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Former Russian Amb: Putin ‘Increasingly Unhinged’ In Speaking Of ‘The Regime’

   DailyWire.com
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference with his Belarus counterpart, following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 18, 2022.
SERGEI GUNEYEV/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

On Sunday, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to discuss the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

During the segment, McFaul was asked by host Chuck Todd if he viewed Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “rational actor right now.”

McFaul responded, saying that “rational actor” is an elastic term, citing the Russian president’s reported nuclear posturing, and that he is concerned that Putin has been buying into his own propaganda for decades.

He’s increasingly unhinged in the way that he talks about the regime. Just yesterday, talking about Zelensky being a neo-Nazi — let’s remind everybody watching, he’s Jewish — and a drug addict. That doesn’t sound like somebody that’s going to sit down and negotiate a peaceful outcome.

Given his assessment, Todd asked McFaul what is to be done if the world is dealing with an “irrational actor.”

McFaul first said that he hopes General Milley is speaking with his Russian counterpart to clarify Putin altering the status of the nation’s nuclear deterrent forces. He added that “we need to support the Ukrainians who are fighting,” as well as a resistance if the regime should change.

“I think this is about the war, you know? The sanctions are great. I support them 100%. But they take months and years to have effect. It’s really about winning the war on the ground. We need to support the Ukrainians who are fighting,” McFaul said. “And three, if he succeeds in his ultimate objective, which is regime change, and force Zelensky out of power, arrest him, or kill him, we need to continue to support the resistance.”

TRANSCRIPT:

TODD: Ambassador McFaul, let’s go to another way that this could end. And that is if Putin either recalculates, and maybe that’s what these peace talks are about, or as Admiral Stavridis said to me on my podcast, “There’s a Julius Caesar solution.” What do you see right now with Putin? And do you think he’s a rational actor right now?

MCFAUL: You know, Chuck, that word “rational actor” is very elastic, right? To get kicked out of SWIFT, as happened to Russia yesterday, and then to have the president of Russia get in front of his generals and say, “We need to prepare for a nuclear war,” that doesn’t sound very rational to me. I’m nervous that Mr. Putin has been believing his propaganda for decades. Remember, this guy’s been in power for 22 years. He doesn’t listen to his aides. Even when I was ambassador eight years ago, he was very dismissive of anybody around him. He’s out at his compound, doesn’t come into town very much — and under COVID, he’s been more isolated. And if you watch and listen to him — and I met him in 1991, I’ve been watching him since he was prime minister in 1999. I sat in the room with him for five years when I worked in the Obama administration. I speak Russian, I listen to him, and I know what he says. He’s increasingly unhinged in the way that he talks about the regime. Just yesterday, talking about Zelensky being a neo-Nazi — let’s remind everybody watching, he’s Jewish — and a drug addict. That doesn’t sound like somebody that’s going to sit down and negotiate a peaceful outcome.

TODD: So if that’s the case, then how do you create policy if you know he’s an irrational actor?

MCFAUL: Well, one deterrence, of course, we need to be vigilant. This nuclear threat especially, I think, we need to respond to. I would hope that General Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, would be calling his counterpart today, Mr. Gerasimov, to clarify exactly what he meant by those statements. Number two, I think this is about the war, you know? The sanctions are great. I support them 100%. But they take months and years to have effect. It’s really about winning the war on the ground. We need to support the Ukrainians who are fighting. And three, if he succeeds in his ultimate objective, which is regime change, and force Zelensky out of power, arrest him, or kill him, we need to continue to support the resistance. I’m convinced, Chuck, there is no way that Ukrainians will submit to some kind of puppet regime from Russia. That is not going to happen. But to unravel that could take a long time.

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