“My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.”

No that is not President Joseph R. Biden lapsing into another “senior moment”. The speaker was Ronald W. Reagan caught off-mic in 1984, four years into his Presidency.

Reagan’s remark was deeply unhelpful since at the time US-USSR relations were just starting to thaw out from the deep freeze of the Cold War. How different from today. Russia, the Soviet Union’s successor, is now engaged in a bloody and unprovoked invasion of a neighbouring state. In such circumstances, Biden’s supposed gaffe in Warsaw about Putin — “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power” — seems mild in comparison.