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Former CIA director says Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine worked to 'make NATO great again'

·3 min read
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David Petraeus
David Petraeus, a retired general and former CIA director.Jae C. Hong/AP Photo
  • Retired Gen. Petraeus said that Russia's actions in Ukraine have strengthened the resolve of NATO.

  • In a CNN interview, Petraeus praised the efforts of NATO, the EU, and the US in aiding Ukraine.

  • "Instead of making Russia great again, what Putin has done is to make NATO great again," he said.

Retired Gen. David Petraeus said Russian President Vladimir Putin's drive to occupy Ukraine has allowed the United States to reassure allies of its role on the international stage and has strengthened the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In an interview with CNN published on March 15, Petraeus — a former CIA director who also led troops during the Iraq War and commanded US forces in Afghanistan — discussed the "dramatic" nature of how President Joe Biden's administration moved to send arms to Ukraine.

"The effort by the Biden administration to arm the Ukrainians and the actions of our Western partners has been really quite dramatic, especially in the immediate run-up to the invasion and then following it. You see that Germany, which would only send helmets prior to the invasion, agreed to give lethal weapons," he said.

He continued: "Even the EU agreed to send 500 million euros' worth of military and other aid to Ukraine. So, there were revolutionary policy changes just days after the invasion began."

When asked by CNN if he was surprised by the actions, Petraeus praised the efforts of NATO, the EU, and the US.

"I think that the Biden administration has performed impressively, and I say this as someone who publicly criticized the administration for the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and the conduct of the withdrawal in August 2021," he told the network.

In an August 2021 interview with The New Yorker, Petraeus, who oversaw the 2007 surge of troops in the Iraq War that was meant to reverse setbacks that the US faced in the country, defended Afghan military forces against charges of why they weren't able to maintain the stability of the country.

"I just think it was premature to leave," the retired general said at the time. "Now, you can say, 'Well, when do you leave?' Ideally, you say that there are certain conditions."

Petraeus went on to say that some of the US's adversaries observed the nature of the Afghanistan withdrawal to make the argument that the US had become an unreliable and waning influence throughout the world.

But the retired general said that the US's response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine reflected the steadiness of American leadership.

"Hearteningly, I think that US actions and those of our allies around the world on Ukraine have shown that the US is a dependable partner and is not a great power in decline," he told CNN. "If anything, instead of making Russia great again, what Putin has done is to make NATO great again."

Petraeus served as the CIA director under President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2012 until he was forced to resign after it was disclosed that he had an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Officials accused him of sharing classified information with Broadwell.

Biden is set to travel to Europe this week for an emergency NATO meeting in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced last Tuesday that he wanted the alliance's leaders to convene in Brussels to discuss their response to Russia's actions.

"We will address #Russia's invasion of #Ukraine, our strong support for Ukraine, and further strengthening NATO's deterrence & defence," he tweeted. "At this critical time, North America & Europe must continue to stand together."

Read the original article on Business Insider