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Putin Must Go: Now Is the Time For Regime Change in Russia

Russia
Vladimir Putin 2017 New Year Address to the Nation.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” President Biden said of Vladimir Putin in March, a month after Russia’s second unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, in remarks the Washington Post called “the most defiant and aggressive speech about Russia by an American president since Ronald Reagan.”  Biden’s staff, however, immediately backpedaled, saying, “the president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia or regime change.” Later, Biden himself dutifully resiled from regime change.

Why the angst? There is no long-term prospect for peace and security in Europe without regime change in Russia. Russians are already discussing it, quietly, for obvious reasons. For the United States and others pretending that the issue is not before will do far more harm than good.

Notwithstanding recent Kyiv’s military advances, the West still lacks a shared definition of “victory” in Ukraine. Last week, Putin “annexed” four Ukrainian oblasts, joining Crimea, “annexed” in 2014.  The war grinds on, producing high Russian casualties and economic pain. Opposition to Putin is rising, and young men are fleeing the country. Of course, Kyiv’s civilian and military casualties are also high, and its physical destruction is enormous. Hoping to intimidate NATO, Moscow is again rhetorically brandishing nuclear weapons, and has sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines. Europe worries about the coming winter, and everyone worries about the durability of Europe’s resolve. No one predicts a near-term cease-fire or substantive war-ending negotiations, or how to conduct “normal” relations with Putin’s regime thereafter.

To avoid the war simply grinding along indefinitely, we must alter today’s calculus. Carefully assisting Russian dissidents to pursue regime change might just be the answer. Russia is, obviously, a nuclear power, but that is no more an argument against seeking regime change than against assisting Ukrainian self-defense. White House virtue signaling already empowers the Kremlin, accusing us of “satanism,” to claim America is trying to overthrow Russia’s government even though Biden is doing no such thing.  Just to remind, the Kremlin has been doing this to us for many decades. Since we are already accused of subverting the Kremlin, why not return the favor? 

Obstacles and uncertainties blocking Russian regime change are substantial, but not insuperable. Defining the “change” is critical, because it must involve far more than simply replacing Putin.  Among his inner circle, several potential successors would be worse. The problem is not one man, but the collective leadership constructed over the last two decades. No civilian governmental structure exists to effect change, not even a Politburo like the one that retired Nikita Khrushchev after the Cuban missile crisis. The whole regime must go.

Actually effecting regime change is doubtless the hardest problem, but it does not require foreign military forces. The key is for Russians themselves to exacerbate divisions among those with real authority, the siloviki, the “men of power.” Disagreements and animosities already exist, as in all authoritarian regimes, exploitable as dissidents set their minds to it.  Boris Yeltsin standing on a tank outside the Russian White House in 1991 evidenced the fracturing of the Soviet ruling class. Once regime coherence and solidarity shatter, change is possible.

Inside Russia’s military, intelligence, and internal security ministries, there is almost certainly shock, anger, embarrassment, and despair about Moscow’s performance before and during the current invasion of Ukraine. As in many coups in third-world countries, the likely leadership for regime change will not come from the top flag officers and officials, who are too personally invested in the Putin regime, nor from the ranks of enlisted personnel or lower-level bureaucrats. It is from the colonels and one-star generals, and their civilian-agency equivalents, where the most-likely co-conspirators to take matters into their own hands. These are the decision-makers whom the dissidents must identify, persuade and support to facilitate regime change. Obviously, the desired interim outcome is not an outright military government, but a transitional authority that can hold the ring while a new constitution is formed. This stage alone is very risky business, but unavoidable given Russia’s current domestic political structures.

Outsiders can assist in many ways, including augmenting dissidents’ communications internally and with their diaspora, and significantly enhanced programs to transmit information into Russia (complicated by the long decline in US information-statecraft capabilities). Financial support, especially given Russian economic conditions, and not necessarily in large amounts, can also be critical. What Washington says publicly about regime-change should be concerted with the dissidents and other foreign allies.  Keeping our actions covert may be impossible, but there is likely no need to ballyhoo them.

Some will object that foreign involvement would compromise the dissidents, affording Putin propaganda openings.  The short answer is that he is already making this point, and will continue, whatever we say or do. Our metric should be whether the dissidents themselves value outside help.  Most likely, their cost-benefit analysis will welcome the assistance more than they fear Putin’s anti-American rhetoric. Russians have heard it all before. 

What follows the Putin regime is ultimately the most critical question. Russians are already considering their options, as they should, since it is primarily their task to form a successor government. Enough mistakes were made after the Soviet Union dissolved that humility in future planning this round is fully warranted, and highlights why immediate research and planning is necessary. 

Ukraine Russia Putin

President Putin watches the Zapad 2021 joint strategic exercises of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

Washington’s obvious strategic objective is having Russia aligned with the West, a fit candidate for NATO, as we hoped after the Soviet Union’s breakup. Others may be unhappy about such a new Russia. China can hardly welcome the collapse of a regime that is turning into Beijing’s junior partner, if not an outright satellite. Chinese efforts to support Putin, even militarily, cannot be ruled out.

While Russian regime change may be daunting, America’s goal of a peaceful and secure Europe, episodically pursued goal for over a century, remains central to our national interests. This is no time to be shy.

Ambassador John R. Bolton served as national security adviser under President Donald J. Trump. He is the author of “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” You can follow him on Twitter: @AmbJohnBolton.

Written By

Ambassador John R. Bolton served as national security adviser under President Donald J. Trump. He is the author of “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” You can follow him on Twitter: @AmbJohnBolton.

65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. 403Forbidden

    October 4, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    It’s not Putin who has to go, but Biden.

    Biden is ailing, suffers serious dementia & rapid cognitive decline due to his advanced age and has NO BUSINESS having his finger on the button.

    Putin instead has walked the talk and taken NATO and it’s minions to the washroom.

    Very soon, Putin will use nukes against them now that Russia’s upper house has fully approved accession of luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson & zaporizhzhia into Russia federation.

    Putin has done his job and his homework properly whereas Biden has recklessly AND WITHOUT Congressional approval poured billions into Ukraine to pursue a personal war against Putin while ordinary folks have to put up with mindlessly galloping inflation.

    Once Putin hurls a coupla nukes on biden’s ukros, joe Biden will have to make agonizing decision – hurl nukes at Putin ?

    Biden can’t afford nuke war with Putin unless he dares to whack china at the same time because after US nuke exchange with Russia, china would become global top dog.

    But a nuke strike on china would likely also destroy US minions like Japan & Australia as Beijing hits back and it will mean all out ww3, thanks to Biden.

    Thus Biden is being squeezed into a tight corner and therefore Biden has to go.

    Biden must go to save the world from ww3 and galloping or runaway inflation.

  2. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    October 4, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    While I agree that the only way to avoid an all-out war is for Putin to be replaced/eliminated in a coup, the $64 question is how ironclad is Putin’s grip on Parliament and the military? He’s spent years eradicating his enemies and consolidating power and I doubt much happens in high circles that he is not aware of.
    Frankly, I’d settle for a good ‘ol fashioned assassination…

  3. Steven

    October 4, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    You live in a fantasy world, Bolton.

  4. Steven

    October 4, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    403 you’re a moron.

  5. Jim

    October 4, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    No surprise, here.

    Regime change.

    (Perhaps the goal all along.)

    Push all your chips out to the center of the table.

    That instantly raises the stakes… high volume.

    Is that what the American People signed up for?

    Were Americans told at the start of this operation about such lofty goals?

    Or were we walked into this, step by step, by people in positions of power?

    Don’t tell what your goals are at the start… then gradually reveal them (Well, this opinion piece is a clear declaration…grand reveal… if you will… like the “Grand Chessboard” 1997 by Brzezinski).

    Sadly, this is nothing new, these ideas have been circulating for a long time.

    Circumstances have changed since Brzezinski’s book came out… Russia is in far better shape than envisioned in the book, China is far from being on our side, as envisioned in the book.

    This is not the time or the place…

    For another regime Change…operation… haven’t we had enough of that already?

  6. Tamerlane

    October 4, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Neutered/Bolton. As was said of the Bourbons after their post-Napoleonic restoration, you two have forgotten nothing from the past 50 years, and have learned nothing from it either.

    You really are advocating for a regime change war against the foremost nuclear power in the world—one which spans 11 time zones, and one which will consolidate tremendous international support the moment such a Liz Cheney style “war to impose (pro-American) democracy” is announced? Already, the large majority of the world has not joined America’s purported “war to end aggressive wars”. Can you not even attempt to consider the consequences of your mind-numbing hubris?

    You going to go? I went on a couple of the last “regime change” wars of choice you neoconservatives/liberal interventionists sent us on, and they were lost. You cannot transplant a vision by force into another person or country (sans total war and boots on the ground occupation). The reason Hayek won the Nobel prize in economics is the same reason Petraeus’s counter-insurgency/nation building “strategy” is doomed to fail—central planners cannot calculate. That is why gov’t command and control domestically (socialism, fascism or its more virulent cousin communism) fails, inevitably. It cannot be efficient. Identical too, is the hubristic “regime change” wars which only cause greater dislocation and disorder. Is your goal truly the literal unification of the rest of the world against the United States? You surely could not design a strategy more likely to result in this if you tried, than the one you cheer here.

    If Putin were overthrown or died, his replacement would almost surely be even more of a hard liner on the issue of Ukraine, an existential matter for Russia. Russians are already aware that Biden has the United States in an unconstitutionally undeclared war with Russia, and their interests and very survival as a power lie in prevailing against Ukraine and restoring a buffer state to their west.

    How someone like Bolton, who has been consistently wrong on every major issue for his entire career, and who has crowed with the greatest chickenhawks for war and extreme bellicosity with every breath of life, even able to publish and be taken with even a modicum of seriousness?

  7. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    October 4, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    As usual, Putin’s lapdog 403Forbidden weighs in with his anti-West fantasies (although he’s correct about Dementia Joe).
    Putin’s Russia is a dysfunctional, rudderless mess with a third-world military and a huge store of nuclear weapons – a dumb and dangerous combination.
    Hopefully, there are still intelligent heads in Moscow that recognize what a danger Putin is to the world at large, not just Russia. Let’s pray they eliminate this raving lunatic before he destroys the world.

  8. Tamerlane

    October 4, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    “Washington’s obvious strategic objective is having Russia aligned with the West”

    Literally, absolutely nothing could be further from the truth Mr. Bolton. United States policy from the fall of the Soviet Union has been to discount every legitimate interest Russia has expressed, and to demonstrate to the Russians that might makes right, and that the weak must bow to the strong without consideration. This was your chosen bellicose position regarding non-belligerents not posing any threat to the United States—like Yugoslavia (Kosovo), your position regarding NATO’s 2011 attack on Libya, and of course the disastrous American attack on Iraq in 2003 to compel regime change. You of all people are well aware that Russian elites, those you suggest who would form any prospective new government shorn of any Putinistas, are almost unanimous in their perspective of the absolute existential threat to them of Ukraine entering NATO. This past winter, you rebuffed efforts to forestall this war, opposing a treaty guarantee to Russia of Ukraine’s neutrality—or even of Russia and Ukraine both being admitted to NATO simultaneously or not at all, and opposing federalist autonomy for Ukrainian provinces.

    It must take some serious gall to argue so mendaciously? Eh?

  9. CRS, DrPH

    October 4, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks, John, for pointing out the obvious as always. In case you don’t remember, the US does not openly advocate for regime change as a policy. If it fortuitously happens, so be it….however, it is a wise President who keeps his mouth shut (unlike your idiot master Trump) and works behind the scenes. I had really hoped we were done hearing from you, but I guess, like a bad case of diarrhea, you just keep on coming back.

  10. 403 gives Vlad hickies

    October 4, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    403,

    You have a tendency to snivel more than Vlad. It’s amusing you think your propaganda/drivel influences anyone. Are you embarrassed by the lack of sophistication and poor condition of the weapons Vlad has fielded? You gotta love corruption. At least you’ve got air superiority!

    Your concern for Biden is really quite touching…does it make you angry he is sending more HIMARS to kill the hapless thugs, rapists and looters? ATACMS, with a 300 km range, may be coming to a losing battle near you soon. Crimea is a clear goal. The Russian army is on the verge of total collapse and you don’t seem to be situationally aware of their condition. Vlad has been telegraphing his own terror of losing.

    403, I hope you realize the vast wasteland called Russia is soon to become China’s bitch. You may have to learn Mandarin to keep your job.

    BTW, would it be possible for you to issue bodybags to your soldiers?

  11. Goran

    October 4, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    It has to be people from his inner circle, everything else leads to civil war and possibly wiping out Russia’s organic capacity for change. Attempts like that can’t be done two Thursdays apart and in case of failure, we’d end up with North Korea on steroids without another window of opportunity for a decade or so. It should be obvious by now that the guy is not destined for greatness, including to those around him, or perhaps, especially to those around him. Let’s get those phones working, let’s not start a civil war in Russia.

  12. Serhio

    October 5, 2022 at 12:37 am

    1) Why does it not occur to anyone who talks about Putin’s overthrow that a much more inconvenient person can take his place? Compared to some Russian politicians, Putin is a great humanist, a model of patience and humanity.
    2) Even if the “democratic litter” tries to change the government, they don’t have enough fools who can be taken out into the street right now. It was Putin’s opponents who first fled to neighboring countries after the outbreak of the conflict and mobilization. Those who remained support Putin.

  13. pagar

    October 5, 2022 at 1:17 am

    Heh, heh, Mr Bolton.

    Putin, thanks to shortsightedness of Biden and stoltenberg, has USA and china in a pretty pickle.

    The two masters of unrestrained globalism are now in a bind, thanks a true lot to Joe Biden and democrat party.

    By incessantly dogbarking at Russia’s front doorstep, and sneering at Putin, Biden and his loyal sidekicks put into motion Putin’s Feb 24 2022 denazification “special operation.”

    Now, ukros neo-nazis are stumbling into a trap set by Putin. He now can strike 2 birds with one stone (nuke stone that is) !

    By wiping out ukros with nukes, Putin at same time can force US and china into a nuke exchange. Heh, heh, Putin is truly real smart.

    Putin, who survived the most harrowing of days under totally crazy Boris yeltsin, now is in full control.Control over his enemies.

  14. Begemot

    October 5, 2022 at 2:08 am

    Says Bolton: “Russians are already discussing it [regime change], quietly, for obvious reasons.”

    And the evidence for this is? Nothing is presented. Just assertions by Bolton. Why should we believe Bolton?

    Another problem with a regime change in Russia is what/who replaces Putin may be worse, from your point of view, than Putin. Be careful what you wish for.

  15. Elyras

    October 5, 2022 at 4:21 am

    John Bolton the warmonger POS needs to go w. Biden adm.

  16. TheDon

    October 5, 2022 at 4:51 am

    Nuclear exchange will devistate both countries. Based on current readiness, it is doubtful many russian missiles will make it or go off. The US systems are kept up on maintenence.
    Unfortunately a few nuclear missiles is a devastating loss of life.
    Theres the real possibility Russia or the US will no longer exist as a country and join the history books as many other great empires have.

    Its a bad position for Biden and Putin. Putins real strategy appears to focus on cold winter. His 300,000 is to buy time, slowing advance. Lives are unimportant to his goal.

    Time will tell, but Russians and Ukrainians and the world lose with this war.
    The Orthodox Church also stands to be another casualty of this war. Orthodoxy in Ukraine & Russia are the heart of a region which will be impacted. Krill should be thinking about his misguided support.

  17. abraham lincoln

    October 5, 2022 at 9:50 am

    I see that Putin’s lackeys saw this article and went ballistic and are commenting like crazy. In the last few days, they had shut up and stopped posting because the Russians were getting their rear ends whipped. But now they are back, pretending to be Americans and pretending to be conservatives. They are not. They are just Putin loving weirdos, probably paid by the Kremlin to come here and bash John Bolton, who they have always hated for being against Putin.

    Let’s face it. Now that Putin has basically said he is ready to destroy all of Russia in a nuclear war, and to try to attack the West with nuclear weapons for supporting Ukraine, the only rational thing to do is kill Putin. Putin is willing to fight to the very last Russian life to try to pull out a victory in Ukraine, even if that victory leaves every Russian dead and the entire country of Russia a smoking nuclear ruin. Obviously, the man needs to be eliminated, so that both Russia and Ukraine can live. He has now crossed a line – he seems to want nuclear war. It’s time to stop him before he can give the orders that will destroy his country, forever.

  18. Bender

    October 5, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Beware: 403Forbidden is a paid russian troll.
    There are a couple of paid trolls commenting on this site, and sometimes they change name.

  19. Bender

    October 5, 2022 at 9:56 am

    This is no time to be shy indeed!

    Good article, thanks.

  20. Goran

    October 5, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Tamerlane, stop peddling that crap about Ukraine’s sovereignty being an existential threat to Russia, it is wrong on so many levels and is an untenable position as it’s based on subjective interpretations (for example, there is no empirical evidence that Ukraine is more of a threat than Finland or Latvia, all the justifications for invading Ukraine are nebulous and pulled out of Putin’s ass). Russia does not get to choose which of its neighbors it can invade. If they don’t like Ukrainians turning towards the West, well, maybe it’s because most Russians would prefer the same, maybe Russian leadership should do something about their model of running a society.

    If you were running a company rife with nepotism and corruption, you’d have zero credibility to challenge other companies that want to apply different standards, and that’s if you had a say in how other companies operate in the first place. Putin has neither, he has zero credibility and zero legal rights to impose his will on others.

    Ukraine has problems and they want to apply Western values, they want EU rules that will bring order and cooperation. They would obviously rather die than go back to being Kremlin’s bitch. For that, they should be lauded and helped in (almost) every way possible.

  21. Jim

    October 5, 2022 at 11:18 am

    Per the article, in its conclusive summation.

    “Washington’s obvious strategic objective is having Russia aligned with the West, a fit candidate for NATO, as we hoped after the Soviet Union’s breakup.”

    Sadly & regrettably, the above option was firmly within hand, as an island of stability, goodwill, and cooperation (with both countries economically prospering). Many respected foreign policy voices expressed this possibility, among them, George Kennan, father of the Containment strategy.

    A choice was made, a wrong choice.

    There was a fork in the road for American Foreign Policy… we took the wrong fork, down a path to confrontation, aggression, and, now, Proxy War… and one wrong move from direct conflict.

    About Mr. Bolton’s vision: sounds like 1917 with the Bolsheviks… look what happened there…

    Okay, Mr. Bolton has made his case.

  22. bill gates

    October 5, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Putin will go. Kharkov will be the deciding battle.

    Kharkiv was great move by Ukrainians. Kharkov, will be pure military against military, mano à mano. Once Kharkov falls, Putin will be taken out by somebody from the inside/walk out of a tall story window.

    I give Kharkov 2 weeks to fall. Putin another 10 days to live after that. By tksgiving day, this wall will be long over.

    After Kharkov falls, not even nukes will save this savage. The coup de grâce will be from the inside.

  23. Tamerlane

    October 5, 2022 at 11:44 am

    Goran:

    I have literally never said that. Ever. As usual you peddle lies and smears. I have asserted that Ukraine in NATO is an existential threat to Russia, not its existence itself. It is, and it is perceived as such by Russia. No empirical evidence? Sure there is, the fact that Russia invaded and is willing to escalate over this country indicates that it is more of a threat. 20 plus years of all levels of Russian society communicating that regardless of ideology, NATO swallowing Ukraine would be a hard red line for the country is probative evidence. When Russia uses nukes, will that be enough for you to admit what you have denied all along, that Ukraine within NATO is an existential threat to Russia. Of course Ukraine within NATO, an alliance which has violently invaded or embarked in aggressive regime change/nation building wars at least thrice in the past 25 years is a threat to a Russia, and whether existential or not is a question for Russia to reach a determination on. Where the situation reversed, I know I would view Mexico or Canada in an expansionist anti-American Chinese military alliance to be an existential threat to the United States, and I am surprised you reject this. Perhaps it is your foreign hard-leftism which prevents you from recognizing or admitting countries fundamentally operate by self interest, not by high principle.

    Of course Russia gets to decide who it invades, just as we in the United States do—and I know this is an idea alien to your foreign mind. I’m the real world of great powers, the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer as they must. How many times as the United States invaded Mexico? A handful of times at least. A country always has the right to act to defend itself—as the United States of course “preemptively” does all the time, attacking, toppling governments, and installing puppet regimes friendly to our wishes.

    Countries, unlike businesses, exist relative to one another in a STATE OF NATURE. Countries exist not to respect any other peoples’ rights fundamentally, but to protect and defend those of its citizens alone.

    How again is it our American taxpayer’s duty to save your pathetic Ukrainian trollish hide? Our obligation is to ourselves and our defense alone.

    Lincoln:

    I see Ukrainian trolls are back, pretending to be Americans when it is self evident they care nothing for our American blood, treasure, or security beyond being a reservoir from which to draw to police the world and remake it by force in your name. Your radical leftism is antithetical to American conservatism, constitutionalism, and realism. You are a neoconservative, that is, a Trotskyite who believes in imposing your perspective by force upon those who don’t wish it. It is you who is the enemy of individual liberty and the rule of law. Bolton? You’re here to defend that POS who helped send me around the world to two different wars to attempt the blindly hubristic “regime change/nation building”? The man has been wrong his entire career and has done almost incalculable damage to the United States. But, hey, you want to praise him. Go for it. Defend Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Mali, etc., have at it hoss.

    The world is not saddled and bridled for you to ride it, nor should the United States do so even were we to have the hard and soft power. Contrary to your Liz Cheney/Biden emotional drivel, John Quincy Adams’ logic was right:

    “Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….
    She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…”

    You again push utter lunacy. The United States is not at war with Russia, is it? If it is, how did this transpire without a declaration of war? Under the 2001 AUMF? If we are in an undeclared illegal war, shouldn’t it be declared or ended? What is the strategic American interest in going to nuclear war with Russia over Ukraine? Your endorsement of thermonuclear war killing a billion people over a non-allied state like Ukraine which is not in the existential interest of the United States shows you are no American, no conservative, and no patriot. Of course there is good reason a Russian would view Ukraine as worth escalating to nuclear war over, but such is not in our American interests. Go back to your hovel in Kiev, and leave those of us who are actually Americans to defend and preserve our own country. Keep your chickenhawk David Frum nonsense where it rightfully belongs, on the dung heap of history.

  24. Tamerlane

    October 5, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    Unfortunately for you Lincoln, your fellow utopian leftist Dems—those who like you believe in the United States grossly overextending itself in these nation building interventions against interest, who maintain that human nature is mutable and can be changed through the central imposition of institutions, and who wish to impose on other peoples how best to live by force of arms—you’re going down to a resounding defeat in November. Republicans will defend our country, defend us before a foreign not even allied people, and hopefully will end this lunacy before it permanently harms American power and our capacity to project it. Your perspective is the antithesis of anything conservative, for you seek perpetual war for perpetual peace. It is the antithesis of traditional American foreign policy, and smacks of the same failed and national interest harming neoconservative and liberal interventions of the past 25 years.

  25. Johnny Ray

    October 5, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    Well, John just snap your fingers and make it (regime change) happen then. /lol.

    Do you have a serious proposal? /lol again.

  26. Goran

    October 5, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    Tamerlane, you did say it, if Ukraine is not allowed to join NATO (because Russia has a weird and convoluted method of determining why Latvia and Finland can and Ukraine can’t), then your position is that Ukrainian sovereignty is limited by Russian good will and whatever excuse about existential threats they come up with. That however is not sovereignty, that’s being Kremlin’s bitch.

    As for Putin and his nukes, as always, it’s a bluff and I am sure Russians will muster enough courage to remove Putin from power before the likes of Bolton start a civil war in their own yard. There are thousands of Russians, Belorussians and Georgians that are fighting for Ukraine and that would be eager to take part, hundreds of thousands are already outside of Russia creating a sizable pool of Russian men pissed at Putin.

    There is a fork in the road for the Russian society and hopefully they make the right choice. Either way, Ukraine will remain free and judging by the political environment in this country, the U.S. will stay by its side.

    Cheers 🙂

  27. mcswell

    October 5, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    Navalny.

  28. abraham lincoln

    October 5, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    “Jim” is just another Russian troll.

  29. Jim

    October 5, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    America is being drained of resources.

    Europe is being drained of resources.

    Much of the world is sympathetic towards Russia.

    (The American Public is blissfully unaware of how most of the world perceives the U. S. & its foreign policy.)

    The Ukraine project has pushed India towards Russia and/or non-alignment. Nations are knocking on the BRICS door for entry, including Saudi Arabia.

    Just this morning OPEC+ announced a 2 million barrel a day cut in oil production… gasoline prices are dramatically rising, again.

    (How’s that for influence… not.)

    America is poised for a hard recession… maybe harder, still.

    How much does America & Europe have to get hurt for supporters of this policy to realize the costs are too high?

    I bet they don’t care… (its just a necessary cost of business)… don’t care at all.

    That’s the insanity.

    It sure isn’t a democracy… pushing this policy, its a reckless elite, consummated by the U. S. foreign policy blob.

    They expose their true face:

    Regime change.

    “You can’t handle the truth. Yes, damn it, we have to rule the world…”

  30. Roger Bacon

    October 5, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    I stopped reading in the third paragraph when you claimed that Russia sabotaged the Nordstream pipeline. Yeah, and 2020 was the most secure election ever.

  31. Jon

    October 5, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    1945 has provided a forum for John Bolton? Sad! Was there no other commentary available for the news hole?

  32. Tamerlane

    October 5, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Goran:

    Lie. I said within NATO it is such a threat to them. That’s a factual matter. Consult anyone at the army war college, look at the map, of course that’s a threat. Outside it, not much of one.

    A review of geography will tell you why Ukraine is considered existential, but Latvia is not. I’ll
    Leave you to consulting the topography.

    You seem to be under the misapprehension that countries are equal. They aren’t. Some countries sovereignty is more weighty than others. That’s because countries exist in a state of nature relative to one another and the powerful can ensure that theirs is respected, while the weak cannot. Russia is a nuclear superpower, Ukraine isn’t. Ukraine is allied with exactly no country which has the capacity or obligation to intervene in a nuclear fashion. Sorry. Facts are stubborn things.

    Yeah, Mexico and Canada are America’s “bitch”. They are subpar powers next to a superpower. Just the facts Jack. We wouldn’t let them take independent sovereign actions which would threaten our ability to protect ourselves. Period.

    Russia’s bluffing? And you’re willing to bet a billion lives on that eh? You are so filled with hubris, you honestly believe the United States and Ukraine apparently, are the only countries which should be able or which do act in their own strategic existential interest. Does Putin’s invasion show that his warning off American entry into Ukraine as a redline is actually a redline? You Dems and Bolton want war, that’s clear, but one between this country and Russia isn’t in American interests.

    The “right choice”? That sounds awfully like “the choice you think is right”. Every power has the right to secure its own borders and to prevent an existential opponent from approaching them, friend. You Ukrainians have no reasonable expectation that we will come save you. You are useful to use to bleed Russia, but we aren’t going to fight a billion person killing war over you. You aren’t our ally, nor will we go nuclear for you.

    It’s the height of hubris to believe contrary to everything we’re seeing they Russia will meekly dissolve and self-destruct instead of escalating to protect its existential interests, and you Dems and neocons, are wrong here yet again.

    Cheerio 😊

  33. Eagle Eye

    October 5, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    What a hilarious, delusional LARPer this Bolton guy is. Fortunately his kind don’t have the power to enact their mad schemes in Russia or anywhere else, or the world would be a total ruin by now. Which is probably what he wants, being a Revelations fundamentalist lunatic. These psychotic people belong in asylums, not in positions of influence.

  34. Okay

    October 5, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Neocons need to be removed from society before they kill us all

  35. Tamerlane

    October 5, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Eagle/Okay: these are the same chickshawks who sent my generation to Iraq to effectuate regime change and then nation building with the promise that we could transform Iraqi society into “Jeffersonian’s on the Tigris” through force. They told us to impose institutions on Iraq and transform them into democrats despite thousands of years of history, internecine and tribal warfare, and cultivated despotism and cultural degradation comparative to the west. Bolton/Cheney and the liberal interventionists on the left are messianic utopians who believe it is divine will for us to use force to correct stunted societies which did not organically resemble our own. It was as racially obvious even then in 2003 that their object would fail, just as it is today regarding this new crusade.

    It’s a swan song appealing to vanity and premised in incredible hubris, a worldview that asks soldiers and marines to become social workers, to remake a society. To do this with Ukraine, let alone Russia, is so insanely harebrained it beggars belief. Yet to Bolton and co., it isn’t that their hubris was wrong, it’s that we didn’t execute it properly—the same excuse as peddled by socialists and communists wishing to avoid responsibility for their century of death destruction, and poverty. They wish to send us abroad perpetually, in search of monsters to destroy. They utterly ignore the fact that our armed forces and our government is charged by our constitution with the authority to act to defend our freedoms and liberties alone. Fortunately the vast majority of these chickenhawks have flown to the Democrat party, a party naturally a better fit for them as they party believes in using the power of the state domestically to remake Americans in their image… God save us from their revival, and may a GOP wave sweep these warmongers whose policies will and have damaged us so badly out in November.

  36. S Jones

    October 5, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    I honestly don’t know how any serious person could publish this.

  37. Attila

    October 5, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    The weak Goose is getting weaker the future for putin is getting bleaker ,I hope Ukraine will shout out Eurika no I don’t hope I know they will the Russian army.y is over the hill inep buffoons that act as such pathetic military could not punch hole in a paper bag .Russia weakest military in the world a third world country run by a third world terd. The Weak goose is such a shower they fooled the world that they had power, The WeaK Goose is in the Noose the Russian scum are nearly cooked pretty soon they will funked. Putin scum murdering runt hi. Military terrorist barbarian counts.

  38. CherokeeNative

    October 5, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Putin needs to be assassinated. Period. Problem is, he is so aware of this possibility, he even has a food taster. The only way to take him out will be by sniper, unless someone can poison his underwear like he had Nalveny poisoned. Another favorable would be to take him and his inner circle out by way of explosives during one of their galas. Hopefully, sane Russians will come up with a plan to successfully effectuate. Glory to Ukraine.

  39. marplon

    October 5, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    If the west removes Putin, and it would be the west, then what. Remember Iraq. NGO’s are probably receiving millions from the State Dept to cause tension in Russia (benefits the deep state but hurts Russia). I know this is not the same a Iraq but it sounds to me Russian citizens will pay the ultimate price for Bolton’s usual evil.

  40. TheDon

    October 5, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Russians should worry when your leader picks friends like Kim Jong, Xi, Prince Mohammed, and Assad.
    A crazy man desnt know he’s crzy.
    Nothing in common except using citizens for person expense.
    Krill should worry about the future Putin is plotting.

  41. Serhio

    October 5, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    Goran

    “Tamerlane, stop peddling that crap about Ukraine’s sovereignty being an existential threat to Russia”
    “there is no empirical evidence that Ukraine poses a greater threat than Finland or Latvia, all the excuses for invading Ukraine are vague and pulled out of Putin’s ass”

    The threat to Russia is not the existence of Ukraine as a state. The threat is the existence of the Nazi regime in Ukraine, which does not hide its goal: “To kill Russians.” If you don’t see evidence, then there are three possible options: 1) You are blind. 2) You are a paid propagandist 3) You just weren’t interested in the question. If the first two points are true, then it is useless to say, and if the third, then I will say. Russian Russian and Ukrainian language speeches are full of the entire YouTube with threats and calls to kill Russians and those who speak Russian. Children over 7 years old in special camps are taught to shoot from machine guns and hate Russians. Former President of Ukraine Poroshenko on camera told the republics of Donbass; “Our children will go to school on September 1, and yours will be sitting in basements, hiding from shelling.” A crowd of brutal Nazis bludgeoned a peaceful protest demonstration in Odessa, drove people into a building and burned 50 people alive. Who reported this from the Western press? Since 2014, in violation of the Minsk agreements, Kiev has been shelling the million-strong city of Donetsk with artillery. According to the OSCE, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics for 8 years. But no one in the West will write about it. This does not agree with the tales of evil Russians and unhappy Ukrainians, victims of their aggression. A memorial has been created in Donetsk for the children who died from the shelling of “unfortunate Ukrainians”. Search YouTube for “Angel alley” and look at the photos of children killed by Ukrainian Nazis. What other evidence do you need? The easiest way to say that this is Russian propaganda and you can’t believe it. Those who live nearby know that this is not the case. Russians suffered a lot during World War 2 when the Nazis attacked the USSR first. The lessons of history must be learned. It is not surprising that the Russians did not wait for the second time. And I understand that.

  42. Yrral

    October 5, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    You American put your faith in Russian Influence Corrupt Organization in Kiev,where Putin has agent installed in all parts of government, learning about US secret,pass by his Ukrainain agent

  43. Serhio

    October 5, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    CherokeeNative

    “Another favorable would be to take him and his inner circle out by way of explosives during one of their galas. Hopefully, sane Russians will come up with a plan to successfully effectuate. Glory to Ukraine.”

    Everyone who talks about the absence of Nazism in Ukraine carefully read this post written by a Ukrainian. That’s what Nazism is. Cannibalistic ideology. Let’s blow up hundreds of people to kill Putin. “Glory to Ukraine” is the slogan under which the Ukrainian Nazis, led by Shukhevych and Bandera, killed civilians during World War II: Russians, Poles, Jews and others. It was they who staged the “Volyn massacre”. Thousands of civilians were killed, burned alive, buried alive in graves. Modern cannibals are worthy successors of the work of their grandfather’s.

  44. Feldspar

    October 6, 2022 at 2:08 am

    Bolton is a chicken hawk and a lunatic.

  45. Dan DaMann

    October 6, 2022 at 2:35 am

    These two sentences are incredible:

    “Moscow is again rhetorically brandishing nuclear weapons, and has sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines. Europe worries about the coming winter, and everyone worries about the durability of Europe’s resolve.”

    I can’t believe Bolton put these two notions right next to each other in the article. I’m no fan of Putin but I acknowledge that he may not have committed this act. He has no motive to bomb his own pipelines. It only takes away leverage that he has over Europe.

    In the very next line Bolton just happens to mention the very reason why NATO has every motive to bomb the pipelines. Winter is coming. Central, northern and western Europeans are going to suffer and they are very likely to exert extreme pression on their respective governments to capitulate to Russian demands in order to get the gas flowing again.

    Their own governments can preemptively alleviate that pressure by removing the pipelines, and the potential to restart the gas flow, from the equation by simply blowing it up and blaming it on Putin. Then the ire of freezing Europeans will fall squarely on Putin and not on European governments.

  46. Dirtnapninja

    October 6, 2022 at 7:57 am

    Our elites are insane with power. They want to turn Russia into a weak prostrate colony they can pillage and loot, like they have done to Ukraine. American Manchukuo.

    We need a regime change in the west, and the world will be a better place when the Boltons of the world take thier proper place as Walmart greeters.

  47. Pax Humana

    October 6, 2022 at 8:46 am

    Bolton must go.

    And the rest the neocons.

  48. Goran

    October 6, 2022 at 9:52 am

    Tamerlane, me poring over maps led me to believe that Russia is in no less danger from Latvia and Finland being NATO members than it is from Ukraine being in NATO. Granted, it’s a subjective conclusion, as is yours, but the point is that neither one of us gets to start an invasion based on those conclusions. It would lead to anarchy. Besides, if your argument was as clear as you’d hoped for, Putin’s propagandists wouldn’t be coming up with bull crap about Nazis and whatnot. It’s like a whack-a-mole of justifications to invade, all of which melt away as soon as one’s attention is focused on them. As for you pushing the idea that some countries should not be treated as sovereign as others, Bolton agrees. I say there should be no regime change from the outside, not in Russia and not in Ukraine. You and Bolton agree, not as much on a country where regime change is acceptable, but you agree on mechanics. How do you sleep at night knowing that you and John Bolton have so much in common 🙂

    Serhio, take a day or two and stop trying to convince anyone of anything, focus on identifying a solution that would be fair to everyone, including to some Ukrainian in the city of Kherson and to some Russian in the city of Donetsk. It might be late to talk about fairness this late in the game and after about 100,000 dead, but it has to be done. Let’s not fall for propaganda from either side. What is fair?

    Fair is to have a Russian identity enshrined in the constitution of an independent Ukraine that wants to turn westwards and away from Moscow. You can’t split up the country just because you want eastern parts where you are the demographic majority to remain within the realm of Russia’s influence. So, the right to speak Russian as one of two official languages, the right to have your kids learn Russian in school, but within an intact Ukraine. That is fair and it can be done. All this talk about nukes, nazis, regime changes and so on is pushed by those that in one way or the other profit from all of this and don’t give a damn about ordinary people on either side.

  49. Tallifer

    October 6, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Navalny. This.

    Russia could have modernized like Poland and Czechia and thereby prospered in partnership with the West, but evil men killed and stole their way to make Russia into a murderous kleptocracy.

  50. Dan DaMann

    October 6, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Goran,

    “me poring over maps led me to believe that Russia is in no less danger from Latvia and Finland being NATO members than it is from Ukraine being in NATO.”

    This is wrong. Russia is incredibly vulnerable to invasion through Ukraine/Belarus via the European plain. Russia has been invaded for millennia through the European plain. Because of this reality Russia has always been deeply concerned about this vulnerability. This is a very real issue for Russia.

  51. Serhio

    October 6, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    “Serhio, take a day or two and stop trying to convince anyone of anything, focus on identifying a solution that would be fair to everyone, including to some Ukrainian in the city of Kherson and to some Russian in the city of Donetsk. It might be late to talk about fairness this late in the game and after about 100,000 dead, but it has to be done. Let’s not fall for propaganda from either side. What is fair?”

    I have a solution. But it will never be implemented.
    1) Both sides cease hostilities.
    2) An international Commission is formed from representatives of countries not participating in the conflict. China, India, Arab countries, African countries, Latin American countries. NATO countries, South Korea, Japan, Australia and any other countries that supplied weapons to the conflicting parties or imposed sanctions against Russia are excluded. The purpose of this commission is two: The first. To investigate the facts of genocide and war crimes committed since 2014 on the territory of Ukraine (including the Lugansk and Donetsk republics) by both sides. The trial of criminals, followed by the hanging of the guilty. The second is the implementation of the “reform of Ukraine”: The abolition of all laws and regulations that are discriminatory in nature (the law on language, laws on the closure of political parties and others). Holding referendums throughout the territory of Ukraine. Some regions become independent countries, some remain part of Ukraine, some join Russia, Hungary, Romania, Poland. In the remaining part of Ukraine and in those areas that wished to become independent states, external governance is being introduced for 20 years, which will prevent a new flowering of Nazism in Ukraine. Revision of school curricula, exclusion of glorification of Nazi criminals like Shukhevych, Melnik (not the one who was ambassador to Germany) and Bandera. And also that pseudo-historical nonsense that a bunch of Ukrainian propagandists wrote about their history.

    Not the best option for Ukraine as a country and very bad for the current Nazi leadership of Ukraine, but the alternative is the complete cessation of the existence of a state called “Ukraine” and a sea of spilled blood.

  52. Frank Martin

    October 6, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    This man needs to be in the front lines of this conflict he advocates. That this failed diplomat & strategist still has a voice in foreign policy is criminal

  53. Tamerlane

    October 7, 2022 at 3:14 am

    Goran:

    You neoconservative interventionists never learn, and yet you pretend to be a student of history. If you cannot comprehend why Russia is more concerned with the geographical/defensive significance of Ukraine relative to Latvia, I don’t know what to tell you. How long were the Germans’ Army Group North tied down, even with the Finns (a country which openly allied with the Nazis and paid no consequence from the West I’d add) assisting them in the forests and lakes? It isn’t a subjective conclusion, it’s military science. A fact recognized by any military staff officer. Where did you serve again? Who taught you strategic defense? The entire point of Imperial Russia expanding to hold Poland south to the Carpathian Mountains was to close the Eurasian Plain to a defensible gap in order to forestall a repetition of the myriad invasions Russia had previously faced, from the Swedes to the French Empire…

    Of course great powers “get” to start wars or invade countries based upon their own subjective conclusions about their national interest. That’s obvious from history. That “would lead to anarchy”? Uhhh, yes, what do you think a “state of nature” is? That’s what exists between countries. They live/exist in a state of nature with one another. You apparently disagree with this self evident fact, so tell me, whose interest, other than the American peoples’, should control America’s foreign/defensive/military policy? Who do our armed forces exist to protect? Whose interest? Where is this “objective” standard that no one can act independently or exercise sovereignty to protect one’s own country and instead has to what, develop a consensus from… a majority of the world’s population? If the majority is the standard, then Russia is actually in the right here, as 80% of the world’s population has refused to condemn Russia and has refused to join the sanctions against Russia/support for Ukraine. Where does our constitution establish that our armed forces exist to defend peoples other than our own?

    Mechanics? Yes, Bolton does at least recognize that the United States is a sovereign nation which has the authority to act defensively or offensively as it sees fit. We simply disagree about the wasteful and counter-productive multiple invasions/interventions he helped launch against Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and now, in Ukraine. You two have been consistently wrong in this policy for 25 years, and you remain so now. Your policy if adopted, will continue to weaken American power globally, which in the long run, will come home to roost here.

    And for you to here talk of compromise? You, perhaps the most blood lust nuclear war-mothering apocalypse cheering fool on this sight? Hahahaha!! Wait, a people can’t split away from another country and form their own national identity? People don’t have the right to self determination? Do you hold that for the Palestinians as well? The Kosovars? How about the Irish in 1919 or the 13 American colonies in 1776? Why exactly don’t the eastern Russian speaking Ukrainians have the right to form their own government to protect their own rights? Is this a recent development that peoples no longer have the right to a government of their choice? Again, does a global majority then decide? Where is this established?

    What you throw out here as what the eastern Ukrainians should get is 100% what Kiev and Ukraine emphatically rejected, and which, in combination with their efforts to enter an alliance openly seeking Russia’s destruction, precipitated the war. How can you agree with Putin and the Minsk Accords?! Goodness, how unpatriotic!! Eh?

  54. Tamerlane

    October 7, 2022 at 3:37 am

    Goran:

    Here’s an article for you spelling all this out, back on March 14 of this year. Read it, and learn something before you and those like you lunatics kill us all, or in the best scenario, just manage to strategically weaken the United States.

    https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/14/the-wests-real-ukraine-strategy-is-russian-regime-change/

  55. Che Macarius

    October 7, 2022 at 5:02 am

    America will never be happy until everyone just does as they say. The arrogance of the US is no longer galling for the rest of the world. The situation has moved from the territory of tragedy to farce. What comes after that is anyone’s guess, but I sure hope humanity will still be here to find out.

  56. Ralph McRae

    October 7, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Bolton, the evil unindicted war criminal bastard gets called upon by the Neocon intelligentsia to pontificate about the state of the world today. No wonder everything’s going to hell.

  57. Karlinchen

    October 7, 2022 at 11:03 pm

    The lawless Yeltsin years were a big warning to Russians.

    Without someone in the Kremlin having real balls, things will quickly grow out of hand. We should not forget the real reasons for the animosity, not enough privatisation.

    Exxon would sell Russian gas as freedom molecules had Putin not stepped in. Whether Exxon taking over the Yukos monopoly would have benefited the Russian population we cannot say for sure. Probably not, because the success of corporations is usually not in synch with the needs of the population, in America.

  58. Roberto

    October 9, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    His Mustache/Moustache is that big because of the hubris that comes from his mouth.

  59. Sigh

    October 9, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Maybe Biden can share some of his dementia medication with John because even he isn’t this mentally retarded. There’s no way the mustache doesn’t know Putin is a moderate holding back some real wild dogs. So if you don’t like the center, you’re going to hate what comes next.

  60. robehr orinsky

    October 10, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Remove Putin ? Why ? Because he stands against Globohomo and loves his country ?

  61. Jim

    October 10, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Wow. Comments out the ear.

    Blown around… by the wind.

    Thrown down in a spin.

    Would you ever want to have John Bolton sitting in the pilot’s seat…

  62. S B

    October 16, 2022 at 7:58 am

    Regime change in Russia for Russia joining NATO?
    But,but..
    In the early 90’s someone from NATO said :”Forget about it,we are not going to fight China”.
    What changed?
    Is the situation really so bad that NATO desperately need more cannon fodder?
    For what?

  63. Ben d'Mydogtags

    October 16, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Regime change is a two-way street.

    Biden shouts incoherently and carries an empty basket of excuses.

  64. GhostTomahawk

    October 17, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    We need a coups/insurrection HERE.

    It’s this Biden regime that got the world to this point.

    Don’t tell me that’s what elections are for. We had an election with AT LEAST dubious outcomes the establishment is unwilling to look at. If we don’t address that it’ll happen again.

  65. Eric

    October 19, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    Putin will go when the Silovoki decide to stab him in the back. The best we can do is support Ukraine and help them push back against Russia’s illegal and brutal war. No direct foreign interference in Russian politics is going to help; that would only galvanize further the anti-western sentiment in Russia. Bolton should perhaps exercize his right to remain silent since he supported America’s illegal wars from the inside and is a complete hypocrite; illegal American wars backfired, setting back American interests for years. Establishment of democracy in Russia would likely take decades of change advocated from inside Russian society. Understanding that we have significant limitations in changing other nations for the better should be a lesson that Bolton should have learned by now but seems to fail to learn over and over.

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