Biden Admin Matt Taibbi Ukraine

Matt Taibbi: “Regime Change” Doesn’t Work, You Morons

How many examples of "regime change" blowing up in our faces do we really need before realizing that it's a disastrous policy? Will we really try it with a nuclear-armed adversary?

By Matt Taibbi / Substack

Not long ago, candidate Joe Biden’s most troubling behavioral tendency was the surprise outburst of belligerence. Campaigning, he’d challenge questioners to push-up contests, jam fingers in the sternums even of supporters, and plunge into rambling monologues about leg hairs and chain-fights. 

Now, the president’s face is often a mask of terror, like a man unsure of how he came to be standing in the middle of an intersection. Mental cars racing past, he met the press Monday, to clarify a statement made last week about Vladimir Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Many interpreted this as a call for regime change. Not at all, Biden said, reading from a large-print cheat sheet — this reportedly happened — that reminded him to say he was merely expressing “moral outrage,” and “not articulating a change in policy.” When he ran out of pre-prepared remarks, he drifted back to danger, saying:

It’s more an aspiration than anything.  He shouldn’t be in power.

The AP writeup offered help: “He said he was expressing an ‘aspiration’ rather than a goal of American foreign policy.” (I’m sure nuclear-armed Putin appreciated the semantic difference). When Biden moved more toward candor, saying he made “no apologies” for his remarks, another reporter quickly tried to guide him back to a safe harbor: 

Q: Your personal feelings, sir?  Your personal feelings?

THE PRESIDENT: Personal.  My personal feelings.

Biden even offered his Princess Bride/Vizzini-esque analysis that “the last thing I want to do is engage in a land war… with Russia”:

Although administration mouthpieces Tony Blinken and Jen Psaki scrambled to reassure a nervous world that the U.S. is not intent on “doing regime change” in Russia, officials everywhere have been telling reporters the opposite on background.

This cat was out of the bag weeks ago. As Joe Lauria at Consortium points out, Biden was asked on February 24th, at the start of the invasion, what sanctions would accomplish if they hadn’t prevented war. His answer:

No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. That has to sh- — this is going to take time.  And we have to show resolve, so he knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them. That’s what this is all about.

Biden said virtually the same thing in Brussels last week: 

Sanctions never deter… The maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain … we will sustain what we’re doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year.  That’s what will stop him.

We heard this more explicitly from Boris Johnson on March 1st, “The measures we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime,” Johnson said. Lauria points out this was two days after British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey wrote in the Telegraph that “His failure must be complete… the Russian people empowered to see how little he cares for them. In showing them that, Putin’s days as President will surely be numbered… He’ll lose power and he won’t get to choose his successor.”

Jen Psaki’s non-committal answer to The Intercept’s question about whether or not Volodymyr Zelensky has autonomy to negotiate the end of sanctions, and the apparent disinterest of the United States in participating in peace talks, also speaks to this. Biden’s many “gaffes” on the subject have all let slip military or strategic initiatives, not diplomatic ones, like revealing that the U.S. is training Ukrainian troops in Poland. 

As Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic noted, Blinken even went out of his way to throw cold water on supposed positive news coming out of Russia-Ukraine negotiations. The Secretary of State said he hadn’t seen any signs of “constructive” progress, and any indication that Moscow might be willing to pull back might be to “deceive people and deflect attention.” Even the New York Times vaporized a headline that briefly appeared Tuesday suggesting progress in negotiations. 

This is the before shot:

And this is the “very shortly after” shot, hours later:

Things could change at any moment. Biden could suddenly pivot to helping Zelensky secure a diplomatic solution. But as of this writing, evidence suggests the United States is not interested in a settlement, and is gunning for a long-term play that would unseat Putin, crack the Sino-Russian alliance, and reverse the political malaise that’s beset neoliberal democracies for years, with one Rumsfeldian “big move.”

Well, you say, so what? Shouldn’t America use the occasion of Putin’s seemingly disastrous and indefensible invasion to try to force him out of power?

Sure, that makes sense. Except for two things. 

One, when Biden says, “This is going to take time,” and speaks about pressure for an “entire year,” he’s referring to time that will cost piles of Ukrainian lives every day. Maybe the Ukrainian people are willing to sacrifice those lives. But Zelensky only just said, “We are looking for peace, really. Without delay.” He’s repeatedly asked for help in negotiations and expressed a willingness to embrace a future of Ukrainian “neutrality.” There’s obviously ambivalence among American pundits and politicians toward any settlement that might be seen as rewarding Putin for his aggression, but the question is if that’s our call to make, or that of the Ukrainians bearing the punishment.

Second, and more important — regime change doesn’t work! It may be the most proven hypothesis ever. Our record is so bad, the standard for measuring “regime change” isn’t even success or failure anymore. It’s more like failure, or heads-on-sticks failure. As in, “Did the intervention end in American-allied locals hurling themselves at the landing gear of departing aircraft in an effort to flee World War Z-style crowds of bloodthirsty nationalists?” Any regime change effort that ends without Americans beheaded, barbecued, or castrated — even if it accomplishes nothing — now goes in the plus column by default.

The plot is always the same. Our diplomats speak loftily of self-determination, civil liberties, and democracy. Then the local population does something daft, like attempting to nationalize their own oil or copper reserves or voting for a nationalist or socialist, at which point the CIA is forced to intervene and install a responsible leader like the Shah, Pinochet, or Suharto. If the new U.S-friendly leader hangs on, he or she over time becomes increasingly dependent on arms, “security advisors,” and World Bank/I.M.F. loans, mass-disappearing dissidents into fingernail factories or wiping them out with death squads, while also often raiding the treasury as a carrying charge for services rendered. This results in more domestic fury, leading to more calls for “aid,” until the by-now-hated U.S.-allied figure is steamrolled by a nationalist/communist/fundamentalist movement 1,000 times more hostile to the U.S. than anything that existed previously. See: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and today’s Russia (hold that thought). 

In 2016, the Washington Post published an article by a Boston College professor named Lindsay O’Rourke noting the United States had either toppled or attempted to topple other countries’ governments 72 times between 1947 and 1989. The list is an astonishing compendium of disasters. We apparently can’t even murder people competently, spending taxpayer money on Dr. Evil schemes to make Castro’s beard fall out or have him walk past exploding sea shells (the CIA even spent a million in Indonesia on a failed plot to make a porno movie using a man in a General Sukarno mask) while real assassinations, O’Rourke wrote, were only ever pulled off by foreigners:

Not a single U.S.-backed assassination plot during this time actually killed their intended target, although two foreign leaders — South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem and the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo — were killed by foreign intermediaries without Washington’s blessing during U.S.-backed coups.

O’Rourke also concluded that “after a nation’s government was toppled, it was less democratic and more likely to suffer civil war, domestic instability and mass killing.” The Cato Institute came to the same conclusion, noting that regime-change efforts “are likely to spark civil wars, lead to lower levels of democracy, increase repression, and in the end, draw the foreign intervener into lengthy nation‐​building projects.”

“Regime change” is a theory of pre-emptive conquest and therefore based on the same lunatic logic that drove Putin to invade Ukraine. Our version posits that all threats can be eliminated by covering the planet all over with American-style liberal democracies. It is, no joke, a version of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s famous “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention,” the idea that “No two countries that both have a McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other.” This theory Friedman “confirmed” with McDonald’s for a 1996 Times column, and he wasn’t kidding. He wrote that while in the 50s and 60s developing nations thought “having an aluminum plant and a U.N. seat” made them “real countries,” having a McDonald’s was now the truer indicator:

When a country reaches a certain level of economic development, when it has a middle class big enough to support a McDonald’s, it becomes a McDonald’s country, and people in McDonald’s countries don’t like to fight wars; they like to wait in line for burgers.

The Russia-Ukraine war blew Friedman’s theory to shit, but was fun while it lasted. “Regime change” supposedly traces back over a century to Woodrow Wilson’s famous argument that the world must be made “safe for democracy,” but from the Cold War on presidents have bent it in an even more pre-emptive direction. Bill Clinton talked about “checking global threats abroad before they threaten our territory” by “enlarging the community of democratic and free market nations.” George W. Bush’s National Security Strategy described a need to “extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent,” and because “the allies of terror are the enemies of civilization,” we must “hold to account nations that are compromised” and “deny them sanctuary at every turn.” 

Regime change is a uniquely American form of xenophobic naiveté. It’s not ignorance of the “Chemicals TURN THE FREAKIN’ FROGS GAY!” variety. It’s an even more dangerous type: bushy-tailed products of the Kennedy School and the Hoover Institute somehow cruising straight from top schools into positions of authority at places like the State Department and the NSC despite knowing less about the world than the average Survivor contestant or Men’s Health editor. Each may be only barely literate at graduation, but they’re all always certain of one thing: inside every foreigner lies a loyal, McNugget-loving American waiting to get out, and all the world’s problems will be solved if only they are all empowered.

I never met Victoria Nuland, but I knew scores of people like her in the expatriate community in Moscow. On Friday nights they binge-drank in clubs like the Hungry Duck like they were still on campus, often even dressing in their Harvard, Penn, and Princeton sweatshirts. The drunkenness made them like everyone else in town, only being monolingual they tended to go home mainly with each other rather than risk contamination with locals (I always imagined they read chapters of The Great Game to one another as foreplay). 

These people replaced the old Sovietologists who used to populate the embassy in Moscow, all linguists and accomplished historians who’d built careers mapping the vast geography of shadows behind the iron curtain. The old guard knew a lot but hadn’t been trained in the new binary language of “freedom” versus “evil,” and could never have been convinced that trying to turn Moldova or Georgia into Nebraska overnight would work. So they were replaced en masse in the Clinton years by people like Michael McFaul, human haircuts whose knowledge level was zero and whose idea of genius was Strobe Talbott, but were game for what they thought would be a simple social engineering project: just give all the old Soviet Republics, Russia included, little junior-America starter kits — constitutions, free markets, elections — and permanent ally states would instantly materialize.

Not only did this not happen, but the champions of democracy these people chose turned out to be a rogues’ gallery of wildly creative scoundrel-failures. Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili, taking office after the 2003 “Rose” revolution, was hounded not only by corruption charges but by accusations that his political prisoners were sexually abused in prison. Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the Tulip revolution hero, put his son in charge of business matters and was so infamous for corruption he ended up having to flee for his life to Minsk, of all places. Boris Yeltsin nearly drank the entire net worth of the Kremlin State Property committee and was so unpopular that national referendums on his rule might have been fixed twice — once in 1993, and once in the infamous “Yanks to the Rescue” election of 1996 — just to keep the locals from voting in someone else.

Yeltsin’s rep as a Western puppet who brutalized the press, blew off a national non-payment crisis suffered by miners and other working-class laborers, and didn’t crack down on years of rampant capital flight (engineered by his thieving oligarch pals) out of a starving country, led directly to the widespread support for his hand-picked successor, the vicious nationalist Putin. This raises the question: if we succeed in deposing Putin over Ukraine, what evidence is there that we won’t end up with someone even worse than Putin in the Kremlin in very short order, like we did last time? Who thinks we wouldn’t screw this up on a grand scale, given that we already botched it once? Any replacement for Putin the U.S. would find acceptable would have to evince a range of views putting him or her directly at odds with most of the population, like for instance a tolerance for NATO expansion. The seeds of reaction would be there from the jump. That’s in the lucky case we don’t provoke civilization-ending nuclear war en route to helping install a new Russian leader.

The people who run our foreign policy look back at the incredible record of failure of American regime change efforts — hundreds of thousands dead in Indonesia, maybe two million in Indochina — and are incapable of seeing the basic truth on that was on display for all the world to see in Iraq, and also now in Ukraine: people will fight to the death rather than accept any kind of foreign rule. For people like this, regime change efforts never failed because they were doomed insane paranoia, but because of overlooked logistical errors, like not sending ground troops into Laos to block the Ho Chi Minh Trail. 

Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who became a #Resistance hero for speaking out about his differences with Donald Trump, wrote a whole book called “Dereliction of Duty” that argued America lost in Vietnam because Johnson and Kennedy wouldn’t listen to the Joint Chiefs, who “always knew what was needed to win in Vietnam,” like a “large increase in the number of advisers.” He leaves out our massacres of civilians, herding of locals into “strategic hamlets,” and use of child-disfiguring Agent Orange, and the resistance all this inspired. McMaster is now a go-to quote about the need for regime change in Russia. These people will never stop believing regime change just needs more time under the hood, and it’ll work the next time. 

As was the case with Saddam Hussein, the argument here isn’t for leaving a monster like Putin in power. It’s about not inviting something worse to take his place — an Ayatollah, Islamic State, a resupplied Taliban — through inerrant arrogance and incompetence. Are we really going to do this again? How many times is enough?

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Divide, Griftopia, and The Great Derangement, is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary.


  1. Oh, let’s look at some real journalism here:

    The Rhodes Scholars Guiding Biden’s Presidency
    While the WEF’s Young Global Leader program has recently become infamous, it follows the model of a much older program and think tank established with the ill-begotten gains of Cecil Rhodes.


    The recent, pandemic-ridden years have involved a steep and often traumatic learning curve for many citizens across the Trans Atlantic. One particularly shocking revelation that has ripped virally across the internet in recent days revolves around the revelations that the World Economic Forum’s ‘Young Global Leaders’ have been positioned across western governments and powerful private institutions over the past three decades.

    Videos of Klaus Schwab bragging that Young Leaders have been positioned across the governments of Canada, Argentina, Europe and beyond are now being posted across social media platforms on a daily basis, confirming the suspicions of many that the World Economic Forum is not a benign business networking operation, as it has tried to project for the credulous. Rather, it is something much darker and insidious.

    Set up in 1993 as the Global Leaders of Tomorrow and renamed WEF Young Leaders Forum in 2004 (fueled with funds from such benevolent institutions as JP Morgan Chase and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), over 1400 young leaders (under the age of 38) from both public and private sectors have been processed through the program. For those tapped to become members of this elitist clique, they agree to attend six years of regular WEF conferences featuring seminars, focus groups and other special experiences both at Davos and at regional WEF events, at which point they graduate and become “alumni” who, in turn, become capable of nominating future young leaders.

    Just a tiny sampling of the prominent figures who have been processed and installed into positions of influence to advance the WEF globalist agenda over the past 30 years include Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy, Emmanuel Macron, Tony Blair, Mark Zuckerberg, José Manuel Barroso, Bill Gates, Chrystia Freeland, Pete Buttigieg, Jacinda Arden (PM New Zealand), Jack Ma (Ali Baba founder), Larry Fink (Blackrock CEO), Larry Page (Google founder), Lynn Forrester de Rothschild (Council for Inclusive Capitalism founder), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder), Peter Thiel (Paypal founder), Leonardo Di Caprio (tool), Richard Branson (Virgin Records CEO), Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder), Stephan Bancel (Moderna CEO), Pierre Omidyar (Ebay co-founder), Alizia Garza (co-founder BLM), Jonathan Soros (son of sociopath) and, according the Schwab, himself “half the Canadian Cabinet” under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    As important as it is to hold this disturbing fact in mind, it is even more important not to lose sight of the deeper historical forces at play and the older institutional practice of talent searching young blood upon which the YGL Program is based.

      1. “At a mass meeting thought is eliminated. And because this is the state of mind I require, because it secures to me the best sounding-board for my speeches, I order every one to attend the meetings, where they become a part of the mass whether they like it or not, “intellectuals” and bourgeois as well as workers.”

        -Adolf Hitler, in Herman Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction: Hitler Speaks; quoted in George Seldes, The Great Quotations (Seacaucus, NJ: Castle Books, 1977), p. 320.

    1. The WEF seems to be even worse than the Illuminati and the lizard people… in fact, I’d have a hard time believing they’re not one and the same.

  2. I wont be holding my breath on Zelensky in regards of genuinely attempting to negotiate in peace talks. Being he’s constantly making accusations of war crimes against Russia without providing any proof. Just now accusing them of executing civilians. It seems he’s actually still playing the role of disinformation for the west which suggest he wants the war to continue also.

    I’m not real comfortable with referring to Putin as a monster either. The article is basically quite acceptable up to that point. I’d have to have a lot more proof on the multiple accusations made against him over the years before I would put him in the same category as Saddam Hussein. And our past presidents since at least Reagan who I’d consider more widely of being monsters in regards to reasoning of war and degree of death and damages.

    Quite frankly, Putin has always been in a position of defending against western imperialism, both for his own country and others. Which he was forced into a corner currently in Ukraine, again. It’s notable also with all the references of his KGB days that there’s virtually no use of evidence of actions of his provided that would indicate such a label either. Lets be honest here. In regards to the spy aspect and oligarchy structure, he has been pretty much forced into being a part of, they both tend to operate in a collective manor.

    As a citizen in the US, by this standard, I can be considered a monster for my governments actions despite my constant opposing views. I’m forced to support a structure I don’t agree with as I’m left with no options in order to survive in it. Does serve me justice towards my fellow citizens to refer to them as monsters when I can’t persuade them to seek information outside of the MSCM perception management as another regard?

    So isn’t Putin forced into survival mode for himself and his country within a structure he might not agree with. Can only fight for from within? How can we as a collective deny his claims as so if he isn’t given the chance and ability to change the structure while it’s constantly under attack from both the outside and inside due to interferences.

    As you noted in the article, as a product of the Yeltsin and Clinton administration, Putin’s crime to me is the seemingly appearance that he chose to oppose the agenda they believed they were setting a course for? The conditions of scenarios since may have merely been managed to be observed as extreme as some drastic measure were forced to limit worse conditions. As we’re witnessing in Ukraine.

    1. Get real. Read other truly different sources. So Putin goes after real monsters — Nazis — and so the monster slayer is now a monster? Give us a break with this nonsense!

      Trump’s attempts to limit China’s development through trade war methods have failed. At the same time, they boomeranged at the United States itself. Then the Americans opened a biological war front by launching the coronavirus in China, hoping that the Chinese leadership would not cope with this epidemic and chaos would arise in China. However, the epidemic has demonstrated the low efficiency of healthcare and has created chaos in the United States itself. The Chinese system of government has shown much greater efficiency here as well. In the Celestial Empire, the mortality rate is significantly lower, and the pandemic was dealt with much faster there. Already in 2020, they even reached economic growth of 2 percent, while in the United States there was a decline of 10 percent of GDP (analysts noted the largest drop since the Second World War – ed. note). Now the Chinese have restored the growth rate of about 7 percent per year, and there is no doubt that the PRC will continue to develop confidently, expanding the production of a new technological order.

      In parallel with the trade war against China, American intelligence services were preparing a war against Russia, since the Anglo-Saxon geopolitical tradition considers our country the main obstacle to establishing world domination of the US and British power and financial elite. It must be said that the war against the Russian Federation unfolded immediately after the annexation of Crimea and after the American special services organized a coup d’état in Ukraine. It can be said that they tricked Russia into agreeing to the American occupation of Ukraine, considering it as a temporary phenomenon. However, the Americans took root on ‘Ukrainian Independence’, created not only strongholds, growing Nazis under their wing, but also trained the Nazi armed forces, gave the Nazis the opportunity to receive a military education, trained them in their academies, ‘sewed together’ all the Armed Forces of Ukraine with them. And for 8 years they have been preparing the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the fight against the only enemy – Russia. While the mass media, which in Ukraine are also completely controlled by the Americans, formed the image of the enemy in the public mind.

    2. William E. Flowers,
      Thank you for a considered, intelligent comment. I agree with you and wish there were more people capable of seeing events from another’s view. People label Putin without listening to him. He’s rarely given credit for turning the USSR around into the country I found when last there.

      1. Even as the USSR, cold war period, we were under a massive negative propaganda campaign then also. Stalin of course was no angel, but after Stalinism, much of what we were fed was also a large degree of nonsense. If you were there I imagine you know this. I work with someone that was in the middle east working for a private contractor during the Iraq war. He was dating a Russian woman while over there for a while in which her family informed him of the delusional reality the west was spewing during that period. Most Russian’s think American’s are basically senseless in brainless indoctrination. We simply aren’t properly informed of the real conditions there or how European citizens react to western actions. Currently many are protesting against sending more weapons to Ukraine which our media don’t show. !Not in our name! There’s no genuine means to come to peace, only extending the war.

    3. Very nice response to MT’s article. I disagree with his banding about terms like “lunatic” and “monster” to describe Putin. The lunatics and monsters are the ones who have caused the death of 20-30 million people across the planet through wars of aggression, proxy wars and regime change operations since the end of WW2, and that would be the USA. I support Russia without reservation.

  3. Regime change doesn’t work most of the time, but Iran, Chile, Brazil, and Honduras are clear exceptions. Whether regime change works is secondary. The most important issue is that it’s IMMORAL. It’s up to the people living in a region or a country to decide who they want as a leader or which government they want, not up to the U.S. or anyone else.

  4. Regime change is not necessary. Leaving the country disabled by sanctions, economic or civil war or incompetent leaders are all “mission accomplished”. The country is no longer a threat to US hegemony, but rather a threat that anyone thinking of challenging the empire will end up the same way — destroyed, e.g. the example of Venezuela is trotted out for every election in Central and South America.

  5. I wonder which is really closer to destabilizing collapse, the U.S. or Russia – the East or the West. Regime change won’t work for any of us peons, especially those in the U.S., until energy and capital kings are no more. Those kings hold the power. We can’t know what they don’t want us to know. I don’t have a solution for Russia, but if integrity counts for anything, they are ahead of the U.S. As for my fellow citizens, trust and truth are lacking, eh? It seems the only ones reading, studying, thinking, are the anarchists. I wonder how that turns out in a nation of rules.

  6. Sanctions backfire as Polish PM remarked yesterday….more unity and optimism in Russia today than before denazification began Feb 22 according to Chinese poll published yesterday…Rouble now exchanges vs dollar at better rate than mid February and Russian commodities now cost 50-200% more for EU/anglo nations…while inflation is rampant in anglo/EU nations–especially regarding food/energy there is none in Russia, except for imported “luxury products”

  7. The imperialist west, in which the United States is the standard-bearer, has a long and illustrious history of generating war propaganda:

    -In 1898, Hearst and Pulitzer led the charge in assigning blame for the destruction of the USS Maine to the Spanish, which led to the start of the Spanish-American war. While this war was “small” compared to the great wars which followed it, and while it is essentially buried in the consciousness of the public in the United States in 2022, it did set an important precedent, in that its demonization of a foreign enemy provided rationalization and cover for the U.S. establishing Neo-colonial hegemony in the Western Hemisphere.

    -Nazi Germany, of course, were masters of these tactics, from using the 1933 Reichstag Fire as a springboard to their seizure of state power, to generating the myth that Stalin deliberately engineered the Holomodor famine in order to manufacture enmity towards Russians and the USSR in Ukraine, a myth which looms especially large in the current moment.

    -In 1964, the U.S., in concert with its reactionary proxies (sound familiar too?) in South Vietnam, fabricated the story of an attack on the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin (The NSA and the U.S. military themselves admit this). This story was used as the principal justification for over a decade of outright genocidal U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

    -More recently, many of us recall that the impetus for the Invasion of Iraq, which led to the deaths of at least a million Iraqis, was the notion that Saddam Hussein was hiding “weapons of mass destruction.” This, of course, was not true, either.

    One could go on and on with similar examples throughout western history; these examples focus on the U.S. and the Nazis, because their methodologies and their proliferation of war against people deemed racially or socially inferior are fairly similar, and because their ideologies play considerable roles in the context of the current conflict in Ukraine.

  8. I think it is time, past time,for a regime change here at home – toss out the D/R duopoly – they “cannot remain in power”

    1. Unfortunately… Biden Trump GOP DNC all of them, we are their supporters until …. Well Scheer Cowboys and Cowgirls know what until means ….

      Sick sick USA. Consortium News:

      An international aid group warned last week that Afghanistan is on the brink of complete collapse as the Biden administration and European governments refuse to release the war-torn nation’s central bank reserves, depriving the economy of critical funds as millions face poverty and starvation.

      In a statement ahead of an international donor conference for Afghanistan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said the country “is now the world’s largest-ever humanitarian appeal, requiring a staggering $4.47 billion in humanitarian aid — quadruple the needs at the start of 2021 and more than is required for either Syria or Yemen.”

      Since the Taliban retook power last August following two decades of U.S.-led warfare, IRC noted, “the speed of Afghanistan’s economic collapse has been unprecedented.” Following the withdrawal of American troops, the Biden administration froze billions of dollars in Afghan central bank assets held in the U.S. despite warnings that the move would push the country closer to full-scale economic ruin.

      Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order aiming to permanently seize Afghanistan’s assets and split them between the families of 9/11 victims and an ill-defined “trust fund” for Afghans. Blocked from accessing its own reserves, Kabul has struggled to afford even the import taxes on containers of badly needed food.

      Moreover, the Biden administration has left in place crippling economic sanctions that could kill more civilians than 20 years of war, according to one analyst.

      1. @Paul
        The U.S. wrecked Afganistan over 40 years ago when it armed and funded the fanatic Mujaheddin. Those fanatics turned into the Taliban, which turned into al Qaeda, which spawned ISIS, etc. But I guess that wasn’t good enough for the U.S., now it has to starve Afghanis too. The U.S. is now committing two major human rights crimes and possibly genocides, the other being in Yemen. We’re number one!

      2. Paul,
        The US is determined to destroy Afghanistan one way or another – starvation as revenge for our humiliation …

  9. There is no shortage of psychopaths in D.C. The power hungry may go to Nukes to prevent the inevitable imploding of their U.S. empire. The great awakening has to happen NOW.

  10. Good piece by MT again. But one thing in his writing, i dont understand and accept. Why to prefix Putin with some evil adjective like monster. Whats the point in that. I think Putin is no different to other superpower leaders. For sure there is repression and bad stuff in Russia as there are in US or Europe but for average russians the Putin era has certainly been quite good times. Also if one studies the speeches Putin has given during these decades, he is not insulting anybody and always proposing diplomacy.

    1. Well, using the term “evil” as a modifier could be deployed to a vast majority of, well, fill in the blank. Fortune 10,000 CEOs, multimillionaires, billionaires, and so many more. Except, MT is really just a frat boy, in essence, tied to sports and celebrity fawning. Easy to call Putin Evil, for sure. From the safety of a keyboard and sitting in your underwear.

      Here, over at Consortium News, some decent analysis of the media, to include guys like MT:

      So far as I know, this is the first war in modern history with no objective, principled coverage in mainstream media of day-to-day events and their context. None. It is morn-to-night propaganda, disinformation and lies of omission — most of it fashioned by the Nazi-infested Zelensky regime in Kiev and repeated uncritically as fact.

      There is one thing worse than this degenerate state of affairs. It is the extent to which the media’s malpractice is perfectly fine to most Americans. Tell us what to think and believe no matter if it is true, they say, and we will think and believe it. Show us some pictures, for images are all.

      There are larger implications to consider here. Critical as it is that we understand this conflict, Ukraine is a mirror in which we see ourselves as we have become. For more Americans than I wish were so, reality forms only in images. These Americans are no longer occupants of their own lives. Risking a paradox, what they take to be reality is detached from reality.

      This majority — and it is almost certainly a majority — has no thoughts or views except those first verified through the machinery of manufactured images and “facts.” Television screens, the pages of purportedly authoritative newspapers, the air waves of government-funded radio stations — NPR, the BBC — serve to certify realities that do not have to be real, truths that do not have to be true.

      This leaves us in a sad and very parlous place.

      1. Paul, right again.
        Thanks. You will like Patrick Lawrence’s “The Bubble of Pretend” today in Consortium News

      2. Oh, sorry, saw you already read it. Should have known. If you quote from it do you use quotation marks?

    2. Thanks.
      I like Putin, always have. I listen to him (many hours), read what he writes, have watched him try diplomacy over and over and over. The US is too stupid, greedy and arrogant to respond in kind. Why writers feel the need (pressure) to put a negative descriptive in front of his name is annoying, especially if it’s a writer who is admirable otherwise.

      1. @Rob Roy
        I watched Oliver Stone’s entire interview with Putin. Putin seemed totally reasonable, far more so than any U.S. politician or elected official. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t do bad things or that he’s good, but he’s clearly not as bad as U.S. presidents. All leaders of countries, especially big ones, have oversized egos or they wouldn’t be in those positions, and politicians like as a matter of course. But the constant denigrating of Putin as evil or a war criminal, especially when coming from anyone in the U.S., is totally ludicrous.

      2. Rob. You are listening to Igor Lopatonok the director of Ukraine on Fire, right? He’s on now. Forget the Jeff’s of the world. Igor … Ukrainian and Russian and American. The Jeff’s of the world have zero idea what Russia and Russian history mean to Russians and Putin. Igor does.

      3. @Paul
        What exactly are you talking about? Regarding my comments, about what do I have no idea?

        And BTW, I saw Ukraine on Fire, very good film exposing some good details about the crap that the U.S. and its CIA pulled.

      4. Paul,
        I noticed you were watching the UNAC with Scott Ritter. Best talk on the Ukraine war so far. Too bad most of the US won’t hear him. He’s my go-to guy for this kind of insight. Peace, Rob

      5. Yes, indeed,Rob. People on that UNAC chat were complaining about Democracy Now and Amy Goodman. I interviewed her years ago on my radio show. I also challenged her at a Green Festival for not really knowing much about all seven daggers tied to global heating. But I pointed out in the chat she works closely with East Coast elites, white, and that she is heavily supported by Soros’ groups. And that white elites who align themselves to tribalism a la Judaism is problematic. I was then called out by other chatters for ‘antisemitism isn’t cool’. Absurd.

        Take a look at Joe’s piece today on Consortium News. Israel is taken down big time for their racism and hypocrisy. You’ll never see this on DN. Aaron Mate left DN quickly. Now on Grayzone. Cancel culture based on calling Israel their mother ship is racist and bigoted.

      6. Jeff,
        Not Putin. When he says something, he means it. If he says he will do something, he does it. Try to catch him in a lie. You can’t. You were thinking of the US and the UK. They lie when they say anything at all.

      7. @Rob Roy
        We don’t live in Russia, so we only see a very little of what Putin says. I can’t imagine a politician who doesn’t lie, it’s a major part of what they all do. I’m not just thinking of politicians in the U.S. and U.K., I’m thinking of ALL of them.

      8. @Rob Roy
        I forgot to add that just because the U.S. is the root cause of this problem and the major evil on the planet, there’s no reason to lionize Putin. Sure, he seems a lot more reasonable in international affairs than the U.S. and its lackeys, but you’re comparing levels of evil, not good v. bad.

    3. @Vesa Sainio
      The U.S. & western propaganda machines are spewing BS about how evil Putin is because they want everyone to hate him, thereby justifying whatever they do to Russia. Unfortunately, almost everyone, including actual progressives like Tiabbi have fallen for this. It doesn’t help that Putin actually is evil, even though he’s not as evil as U.S. presidents (all leaders of big countries are evil, and the U.S. has done more harm to the world by far since the end of WWI than any other country).

    4. Hi Vesa, do you know where can one obtain English-language translations of Putin’s speeches? I have only been able to read a short translation of some of his 50-minute speech on why he decided to perform a military action in Ukraine.
      Thank you also for your comments.

      1. @Helen+Londe,+MD
        Watch Oliver Stone’s long interview with Putin from several years ago if it hasn’t been censored. That will give you a good idea of how he thinks, regardless of whether you believe his answers.

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