Russia remains to pose a global threat to the U.S. national security according to Marine General Joseph Dunford. He said Russia’s actions are very alarming and made dire warning, during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services committee in order to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Nicknamed “The Fighting Joe”, Dunford weighed in the situation in Ukraine and did not cut back on his thoughts that American troops and sophisticated weaponry to counter tank and artillery are needed in that region of eastern Ukraine to deflect Russian aggression. According to Reuters, he said “My assessment today, Senator, is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security. If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia. And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”
He also joined those at the Pentagon who are vocal of using lethal arms in the region to help defend Ukraine from the separatists and said that the people in Ukraine are not able to fight for themselves and stated “From a military perspective it’s reasonable that we provide that support to the Ukrainians.” The voices for providing defensive arms to Ukraine include Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who still opposes the option and is inclined more of continuous economic sanctions and pressure on Moscow.
Russia and the U.S. have strained relationship ever since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea made a serious threat to NATO’s security of its eastern borders. The situation has reached a point which remind of a familiar Cold War low between the two countries.
According to Reuters, Dunford expressed his views on many topics including the conflict in Syria, the U.S. focus on the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the latest news of cutting back American troops with almost 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian personnel, due to tight budget cuts, making the active-duty Army from 490,000 soldiers, down to a reduced number of 450,000. This announcement of Barack Obama came under fire by Republicans who seek answers from the Defense Department on the justification of troop’s reduction. Dunford, being a former commander of armed forces in Afghanistan, said that the timelines don’t always hold, referring to the plans of Barack Obama to cut U.S. troops in Afghanistan to an embassy in 2017. Dunford said “That’s certainly not the case in Afghanistan.”
He was also asked whether he approves a multisectarian government in Iraq, the strategy applied by President Barack Obama. Dunford replied that Iraq is beset by a sectarian divide that fuels the Islamic State militants and that he thinks that this strategy of multisectarian government “is going to be difficult”, but added that it still is the best chance for a long-term success.
The man considered to be President Barack Obama’s top military advisor, acknowledged that Russia is at the top of the list of security concerns that include China, North Korea and the Islamic State militant groups.