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John Bolton admits he helped plan coups

By Richard Cullen

John Bolton was the national security advisor to President Trump from 2018 to 2019. He worked in important roles for Republican Administrations in the US dating back to the Reagan era. He has now admitted that he helped plan coups.

During a recent interview on CNN, it was put to John Bolton that “One doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup.” Bolton responded that he disagreed and went on to observe that, “As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat – not here [in the US] but, you know, other places – it takes a lot of work.”

According to a Washington Post article in 2016. the US tried to change governments in other countries 72 times between 1947 and 1989 Bolton confirmed US involvement in the unsuccessful plot by the Venezuelan opposition leader to displace President Nicholas Maduro, following elections in 2018. In 2007, Bolton regretted America’s apparent loss of the ability to overthrow foreign governments. See: “John Bolton Admits Planning Coups: ‘Not Here But, You Know, Other Places’.”



This article was originally published on Pearls and Irritations.

Richard Cullen is a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. He was previously a Professor in the Department of Business Law and Taxation at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.




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  1. Phil Pryor

    Bolton, the beastly bastardly blot on civilised behaviour, is so flexible in personal matters, he can compress, cavort, convolute, and polish the pod in no time, a reward for his service and duty in imagining the utter controlled perversion of decent behaviour, Bolton in active shit, plopping for the immense satisfaction of his degenerate ego, his perverted outlook, his corrupt id, his egofixated self fascination, What a huge mountain of corrupt and immoral filth, USA sourced, like the shit food, drink, advertising, commerce, politics, most products, most people in politics, media, advertising, corporate management, media mangy maggoty misfittery. If the USA shrinks, and recedes,up its own fundament of unaware social attitude, political farcicality, attitudinal aridity, who cares???

  2. Fred

    A 26 out of 72 success rate for regime change attempts is rubbish, particularly as there is doubt the “assistance provided” made any difference in the 26 “successes”, i.e. most would have occurred without/despite the assistance. Coupled with the leaders of the “successful” changes not following US “directions”, the concept of the CIA successfully implementing regime change is a fallacy. If the outcomes of the recent arguably illegal direct invasions are included i.e. Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the best way of describing the US foreign policy of the last 40 years is “a total basket case”. Mind you, if their supreme court continues on their political agenda civil war could well happen – they’ve got plenty of guns to do it with. 🙂

  3. New England Cocky

    @ Fred: Uhm …. I think you need to widen your research base. During the mid-70s I worked with a former IT&T executive who had signed a cheque for six MILLION dollars ($6,000,000.00) to the CIA to part finance the CIA incursions in Chile against the democratically elected Allende socialist government. The IT&T CEO Hal Geneen, had attempted to buy Republican President Nixon for a one MILLION dollar ($1,000,0000.00) donation, 20 owned corporations each provided donations of $50,000, to the Republican Party.

    The outcome of the Chile revolution was IT&T purchased Chile Telephone assets for a song, and sold them on to Alan Bond for $28 MILLION.

    With friends like the Americans supplying third rate sometimes obsolete military equipment to Australia, why do Australian voters need enemies?

  4. leefe

    Bolton is proof you don’t need to be brilliant. Just determined, arrogant and nasty.

  5. Douglas Pritchard

    AC, So you rule out the possibility that Putins reaction could be a direct result of USA foreign policy, which could be deeply flawed?
    Isnt it the role of the CIA to light the fuse in each and every ding dong, so that the US arms industry can come to their rescue?
    Find me a conflict where the USA did not figure prominently.
    Incidentally the Ukraine situation would not be in its 5th month without Americas intervention.

  6. A Commentator

    I removed that comment, because it was probably a little off topic. However, as you have replied, I’ll say- no one other than Putin decided that invasion of Ukraine was the preferred option.
    Putin is cunning enough not to be manipulated into war.
    The decision is his, and the consequences can entirely be assigned to that rich, expansionist murderous fascist

  7. Michael Taylor

    It’s good that we live in democracies where such things can be exposed.

    In some countries – past and present – ruthless dictators murder people with such knowledge before the truth gets out.

  8. totaram

    leefe, you left out an important ingredient, deep pockets. The depth of the pockets is proportional to the gain that could accrue from the “regime change”.

  9. leefe


    True. It would seem I’ve become so accustomed to corruption and the money motive that I don’t even think about them any more. That’s depressing.

  10. Fred

    NEC: Correct, everybody could do more research. However, there is a certain point at which further investigation of a topic reaches a depth that begs the question “Do I really want to become a subject matter expert / do a PHD on this?”. With due respect, $6M doesn’t buy much regime change. Having worked for a multi-national computer company, the costs associated simply with product “internationalisation” eclipsed this number.

    Apart from a military coup, for assisted regime change to occur there has to be a viable alternative that receives a “bit of help”. If not the cost and time of creating a viable alternative is large.

    It strikes me that state meddling in other state elections/politics is driven by arrogant a-holes who think it is their right/destiny to do so but are not powerful enough to able to inflict a war. (By that I mean either they are not at the top such as PM/President/King/etc, or if they are at the top they do not have enough control over the population to do anything they please.) From what I’ve seen of Bolton, I’d be surprised if a hand in any of:

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