Question: What was your first take-away from the leaked emails of former NATO head Philip Breedlove?
Answer: Well I was not surprised; actually I was quite pleased to learn my previous assumptions about his scaremongering apropos Ukraine and Russia were spot on. Breedlove went out of his way to escalate the conflict after the forced regime change in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the U.S. and spinelessly agreed to by the EU. His behind the scenes lobbying of Washington’s “thinktankistan” attempted to undermine any diplomatic effort to return Ukraine to some kind of peace and stability. For this he is partly responsible for the senseless bloodletting in the east of that country.
Q.: In the leaked emails it is easy to draw the conclusion Breedlove was seeking a conflict with Russia over Ukraine. Is that a correct reading?
A.: Yes, but only to a degree. One thing is for sure – Breedlove wanted to broaden the conflict to 1) have Ukraine unofficially integrated into NATO and 2) draw Russia into the conflict in which Moscow would have to expend considerable resources and prestige. Also, from the emails it is clear to me Breedlove deemed the Ukraine conflict as a boon legitimizing the continued existence of a strong and heavily armed NATO on Russia’s doorstep. The Ukraine conflict proved to be this warmongers dream come true!
Q.: In one of the emails Breedlove writes to a Washington “thinktanker” – [C]an’t we get a statement to counteract the Russians on use of force? what can I do to help? If the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative, the Russians will see it as an open door.” What do you make of this?
A.: Yes, indeed, “If the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative, the Russians will see it as an open door.” This is probably the most interesting sentence leaked; it tells us about how Breedlove viewed the Ukraine conflict that Washington put into play in the first place. Breedlove knew full well Russia had not invaded Ukraine and would not. As much as he wanted this to happen, he knew the only other choice was to resort to cheap propaganda and disinformation. This explains Breedlove’s incredible exaggerations about Russian troops and military capacity in the Donbass, which were routinely refuted by German intelligence and even the Ukrainian military authorities!
Q.: In the emails Breedlove comes off very much as a hawk, but at the same time rather naïve when to comes the game of politicking. After all, he searched social media and Twitter for “intel” to back up his demands Russia must be confronted.
A.: Breedlove refused to assess the real political and military realities that existed in Ukraine. Those realities did not reinforce his mission objectives, as he understood them. He clearly had no interest in what was happening in Ukraine, to Ukrainian politics and the fate of the Ukrainian people. Breedlove attempted to create a prefect storm: reinvigorate NATO, expand the alliance eastward, deliver a crushing PR blow against Russia, and justification for new massive arms spending. Of course this was illusory. These puzzle pieces simple don’t fit. The reason they don’t fit is because Russia refused to take the bait. I can well imagine this fueled Breedlove’s anti-Russia obsession to no end. In the mean time Europe faced the very real security threats of horrific terrorism and an uncontrolled immigration/migration/refugee crisis. People like Breedlove can’t see real security threats, only those found in their imagination.
Q.: What do the Breedlove emails say about how Washington thinks about geopolitics?
A.: Importantly the emails show Washington and it military are hardly interested in diplomatic resolutions of conflicts. As I have often said on my CrossTalk program Washington only see nails in the world and it is one mighty hammer just itching to be put to use. The Ukraine crisis should have never happened. It was another “stupid” conflict invented in the halls of power in Washington and cowardly backed by the EU. Breedlove and his elk truly believe in American global hegemony – any real or perceived threat must be crushed, irrespective of the context and consequences. The fictional character Dr. Strangelove would easily recognize Gen. Breedlove as a soul mate.
Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His views may or may or may not reflect those of his employer.