Speed Reads

stand down, brutus

The U.S. is not working toward regime change in Russia, Blinken says

The U.S. and NATO are not imposing sanctions on Russia and offering military support to Ukraine with the goal of bringing about regime change in Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation.

Blinken told host Margaret Brennan that sanctions are already having a "devastating" impact on the Russian economy and that America's NATO allies have the "green light" to provide fighter jets to Ukraine.

Brennan then asked, "How do you convince [Russian President] Vladimir Putin that this isn't ultimately about regime change? How do you get him to back down?"

"For us, it's not about regime change. The Russian people have to decide who they want to lead them," Blinken responded. He went on to explain that he supports aiding Ukraine and sanctioning Russia in order to bring the war to a speedier end.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made similar comments on Friday, Reuters reported. "We are not advocating for killing the leader of a foreign country or regime change. That is not the policy of the United States," Psaki told reporters.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) raised the topic of regime change on Thursday when he called for a Russian "Brutus" to assassinate Putin. His remarks quickly drew condemnation from left and right.

"[G]lib talk of 'regime change' in Russia will probably produce more problems than solutions," Joel Mathis wrote for The Week after Putin invaded Ukraine. "The hawkish impulse might be understandable in the current crisis — who doesn't want to see a bully get a bloody nose, and get it right this instant? — but that doesn't make it smart: If a bully has a gun, the satisfaction that comes from punching him might be short-lived."