Small Wars Journal

Petraeus Warns Congress on Russia, Immigration Order

Petraeus Warns Congress on Russia, Immigration Order by Joe Gould, Defense News

Retired US Army Gen. David Petraeus warned lawmakers the weakening of NATO and the European Union plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to undermine liberal democracies.

“I would argue that repulsing this challenge is as much a test of America’s faith in our best traditions and values as it is of our military strength, though our military strength obviously is a crucial component of our national power and does need shoring up,” Petraeus said Wednesday.

Petraeus, the former CIA director, appeared before the House Armed Services Committee with John McLaughlin, the former CIA deputy director. Petraeus warned that “revisionist” powers Russia, China and Iran are seeking to weaken the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II just as the US faces “a loss of self-confidence, resolve, and strategic clarity” about saving it from collapse.

“This is precisely what some of our adversaries seek to encourage,” Petraeus said. “President Putin, for instance, understands that while conventional aggression may occasionally enable Russia to grab a bit of land on its periphery, the real center of gravity is the political will of the major democratic powers to defend Euro-Atlantic institutions like NATO and the EU.” …

Read on.


If war is the extension of politics by other means and if,

a. In the recent past, the common Western political objective (and, thus, the common objective of Western politics and "war") has been focused more along idealist/liberal lines; for example, as per "advancing market democracy." (Such idealist/liberal thinking tending to subordinate the needs of the individual states themselves, and indeed the needs of any grouping of states, to the needs of the individual?) And if,

b. With the Brexit, the election of President Trump, etc., the political objective (and, thus, the objective of politics and "war") -- of the individual states and societies of the West (and, indeed, of the world) -- have now come to be focused more along, independent, realist/nationalist lines; for example, as per such slogans as "Making (fill in the blank) Great Again"/"(fill in the blank) First." (Such realist/nationalist thinking tending to place the needs of a particular state above -- not only those of the individuals residing within this state -- but, indeed, above the needs/interests of any particular grouping of states -- such as, for example, those of the often-described "West?"),

Then, in this new realist/nationalist context (see "b" immediately above) should we now see NATO, the EU, etc. (and, indeed, "the West?") as (a) still being important/still being an asset to the United States and, thus, (b) still being the constructs within which the U.S. should pursue its own interests?

Or, conversely, in this new realist/nationalist light, should these entities (NATO, the EU, "the West," etc.) now be considered to be less important/unimportant and, indeed, more of liability than asset to the U.S.?

In this exact same realist/nationalist light to now consider the current value (or lack thereof) -- to the United States specifically -- of "the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II?"

(Mearsheimer, in his 2011 "Kissing Cousins: Nationalism and Realism" helping us to better understand at least some of these questions/matters?:

Such things as "Petraeus' Warning to Congress" to be viewed in these distinctly different contexts (idealism/liberalism versus realism/nationalism)?