Former National Security Adviser John Bolton Criticizes Biden’s Approach to Russia, Says Action Is Needed

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
February 18, 2024Politics
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton Criticizes Biden’s Approach to Russia, Says Action Is Needed
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a panel hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran – U.S. Representative Office (NCRI-US) at the Willard Inter Continental Hotel in Washington on Aug. 17, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has criticized President Joe Biden’s approach to Russia and its ongoing conflict with Ukraine, saying that the president’s strong words need to be followed up with action.

In an interview with Newsmax’s “Eric Bolling The Balance” on Feb. 16, Mr. Bolton said that although the president expressed a tough stance towards Russia, it had no teeth.

“Well, you know, Biden, like a lot of world leaders, is great at expressing outrage. But when it comes to doing something, it’s usually deficient,” Mr. Bolton said.

He went on to say that the sanctions implemented on Russia did not have a good impact. Mr. Bolton’s remarks came after the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in a Russian prison on Feb. 16.

“You know, we were supposed to have put the Russian economy in a tailspin after they invaded Ukraine. The sanctions have failed. And you know, if we wanted to do something really to put pressure on Russia because of Navalny’s death, making those sanctions work would be a good start,” he added.

Mr. Bolton said that sanctions did nothing to stop Russia’s war effort or impact Russia in any significant way.

“I mean, I won’t get into the technical details; but Russia’s economy certainly has been hurt somewhat, but it’s functioning,” he said. “And it is still carrying on the war in Ukraine. So you know this is why [Russian President Vladimir] Putin hears this kind of tough rhetoric all the time, and then he doesn’t see results, and he thinks he can get away with whatever his next act is.”

President Biden reportedly told his Russian counterpart in June 2021 that Russia would face devastating consequences in the event of Mr. Navalny’s death, though no specific course of action was specified.

“I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Mr. Biden said at the time, as reported by Politico.

During a press conference at the White Hosue on Feb. 16, the president expressed outrage at Navalny’s death, adding however, that he was not surprised, and directed the blame for Navalny’s passing at the Russian president.

“Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death,” he said shortly after the news broke, but noted that “Russian authorities are going to tell their own story.”

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did,” he added.

The president praised Mr. Navalny’s efforts of standing up to Putin, even during his imprisonment, saying that Navalny was everything that Putin is not and that he stood bravely by his beliefs even up to his death.

Mr. Biden then went on to say that additional steps against Russia are being considered, but without elaborating further.

“We’re contemplating what else can be done. We’re looking at a whole number of options; that’s all I’ll say right now,” he told reporters.

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