Former Ambassador to the United Nations and President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton took the latest events surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine to dip his toe back into the limelight. Well known for his penchant for stoking international tension and global destabilization, Bolton wrote a step-by-step opinion article on why and how a U.S.-backed Russian regime change should occur.
Flexing his coup d’etat acumen, this isn’t the first time Mr. Bolton has highlighted his expertise in global government puppet mastery. There seem to be two main camps regarding the conflict in Ukraine, either negotiated path to peace or an all-out war.
It’s pretty easy to see which camp Mr. Bolton is in, even if he argues his plan wouldn’t lead to a full-blown world war.
Find something in life you love doing as much as John Bolton loves trying to start wars. pic.twitter.com/M7zsAyMcCC
— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) October 5, 2022
A Fair Point
Not known for subtlety, Bolton titled his article ‘Putin Must Go: Now is the Time for Regime Change in Russia.’
My new article's headline is clear– "Putin must go: Now is the time for regime change in Russia." There is no long-term prospect for achieving America’s critical, long-standing goal of peace and security in Europe without regime change in Russia. https://t.co/yHmZTW0W7b
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) October 5, 2022
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In his op-ed, Bolton does have some valid points regarding the conflict in eastern Europe. He rightly states what I believe is the main issue behind resolving the conflict, specifically that, “Notwithstanding recent Kyiv’s military advances, the West still lacks a shared definition of ‘victory’ in Ukraine.”
This problem sounds familiar to those who spent time in Afghanistan. It’s imperative in any military operation or conflict to have a clear end-state requirement.
It’s the only way to effectively establish boundaries for engagement and motivation for the continued sacrifice civilians and service members are asked to give. However, as Bolton puts it, this lack of a shared definition of victory is a significant reason many in Europe, and some in the United States, are waning in their willingness to sacrifice, whether at the gas pump or with their lives.
A Predictable Solution
So what does Mr. Bolton suggest? No surprise here, regime change.
“Carefully assisting Russian dissidents to pursue regime change might just be the answer,” Bolton writes.
Isn’t it always your answer, John? Well, he does bring up that this option would have some challenges.
An argument many in opposition to his proposal make is that removing Putin might not make things better. Bolton correctly points out that “The problem is not one man, but the collective leadership constructed over the last two decades.
“The whole regime must go.”
There is nothing John Bolton loves more than starting unnecessary wars, lining his own pockets with book sales and filling the coffers of his friends with mega defense contracts https://t.co/errW2UGBeG
— Lindy Li (@lindyli) October 5, 2022
A Few Hurdles
Throughout his piece, Bolton provides a masterclass on third-party political manipulation. He even explains who should take over after the entire Putin regime is taken down. Notably, he even includes some who shouldn’t be put in charge to fill the void.
“As in many coups in third-world countries,” Bolton writes, “the likely leadership for regime change will not come from the flag officers and officials, who are too personally invested in the Putin regime…”
Bolton suggests it should be a mid-level military leader, like a colonel.
John Bolton still trying to start World War III. It's so crazy how there are people whose whole entire job is to try and cause the violent death of as many human beings as possible. pic.twitter.com/9qOcjYpi61
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) October 5, 2022
Let’s hope their officers are more competent than ours. I worked for plenty who could barely lead 120 troops, let alone a country. China is another big barrier that could stand in the way of a smooth Bolton-style government overhaul.
Bolton states “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.”
Oh, is that all? Might we have to worry about China getting involved militarily? No big deal, right?
What a Track Record
Mr. Bolton ends his article by stating that now is not the time for the United States and allies of Ukraine “to be shy.”
I’m not sure Bolton knows how to be bashful. This past July, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper when discussing the January 6th hearings how he, in his former positions within the government, had helped in the planning and coordination of a foreign coups d’etat.
“Not here but other places,” he noted. “It takes a lot of work.”
Here’s the rub. I don’t actually disagree with him necessarily about regime change in Russia. I think it is inevitable that Putin will eventually need to be removed in some way if we want peace in eastern Europe.
I personally think that the United States doesn’t have the best record when it comes to regime changes. How is post-Saddam Iraq doing? Rampant violence, civil war, and corruption.
The overthrow and execution of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was celebrated by then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, perhaps speaking too soon when she said “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.”
How is Libya doing? About the same as Iraq.
John Bolton breathes regime change in any countries not subservient to US interests. Saying this now is no surprise, although given his massive failure to affect anything significant in Venezuela while he actually had some kind of power really dents his grand standing. pic.twitter.com/lcFNZX5M3E
— Serbian Patriot #Z 🇷🇸🇷🇺 (@Canad1anPatr1ot) October 5, 2022
They Have to Want it
I’ve served in third-world countries and have been a part of operations meant to help bring about a new government structure meant to emulate our own system of governance. I’m not a master of international intrigue like Bolton, but I can tell you that the people who live in those countries need to want a change in fundamental government for it to work.
There are some indications Russia may be approaching that boiling point domestically. With Putin’s last announcement of 300,000 more men called to duty, there have been 2,300 protesters arrested along with 200,000 Russians having fled.
Town councilors in St. Petersburg have petitioned the national parliament to try Putin for treason. Another petition was signed by almost 100 district-level elected leaders calling for his resignation. Are we at governance overhaul acceptance yet?
Hard to say. Let us be weary of someone whose favorite pastime other than talking about himself is treating the globe as his personal game of Risk.
John Bolton is trending again, so I wanted to post these again. pic.twitter.com/Vk8gLxV0KV
— Your Friendly Neighborhood Smirk-Man (@MKerklin) October 5, 2022
As Bolton had said in 2007 on NPR, “We once had a capacity for clandestine efforts to overthrow governments. I wish we could get those back.”
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