Vladimir Putin must leave.
In his frenzied speech to the Kremlin on Friday, he made the strongest case for the need for regime change in Moscow that any world leader has yet to assert in a ceremony that Russia is annexing parts of Ukraine. Proposed.
But it is clear that the Russian dictator must now be removed from office for a long time.
Clearly, because Putin’s actions and words show day in and day out that Ukraine will never be safe as long as he stays in power. Apparently, none of Russia’s neighbors are safe because there’s a megalomaniac maniac next door, speaking of the Russian Empire, and constantly threatening to rewrite the borders of sovereign states.
It is clear that as long as those who control the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons on Earth remain unfettered at home, display such contempt for both international law and human dignity, and have ambitions, the world cannot be stable so detached from reality.
Justice also called for Putin to step down. He is a serial war criminal, one of the worst in the world today. He destroyed a sovereign nation. He is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people. He embraced the language and practices of genocide. His army committed war crimes. Mass graves attest to his brutality. What’s more, his crimes were not limited to the human suffering he inflicted on Ukraine. Other violations of the Basic Law and countless atrocities can be traced back to his decisions – from Russia’s razing of Grozny in Chechnya, to Russia’s active support and involvement in terror in Syria; from the invasion of Georgia to Putin’s dissidents in his own country brutal action.
Over the years, Putin has given evidence not only to international prosecutors, but to everyone on the planet that he is not the rightful leader. He should not have the protection normally accorded to foreign heads of state. From Hitler to Saddam to Gaddafi, from Pol Pot to Milosevic, he demanded nothing more of them.
The dead of Bucha and Melitipol or Izyum attest to this in their absence. Victims of Russian torture, victims of bombings of hospitals, schools and train stations, victims of mass kidnappings, and victims of the constant terror of Next door to one of the worst cities in history. Disgusting outlaw.
No one can listen to Putin’s rambling rants on Friday and draw any conclusions except that the longer Putin is in office, the more damage he will do.
If the absurd spectacle of a “signature ceremony” of Russian control of Ukrainian territory, Kremlin lackeys and nationalist chants did not chill observers, Putin in the West condemned the “enemy”‘s belligerent language and his possible The implication in it of his right to use nuclear weapons certainly should. He mocked international law. He denounced “Satanism” in the United States. He called on Ukraine to negotiate, but said the fate of “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson” was not on the table and would be part of Russia “forever”.
When President Joe Biden spoke of Putin in May, “for God’s sake, this guy can’t stay in power,” before the White House quickly “clarified” that the president “is not discussing Putin’s power or regime change in Russia.”
But as we’ve come to learn, Biden’s seemingly spontaneous comments on key issues of international policy he’s researched for decades — whether involving Putin or Taiwan — are not gaffes. Rather, they are expressions of common sense, an unspoken acknowledgment of reality that diplomats may wish to have, which cannot be “official” U.S. policy, but one that shows that the president has a clear understanding of local realities and U.S. interests.
That’s fine, because creeping around the threat posed by Putin in the hope that accommodating him would lead to milder behavior certainly didn’t work. In fact, in every respectful, restrained response to Putin’s aggression or abuse, we only see his crimes escalate.
A “methodical” response to his Bush- or Obama-era aggression didn’t work. Neither did the servile sycophancy of former President Donald Trump. indeed, Eastern politics The indecision of Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders actually helped and empowered Putin.
No doubt Putin’s allies — like the talk leaders at Fox News, the leaders of the MAGA caucus on Capitol Hill, and Putinists across Europe — will warn that even talk of the need to remove Putin would be incensed He might even lead him to release nuclear weapons in Ukraine or against the West. How do we know? Because it’s a response to a moment of open honesty and realism from Biden on the issue.
Many others, including some respected foreign policy experts, have suggested that we shouldn’t “press” Putin by taking a public stand asking him to step down.
Some of these experts rightly observe that the United States has a tortuous history of seeking regime change. They argue that there is no good alternative to Putin, so getting rid of him could yield worse outcomes, be it chaos related to a leadership vacancy or a more dangerous leader.
But go back and listen to his Friday speech. This clearly shows that we are far beyond the point where the danger of his continuation in power outweighs the danger that his fall could pose.
Also, getting rid of the world’s dictators and mob heads of state doesn’t actually generally produce worse successors. This is certainly true in the cases of Hitler, Mussolini, Milosevic, Pol Pot and many others.
“…the threat posed to Putin tiptoed, hoping that accommodating him would result in milder behavior, which of course didn’t work.“
Second, acknowledging that Putin must step down is not the same as making regime change a public policy issue. It can (and largely should) remain an unexpressed goal for the government.
That is, until Russia changes key policies and positions with which Putin is indelibly linked, certain sanctions imposed on Russia should remain in effect, which effectively means until Putin steps down. Until the threat from Russia abates, certain defensive postures in the West should remain the same. We can do more than we can now to covertly support Russia’s opposition, especially those whose values align with ours.
Perhaps most importantly, we can ensure that Russia does not achieve any kind of lasting victory in Ukraine, and that Putin’s conditions will never be met and that his aggression will never be rewarded.
With such a policy, we can actively encourage the Russian people to realize that their country has no future as long as Putin remains in power. Putin is helping in this regard. By going through a massive conscription campaign, possibly up to a million troops, who would then be ill-equipped, ill-trained, and potentially fall victim to a war on their enemies, he has ignited a potential nationwide backlash Sow. Millions of Russians will increasingly feel the pain and loss associated with Putin’s war in a way that Russian propaganda cannot disguise or dress up.
Protests in Russia have grown bolder.
Celebrities and business leaders spoke more clearly. How long will it take for the security services surrounding and protecting Putin to start seeing the fact that he is a threat to their well-being, their lives, the future of their families?
At this point, accepting the reality that Putin has to go is just common sense. Recognizing this reality, we should embrace policies that encourage the creation of conditions. We should also prepare for the consequences of this change and make sure to send a message to Moscow that Russia’s neighbors and the international community welcome a more responsible Russia — while also making it clear that we are prepared to protect ourselves from The wrongdoers hurt or continue (or worse) Putin’s policies.
As for giving reasons to the Russian people that they must act, we don’t have to. Putin has been more persuasive than we hoped in Friday’s speech and self-inflicted disasters like Ukraine.