

Mr. Blinken has shown impressive energy as Secretary of State, and he was right in advising Mr. Biden not to withdraw in toto from Afghanistan. But Mr. Biden desperately needs to diversify the advice he gets beyond the liberal internationalists who dominate his councils. Susan Rice, Ron Klain and Jake Sullivan have the Afghan failure on their resumes.

Better advice is needed because Mr. Biden is right that the Russia problem won’t go away as long as Mr. Putin sits in the Kremlin. This doesn’t mean open advocacy of regime change is wise. Russians will have to decide if Mr. Putin must go.

But Mr. Biden’s muscular assertions in the written text of his Warsaw speech need to be supported by more than rhetoric. The U.S. and the West need to urgently restore and strengthen the credibility of their military and diplomatic deterrents. More hawkish advisers would send a more determined signal to the world — and especially to adversaries.

The world is entering the most dangerous period since the Soviet Union collapsed, and perhaps since the 1930s. The COVID crisis obscured the trend, but the dangers have become obvious as adversaries have reacted to what they perceive to be the American decline, division and weakness at the root of the Afghanistan debacle. Mr. Biden needs to back up his Warsaw words with a defense buildup and far more diplomatic realism to confront the great risks ahead.

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