The nation’s highest ranking military officer Thursday said America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan could have ‘certainly’ influenced Russian invasion of Ukraine, although it’s not clear.
Senator Marsh Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley if the Afghanistan withdrawal was a factor.
“From the intelligence I’ve read, it’s not clear,” replied Gen. Milley. “I think it certainly is possible, but I also know that Putin had aims on Ukraine long before the end of the war in Afghanistan.”
“I think we all know that,” responded Blackburn. “So he saw his opening, right?”
A video excerpt of the JCS Chairman’s testimony was posted to Twitter by the account @YWNReporter.
“Well, they began to build up their force in September, October,” Milley answered. “So, I think in order to do that, they would’ve had to have the plans and approval long before September, October.”
Senate Armed Services Committee members also explored Pentagon errors in assessing what would happen when Russia attacked.
“Assessing the will to fight in advance of a conflict like this is difficult,” said Senator Angus King (I-Maine) in March. Sen. King sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “If we had known in advance how strong the Ukrainians would be and how weak the Russians would be, we might have been able to preposition more equipment and had aid to the Ukrainians flow in faster, based on the assumption they had a real chance.”
Marc E. Polymeropoulos, a former senior C.I.A. official, said officers who train and work with foreign forces can accurately assess their will to fight. Washington analysts may overlook that information from field officers, according to a report in “The New York Times”.
“I think any operations officer would have told you that the Afghan regular army did not have that will to fight on their own, if we left, and consistently would have said that over and over again,” said Polymeropoulos.
Lessons learned from Afghanistan and Ukraine may help guide policy about bolstering Taiwan’s ability to defend against an attack from mainland China.
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