Senior US General: The potential for “significant international conflict” is increasing

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Millie, and Defense Minister Lloyd Austin appeared before the House Armed Services Committee during their first testimony in Congress since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both Pentagon officials have said that threats from both Russia and China remain significant, while defending the U.S. approach to war and the flow of weapons the U.S. is sending to Ukraine.

Millie said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “the greatest threat to the peace and security of Europe and perhaps the world” over 42 years of service in the U.S. military, but added that it was “joyful” to see the world rally around Ukraine.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to undermine not only European peace and stability, but also world peace and stability, which my parents and a generation of Americans have fought so hard to defend,” Millie said.

“We are now facing two global powers: China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, which intend to fundamentally change the rules based on the current global order,” Millie added. “We are entering a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and the potential for significant international conflict is increasing, not decreasing.”

At the hearings, lawmakers on both sides focused on arms supplied to Ukraine and wondered if more could be done as Ukraine continues to ask for more opportunities.

“One of the most important questions we will have on this committee is, ‘How can we do more?'” Said Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington. “How can we make sure we’re doing our best to help them?”

MP Mike Rogers of Alabama, the group’s top Republican, said he would support the US’s establishment of permanent bases in eastern NATO countries such as Poland and the Baltics to deter Russia. Millie said he would support the establishment of permanent bases, but added that he believed American forces should be saved through them to create a deterrent, not incurring the cost of family relocation, schooling and other measures needed if a permanent base The United States was established abroad.

“I believe that many of our European allies, especially in the Baltics, Poland, Romania or elsewhere, are very, very ready to set up permanent bases,” Milli said. “They will build them, they will pay for them, etc. so we ride on a rotating basis. So you get the effect of a constant presence of forces, but the actual individual soldiers, sailors, pilots or marines” was not there constantly 2 -3 years ».

Austin said NATO is still discussing how to strengthen its continued presence in Eastern Europe. “If NATO deems it appropriate to change its course, we will certainly be part of it,” Austin said.

Several Republicans asked Millie and Austin if the United States had failed in its efforts to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from attacking Ukraine. Millie said he did not think Putin could be restrained if American forces were not deployed from Ukraine, a scenario he would not have advised if it had been proposed.

“Honestly, except for attracting US troops to Ukraine, I’m not sure he could have been scared away. “I think the idea of ​​deterring Putin from invading Ukraine, deterring him from the United States would require the involvement of US forces, and I think that would threaten an armed conflict with Russia, which I would certainly not advise. ”

Millie noted that the sanctions “have a very bad experience of deterring aggression,” but said they had managed to inflict significant costs on Russia for its aggression.

“The purpose of sanctions is to incur significant costs when it invades, these significant costs, sanctions combined with export controls, break the back of the Russian economy when we speak,” he said.

Austin later added that if the United States “introduced forces into Ukraine to fight Putin, it would be a different story.”

“But we decided we weren’t going to do it, and we made the decision for the right reasons, and I support those decisions,” Austin said, adding that he didn’t want to speculate that Chinese leaders could extrapolate from what there is. . took place in Ukraine in connection with Taiwan.

Millie defended a U.S. military policy that requires the military to receive vaccinations from Covid-19, responding to several Republican inquiries that asked whether to fire servicemen for refusing vaccinations if the number of enlistments in the military dwindles.

Millie noted that servicemen should receive numerous vaccinations as part of enlistment in the military, such as the anthrax vaccine, and said the Covid-19 vaccine helped increase preparedness.

In a heated moment, Austin got into an argument with MP Matt Goetz after a Florida Republican accused the Pentagon of being too focused on “vakeism” rather than defense.

Austin accused Goetz of seeming to be “embarrassed for his country” by questioning the ability of the US military, and the two men shouted at each other at several points.

Goetz accused the Pentagon of “misunderstanding”, predicting that Russia would seize Ukraine in a matter of days and that the Taliban would not take control of Afghanistan last year. “You have completely ruined these calls, and perhaps we would have been better off if the National Defense University had actually worked a little more on strategy and a little less on vakeism,” Gaets said.

“Did it ever occur to you that Russia did not seize Ukraine because of what we did and what our allies did?” Austin asked. “Have you ever thought about that?”

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