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Claytoonz: Regime change for Russia?

During a speech he was giving in Warsaw, Poland last week, President Joe Biden improvised and said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Biden was talking about Russian President Vladimir Putin. After he said it, everyone lost their shit because it’s never official U.S. policy to remove foreign leaders…except when it is. The United States has removed a lot of world leaders. Sometimes, the U.S. removes the leader of a nation with an invasion, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other times, it’s more covert and an operation of the CIA, which has engineered the removals of leaders in Africa, South America, and the Middle East. These things tend to come back and bite the United States in the ass. Remember the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis?

Secretary of State Antony Blinkin immediately released a statement saying, “Uh-uh, we don’t do that.” The White House scrambled with an official 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.”

In the past, President Biden has called Putin “soulless,” a “butcher,” a “pure thug,” a “murderous dictator,” and most recently, a “war criminal.” But it’s bad policy to publicly call for regime change unless you’re Donald Trump dropping bombs on Iranian generals or George W. Bush dropping bombs on Saddam Hussein’s palaces. During Bush the First’s Desert Storm, they never officially called for the removal or death of Saddam Hussein, but the weren’t trying to renovate his bathrooms either by dropping smart bombs on his palaces.

Now, Vladimir Putin will portray himself as the victim of U.S. aggression attempting to oust him from power…while he attempts to oust the president of Ukraine from power.

Biden said yesterday that he was not calling for regime change in Russia and his words were nothing more than “personal feelings” stemming from “moral outrage.” He said, “Nobody believes I was talking about taking down Putin.”

While a president shouldn’t call for the ouster of foreign leaders, I understand the desire that evil people don’t control entire nations. Biden shouldn’t have made that statement, but I’m not rushing to condemn it because the man he’s talking about removing tried to remove democracy from our nation.

Putin interfered in the 2016 presidential election in an operation called “Project Lakhta” to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and install Donald Trump into the White House.

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Under the Russian president’s orders, a troll farm was created in St. Petersburg, Russia called the Internet Research Agency. They created thousands of social media accounts pretending to be Americans in radical groups, from hyper leftists to white nationalists racists. They promoted events for Trump and spread misinformation about Hillary Clinton. Hackers from Russia’s military infiltrated the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and other Democratic groups. The stolen files and emails were then given to Wikileaks, DCLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, and the Trump campaign, which Donald Trump would read aloud at his hate rallies. The Russians even tried to directly give the Trump campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, with Don Jr. hosting the Russians in Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.

The Russian misinformation campaign is credited for Trump winning Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan by using Facebook ads to target voters leaning toward Jill Stein, which would take votes away from Hillary Clinton, thus giving Trump the state. Trump spent the next four years boasting about winning these states despite losing the popular vote to Clinton. Four years later, President Biden slipped all three of those states away from Trump with much larger margins than Trump had won them in 2016.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation couldn’t prove direct cooperation between Trump and Russia despite numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, but concluded that Russian interference was “sweeping,” “systematic” and “violated U.S. criminal law.”

Mueller indicted 26 Russian citizens and three Russian organizations. It also led to indictments and convictions of several Trump goons, several of whom were later pardoned by Trump.

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report that said the Russian government had engaged in an “extensive campaign” to sabotage the election in favor of Trump, which included assistance from some of Trump’s own advisers.

The GOP welcomed this interference and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused a request by President Obama to join him to denounce the attacks.

Donald Trump even publicly requested that Russia help his campaign.

From after the election to today, Donald Trump has continued to deny any Russian interference occurred or helped him win the White House. He even stood next to Vladimir Putin and took the Russian’s side over American intelligence saying, “My people came to me, (Director of National Intelligence) Dan Coats came to me and some others saying they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

We are still cleaning up from the puppet Putin put in charge of our nation.

President Biden is repairing NATO and other relationships with all our allies from the destruction of Putin’s orange-flavored shitweasel. For the next 30-40 years, we will have judges in federal courts who were installed by Putin’s election interference. Three members of the Supreme Court would not be there today, and for the rest of their lives, if not for the efforts of Vladimir Putin.

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Putin attacked our nation in 2016 with an orange shit bomb. He attacked it again in 2018 and in 2020. He’s attacked our democratic allies’ elections. And, he’s going to do it again in 2024.

If Putin succeeds with regime change in the next presidential election by installing Trump once again, I believe that’ll be the end of our democracy and the beginning of a fascist state controlled by cult worship.

So, yeah…we shouldn’t be happy with President Biden for saying out loud he wants a regime change in Russia. But the people who really don’t want regime change in Russia are Republicans who accepted Putin’s help with regime change in America.

Music Note: I started rocking out after I lettered and roughed this, and I listened to The Killers, Kings of Leon, a bunch of singles from other artists, and even got some Journey in.

Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning, and won a 2021 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at Claytoonz.com.

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