Earlier this week General Milley publicly opined that the ‘chaotic’ withdrawal from Afghanistan may have been a factor for Putin deciding to invade Ukraine.
The inability of the United States to evacuate its own personnel, as well as its allies, before the country was overrun was a complete failure. The waning influence of the U.S. and weakness of President Joe Biden has created an environment where our adversaries feel emboldened.
Afghanistan is not the only data point that was available to Putin. Joe Biden’s now infamous speech where he intimated that the United States would tolerate a ‘minor incursion’ seemed to implicitly give the green light to an invasion.
The Western powers have seemed content to ignore the warnings coming out of Russia for the last decade with regards to NATO’s eastward expansion. During the original breakup of the USSR, the United States gave verbal assurances that the NATO alliance would not expand to threaten Russia’s borders.
Russia has a centuries-old history of being attacked by foreign invaders stretching back to Ghengis Khan and the Mongols. It is in the DNA of the Russian people to be concerned about invasion. Subsequent administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have ignored this reality, and have sought to exert maximum pressure on Putin.
The political games of the last five years suggesting that there was a Russian boogeyman under every mattress did not help matters. It hamstrung the Trump administration from engaging in meaningful diplomacy with Putin, fearing claims of collaboration.
Regardless of what you think of General Milley, the fact that he is acknowledging any mistakes by Biden does not bode well for the president.