US-led force may intervene in Ukraine conflict – ex-CIA chief – Reuters

The United States and its allies could join the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv even if there is no threat to NATO, says David Petraeus

The United States and its allies could intervene directly in the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kyiv even in the absence of a threat to NATO member states, retired US Army General David Petraeus to the French weekly L’Express. Washington could form a new coalition of the willing in such a scenario and use it instead of NATO, believes Petraeus, who also served briefly as CIA director.

Russia could take steps in Ukraine that would be « so shocking and so horrible » that it would elicit a response from the United States and other countries, he said, adding that they « could respond one way or another, but as a multinational force led by the United States and not as a NATO force. »

The military alliance would still be bound by its treaty and would only join the conflict if Article 5 was invoked, meaning if one of its members was attacked, the general believes. Petraeus also said that Moscow was not interested in escalating the conflict and turning it into a world war. A larger conflict is « the last thing » Russian President Vladimir Putin needs right now, he added.

Earlier in October, Petraeus claimed that the United States could wipe out all Russian forces in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, if Moscow used nuclear weapons in Ukraine. On Saturday, he doubled down on those words by saying that Washington’s response to such a move by Russia would involve « more than diplomatic… economic and legal actions. »

At the same time, Petraeus said his earlier remarks described « just one » of « many options » America has in reserve in case Russia resorts to the use of nuclear weapons, which it called a « extremely bad decision. »

The general also said he still thinks there is nothing Russia can do to change the situation on the front lines, which Petraeus says is unfavorable to Moscow.

Petraeus commanded US forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, presiding over the highest US death toll in the 20-year war and increasing civilian casualties.

The general helped persuade then-President Barack Obama to deploy an additional 30,000 American troops to the country, but his counterinsurgency plan, which relied on « secure and serve » the local population, flopped.

He then became director of the CIA in 2011, only to step down the following year after having an extramarital affair with the woman who wrote his biography.


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