Post Iraq, U.S. must rely on covert action

June 13, 2014

devine -- afghan-militia-1024x736

Covert actions are now crucial to U.S. foreign policy. After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington should rely more on CIA-driven covert operations and less on military force in the world’s hotspots.

Ukraine could be a case in point. For covert action means not just collecting information (espionage), but also political or paramilitary efforts that help support political organizations, local media and on occasion, insurgents. Under the CIA’s charter, the government maintains plausible deniability for all these actions.

I’ve long advocated for greater use of this tool of statecraft — and not only because I ran the CIA’s Afghanistan Task Force during the successful effort to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan in 1986-87, along with many other covert operations during my 32 years at the intelligence agency.

Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in OuistrehamThe ability to conduct activities below the radar is key. There has been a spike in instability across regions where the United States and its allies have major national security interests. Yet Washington is less able to exert influence through force.

President Barack Obama noted this in his May 28 West Point speech, saying the United States is unlikely to engage in another ground war any time soon. Washington can rely on the CIA (working with Special Operations Forces) to provide clandestine intelligence, training and, where necessary, political funding and paramilitary support for foreign groups aligned to U.S. interests.

A successful covert operation requires certain conditions on the ground: broad-based political support for policy or regime change consistent with U.S. national security interest; excellent local intelligence; forces in-country able to engage the opposition, and substantial financial and political support from Congress and the White House.

With Ukraine and its environs, all these components are in place: the newly elected Kiev government and its pro-NATO orientation has significant popular support, Ukrainians have shown a history of standing up for their country’s independence and freedom, and Obama and Congress strongly support the Kiev government, presumably also intending to supply the necessary funding. To strengthen Kiev’s resistance against Russian interference, Washington should be providing robust financial and training support to the appropriate security, military and political organizations as well as beefing up their intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities.

Member of a newly-formed pro-Russian armed group called the Russian Orthodox Army stands guard at a barricade near Donetsk airportThe West also needs to “contain” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s massive investment in covert action in Ukraine — and not-so-covert pro-Russian engagement. Putin, an experienced ex-KGB operative, has been drawing straight from the covert action playbook in Ukraine. He is inserting Russian Special Forces into the fray, trying to pass them off as Ukrainian pro-Russian activists. Though these efforts at concealment may look laughable, when combined with his carefully crafted propaganda campaign, Putin’s plausible denial pronouncements have successfully muddied the water.

Despite Russian denials, however, the political dissidents in Eastern Ukraine are being funded and supported substantially by Moscow. Rest assured, Putin’s numerous in-place agents are collecting intelligence and pushing every possible lever to build a political force in Eastern Ukraine against the Kiev government. At the same time, he is likely/assuredly inserting/ the plumbing into Western Ukraine in order to develop sources of intelligence and agents of influence.

To deal with this newly aggressive Russia, it may be instructive to study how Washington dealt with an aggressive Soviet Union during the Cold War. For Putin’s heavy-handed behavior is beginning to feel like the Cold War is making a comeback — protestations to the contrary.

For me, this all feels like déjà vu — because I worked as a CIA chief of station in five major Cold War locations, and served as deputy director for worldwide operations during the heyday of the struggle between the Soviet Union and the West.

stalin-truman2The similarities are uncanny. The Cold War kicked off with Joseph Stalin’s postwar land grab of Eastern Europe and his aggressive efforts to promote Communism abroad. This round began with Putin’s assaults on Georgia, Armenia, Crimea and now possibly part or all of Ukraine.

In considering how to address this, Winston Churchill’s 1946 “Sinews of Peace” speech may still offer the best advice. “The only thing that Russians respect,” Churchill said, “is strength.”

Unfortunately, after Washington’s failure to respond to Syria crossing the red line of using chemical weapons, our adversaries and fair-weather friends are starting to test the limits of where the United States will keep its word.

Drawing red lines is hard – difficult even with a weaker country. So, it may be with Putin. He will likely trim his aggressive sails in Ukraine only when he sees the physical proof of the West’s “serious consequences.”

So Washington and the European Union should impose extremely strong economic sanctions and ramp up the NATO’s military and intelligence support for the Kiev government.

devine -- kennan-smallerWashington power brokers should also study the “containment” policy that the United States used to counter Soviet aggression throughout the Cold War. George Kennan, a State Department official and Russia expert, laid this out in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs. In his article, which became the basis of the Truman Doctrine, Kennan stated the Soviet Union was inherently expansionist and that its innate sense of insecurity necessitated a hostile world to maintain power at home. Sound familiar?

Kennan also postulated that the West needed to apply vigilant counterforce wherever the Soviets pressed their advantage.

That view certainly has merit today in the wake of Putin’s most recent actions. The recent Ukrainian elections were promising because the new president, Petro Poroshenko, is an experienced official and billionaire businessman with a long record of dealing with Russia. But the fact that very few were able to vote in the east of the country, and that Putin will continue to push to maintain influence, means Poroshenko’s new government will have to stay alert to protect against Russian encroachment.

How does the West ensure the new Kiev government’s survival if we are not going to commit ground troops to counter Russia aggression? Much like the cold warriors of the past, we should return to tightly focused covert action. This means a robust relationship with the Ukraine Security Service and military intelligence, supplemented with direct financial support to political activists and groups.

This must be done with great care and strict compartmentalization because of Russia’s vast network of agents in Ukraine. But this program is necessary to balance the scale against Russia’s massive covert activities there. In the tradition of Kennan, we should be able to “contain” Moscow’s subterfuge and its efforts to maximize influence in Kiev.


PHOTO (TOP): Taliban Islamic student militia ready with their anti-aircraft gun in Maidan Shahr in Afghanistan, September 21. 1995. REUTERS/Archive

PHOTO (INSERT 1): Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko (R) walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.  REUTERS/Photo/Christophe Ena/Pool

PHOTO (INSERT 2): A member of a newly-formed pro-Russian armed group called the Russian Orthodox Army stands guard at a barricade near Donetsk airport May 29, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

PHOTO (INSERT 3): British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, President Harry S. Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at the Berlin Conference, August 1, 1945. Courtesy of LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

PHOTO (INSERT 4 ): George Kennan, 1947. WIKIMEDIA/Commons



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“I ran the CIA’s Afghanistan Task Force during the successful effort to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan in 1986-87″

Why does Reuters invite warmongers to supply this type of screed?

In looking at the consequences of this so-called “success”, I think many reasonable people might conclude that it would have been better for the world as a whole had the Soviets won in Afghanistan and there was a secular government in place for the past 30 years.

The US has no business in Ukraine, central Adia, North Africa, etc, etc. Enough is enough.

Posted by upstater | Report as abusive

Didn’t you mean “Had” the CIA? It’s not the same organization it was during your time.

I’m a veteran of 82-90. I remember those times well and was proud to be an American then. Now, not so much.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

@upstate, I disagree with you on this author. I don’t like it when Reuters prints paid content by corporate lemmings. I feel used when they print op-eds by a politician, but they have a right to be heard and we should listen to them as we did elect them.
Jack Devine is a person “in the know” and most definitely should be listened to. He severed our country with distinction and should be honored as any veteran and general should be. Times change, but that doesn’t mean you vilify the people of the past for their heroic work.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

Well I won’t dispute the success of the CIA covert operations in Afghanistan in getting rid of the Soviet occupation but the mess left behind, which empowered and emboldened the Taliban and other Islamist extremists is hardly one which the US should congratulate itself about given the disaster that the country finds itself in today!! The notable lack of success in Iraq (albeit involving an all out ground and air campaign) is a similar case in point highlighting the REAL truth of the results behind US meddling in other people’s countries!!

Posted by il-Mann | Report as abusive

Hilarious, while the US complains of Russian covert and overt interference in Ukraine, we’re basically saying we’re doing the same thing. This is the overall problem with the US is we believe we have the right to do these activities while others shouldn’t. Unfortunately the people in Ukraine are the last to benefit since this has all come down to the US vs Russia.

Posted by chebyrashka | Report as abusive

@tmc, first a clarification of facts. I don’t believe Devine is a veteran in the strict sense of the word (actual military service) and certainly isn’t and wasn’t a general. But that’s a minor point. I’d also take issue with your description of him as “in the know.” What’s our evidence for this? He certainly would have been well-informed up until his retirement c. 1999. Since then he’s been a (extremely highly paid) consultant–which might get him arguably better information–but I don’t think we know for sure. So let’s be careful about how much credit we give him unless we work for him or know him personally.

Heroism is a complicated thing, and it’s our responsibility to use past actions to ask questions about a person’s present credibility. This is not the same as saying that the person in question is evil/stupid/whatever. The Afghanistan actions that Devine brags about have come back to haunt us. Maybe we want to find solutions from a different perspective this time around.

Posted by Reader9000 | Report as abusive

we need the cia to do what it did in central and south america back in the ’60’s and ’70’s?

Posted by harrykrishna | Report as abusive

The timing of this piece, just as we (and much of the rest of the world) seem to have been blindsided by the impending takeover of Iraq and Syria by a bunch of guys in pickup trucks, is hilarious.

Posted by Art_In_Seattle | Report as abusive

Yet another apology for the petro-imperialism of the United States. Mr. Devine is simply reiterating the same policy that we’ve been inflicting on the world ever since the CIA arranged the coup that replaced Mossadegh with the Shah in 1953.

Any time a political type says “national interests” what he’s really referring to is the economic interests of the 1%.

Now that we can synthesize petroleum from compounds in sea water, we should fit all our oil tankers with the equipment and have them sail around in big circles until their tanks are full, and then come home. Let the rest of the world keep its oil, and we’ll keep our money to spend on ourselves.

Posted by UrDrighten | Report as abusive

I’m sure Jack knows the CIA has only become more politicized since the late 80’s. Feel they have been caught flat-footed by the Syrian conflict, Ukraine and now the events in Iraq. Jack, even you repeat the US Administrations lie about the Syrians using poison gas on their own people. Believe it has been proven since that it was rebel forces attempting to wring more support out of the west. Assad had nothing to gain by using the gas. Eliminating any Syrian stockpile will not prevent the rebel forces from employing gas again.

Posted by carlsaSC | Report as abusive

“…times like this is why we have theCIA…”

-Mr. Devine, I think you got that backwards.
Please, do allow me to be simple enough and explain (although judging from what you wrote and your past, “being simple enough for you to understand..” is probably a utopic endeavor!):
-Is indeed because of theCIAand alike that we have times like these!!!
It certainly is too much to ask of you, but one day please do try to seat alone in front of a mirror, remember what you and colleagues of yours have done in the past and I truly believe that you will find what I wrote to be true, indeed!


Posted by truthpress | Report as abusive

Right at the start of the economic collapse, the dead weight of middle management scrambled to justify their jobs, now we are living on the shoulders of desperation and panicked solutions that seem to always include them keeping their importance, and the jobs they filled were the ones they used to oversee (I was working at Xerox after 9/11, and that was the first phase of industry after the collapse) After they layed off the actual workers and thinkers (thinkers don’t get much credit since Edison). No one was left that actually wanted to cut the real fat, so the businesses just went under, or struggled to make profits grow to rebuild the industry. It seems as though there is a concerted effort to stop this rebuilding process, if it doesn’t include the dead weight. Is it just me or do they look at productivity the way they look at an investment opportunity that ends up in bubble territory; each new middle manager must improve productivity, so we work harder, and get paid less, until when THEY can’t do their job, WE are the ones laid off, and often the whole industry is abandoned because these middle managers convince everyone that the version of reality where they keep working is the only viable one. Middle managers go all the way to the top, they dictate our worlds economic policy in order to make sure they remain important, and that no one ever notices what they have been doing, whether these middle managers realize what they are doing or not, panicking is no excuse for creating suffering in so many for the sole goal of just trying to alleviate their own. So this is the CIA’s biggest problem, self destruction by the selfish. For example, you need a IT degree or similar learning experiences to really manage a group of IT techs, well since no one wanted to do more than profit off managing an IT team, our industry was stunted until we could be created by cheap certifications that ask for lower wages. So how’s that working out? As far as I can tell the whole country is being held back this way for similar selfish reasons. Do you know what it is like to work for people who expect you to be living the rich life, but getting paid almost nothing compared to what the customers expect? Who else is going to fix their IT issues? But I digress, I also use my own vocabulary which can sometimes go way off mark. It’s not just middle managers, but in my life experience this is where I see it the most, it’s under-trained, but economically very lucky people from the 80’s and 90’s years of BSing your way into a job. When I got into the work force, I found myself in the position of having to fix all of their problems, or have no job at all, while they take the credit for fixing it, and I still get paid less. From 9/11 on it had become very apparent that this expectation from the current older generation (post baby boomer) is on everyone born today, and is hard for the kids to not notice, and get angry at the laziness of the current older generation at not taking the risk of fixing things themselves, but pawning it onto the young, poor, or people who are out of sight, so out of the post baby boomer mind. So we’re moving from the baby-boomer post ww2 forget all that is unpleasant generation, to the next one topped off with people who unsuccessfully tried to pretend nothing bad is happening, but finding they were the ones making decisions to make this happen for themselves and their parents. Unfortunately we won’t really be led by any generation willing to face reality for another generation or two to take the lead. Whenever someone tries to take the reigns and do something to repair the damage, the older generation goes in to sabotage it because they are not the important ones in any real solution that works for the continuation of humanity, and the world. It’s the average mindset of the generation that dictates what happens, and how we react. Understanding WHY they think this way is the key to finding real solutions, because everyone is off center when it comes to reason and reality, and giving the job of solving the problems is too often put into the hands of the most frightened of our society. And fear never leads to anything good unless you’re cornered and you get lucky.

Posted by epockismet | Report as abusive

Mr.Devine well noted. It is clear, net and precise and confirms so many studies written on the CIA’s action around the world for last 65 years. Just one question what is your bet/suggestion in which country should be organized next “color for orange,flower for jasmine,place for Maidan revolution”?

Posted by Kuko | Report as abusive

I don’t see anything wrong with what Jack Devine is saying. His only “bias” is he’s plugging his book. So what? Everyone could probably learn something from it. What he’s right about, for certain, are the basics: namely, that the United States should have imposed serious economic sanctions on Russia, instead of the hand wringing incrementalism that is Obama’s policy. He also reminds us of Obama’s mistake re Syria, namely, the red line that really wasn’t. What’s happening in Iraq now could be partly an outgrowth of the Syria policy, too. Foreign policy doesn’t matter in American politics, i.e, until it does. For awhile, Obama’s lack of interest or expertise in foreign affairs didn’t seem to matter much; now it does.

Posted by Calfri | Report as abusive

Mr Devine, I think your living in the past. Maybe your old age does not allow you to see the reality now.

Russia back in the 80s was a bankrupt Communist nation. Now it has money and business interests. And however many problems they may have, we have just as many.

The reason we are not engaging in anymore wars is because we HAVE NO MORE MONEY TO LAUNCH A WAR.

And the reason we are not as involved with covert operations is that, like the Shah of Iran, we may have re-instated him in power and gained in the short term. But if we let Dr. Mossadegh at that time rule, Iran would not be an Islamic Repulic today. We always lose in the long run when we interfere in other countries affairs.

And may I remind you that during your “successful effort to drive the Russians out of Afganistan”, you created Al-Qaeda.
Which means you are indirectly responsible for 9/11 happening!!!

Posted by KyleDexter | Report as abusive


So, you think that it is better for Russia to be in the Ukraine, or in North Africa?

Most of us with first hand experience in the borderlands beg to disagree.

Putin’s Russia is expansionist and it must be contained, or there will be another war in Europe.

Posted by MacMan | Report as abusive

I have a question: Putin has been ruling Russia for 14 years and only now we’re starting to realize that he’s “an experienced ex-KGB operative”, and all that implies?..
I also wonder about what we’re going to do about China, which is essentially an autocratic regime just like Russia, but with 10 times greater population and trillions of US debt? It’s appalling and unnerving to realize that we ourselves created these problems, and still keep doing this.

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive

Isn’t the CIA the source of these problems? The CIA created Osama and Al Qaeda. The CIA have false evidence of WMDs that allowed the invasion of Iraq and it’s current destabilizing. With all it’s supposed ‘intelligence’ the CIA has never actually ‘prevented’ anything. It had no clue this was about to happen even. It seems to me we’d have been a LOT better off with the ‘wonderful’ CIA constantly interfering.

Posted by ischumacher | Report as abusive

Mr Brenner’s ‘secret’ visit to Kiev and reports about contractors-to-kill in Ukraine suggest that CIA is already in Ukraine. Are we fighting now to ‘free’ shale gas in Slavyansk for Biden Jr? Would it be better if US did try to install radical elements in the MIddle East and lie about WMDs in a process? Would we be better off with preparation for a 1st ‘preventive’ nuclear strike against Russia? Do you colleagues contribute to a false notion that US can win nuclear battle with Russia since the US employs Russian-designed fiber lasers and things?

Posted by amb137 | Report as abusive

Devines new book is good reading.

Posted by WestFlorida | Report as abusive

If the CIA was worth a hoot, Mosul wouldn’t have fallen – Maliki got caught by surprise.

Now, Iraq is fertile ground for “Private Military Corporations” – and the CIA loves it!

Posted by SKYDRIFTER | Report as abusive

As expected, we have the usual debates about action – military or covert. One thing is clear, however. We don’t have the intelligence (espionage) to support successful actions.

Huge build ups by the Russians in the Ukraine and by the new wave of bad guys in Iraq have caught us completely off guard. Most of our recent military efforts in recent years have failed because our troops cannot identify who is a target and who is an innocent. All of this requires better intelligence before action.

We have good technical capabilities, but are extremely weak in cultural and language skills. We can intercept “chatter” but cannot figure out what is being said. We need to start with the basics – more scholarships for Americans who study the difficult foreign languages and cultures that are of potential interest to the CIA. Then spend some serious money to employ the best of those in the CIA.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive

Posted by upstater: Why does Reuters invite warmongers to supply this type of screed? In looking at the consequences of this so-called “success”, I think many reasonable people might conclude that it would have been better for the world as a whole had the Soviets won in Afghanistan and there was a secular government in place for the past 30 years.


Actually, ‘reasonable people’ aren’t delusional enough to think that the US are the bad guys. Afghanistan would be better under the Soviets? Yeah, because all the other countries they took over worked out so well. You obviously know nothing about the CIA. The CIA could have killed Osama numerous times, but was told not to by the Clinton administration, because they didn’t want to deal with the fallout. The CIA and Delta had him and his men pinned in Tora Bora, but the Bush administration made the mistake of trying to get indigenous forces to catch him… but they let him go instead. The CIA was highly opposed to this, but there was nothing they could do.

If you want to blame somebody for lack of success, look to your politicians.

Posted by dd606 | Report as abusive

It looks like the author, being a seasoned CIA operative, uses this outlet for yet another covert operation. He says: “This round began with Putin’s assaults on Georgia, Armenia, Crimea and now possibly part or all of Ukraine”. Which is plain lie to cover the covert intentions and actions by the US, executed in no small way by the CIA.

Strategic longterm objective of the US is breakup of Russian as a multi-ethnic and regional federation. Visionaries of this strategy see its end goal as future Russia being a mid-size european country and the mosaic of independent republics instead of the federation. One look at a map is enough to notice that the are two critical areas for projecting of this goal: Georgia and Ukraine.

Georgia provides access to the Caucasus where ethnic ferment can easily be ignited. Ukraine projects into the southern underbelly of Russia. This is why US is relentlessly building-up ‘assets’ in these countries. Victoria Nuland provided the number, 5 billion dollars which the US spent (only officially) over 20 years in the Ukraine for “promoting democracy”. Knowing the state of the democracy in Ukraine it it easy to see that the promotion was oriented towards establishing wide network of agents of impact in the centers of power. That has been very successful to the point that Nuland was able to tell who should be leading the government in Kiev after the coup. Similar process was going on earlier in Georgia where young US-educated Saakashvili was elected as president.

These developments were obviously a colossal strategic danger for Russia. The danger was/is even greater as the US agents of impact in power turned out to be extremal fanatics brutally fighting with those who were not agreeing with their line. Thus, Saakashvili started blitzkrieg war in South Ossetia to ‘clean’ the territory of Georgia from dissent. Thus, the rulers in Kiev were not willing to talk with people in the Eastern Ukraine but are treating them as ‘terrorists’.

Russia had no other choice than preempting the covert US strategy. Russia had to intervene in Georgia to prevent genocide and build-up strategic position there. Russia had to regain Crimea to block strategic cut-off from Black Sea. Now Russia has to support the east of Ukraine which is evolving into another genocide with bombardments of cities and to protect its southern underbelly.

Putin thus reacted defensively to the covert long-term aggressive strategy of the US. Putin’s actions were brilliant but actually not much complicated due to the overhwelming support of local populations in Crimea, Ossetia and eastern Ukraine. But they clearly made the US angry. Especially Ukraine is so important to keep the longterm strategy alive that every effort will be made to keep it. Read: civilian population in the Ukraine east must subject to the rule or it will be driven out.

The author of this piece proposes another tool: covert operations by the CIA. One can be absolutely certain that Russia will not be passive then.

In the end, this will fail as much as the US strategies which arrogantly place global objectives over the will of people eventually failed in Vietnam, Afganistan and Iraq. Millions of victims in these conflicts count as ‘collateral damage’

Posted by wirk | Report as abusive

Lots of “professional” opinions and most make excellent points but does little to assist a “regular guy” in forming an opinion of his own. I suppose it all comes down to what we “want” to believe rather than absolute truth.

Posted by Crusader325 | Report as abusive

“I ran the CIA’s Afghanistan Task Force during the successful effort to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan in 1986-87″

Epic fail. What you really did was create, fund and train…. Al Qaeda terrorists.

Far better to have let the Russians have Afghanistan. They’re going to end up with it anyway.

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive

Ever since the CIA was set up in 1952, replacing the former organisation OAS, American foreign policy has been enacted in a covert way through this agency. Its first adventure, authorized by President Eisenhower, was to overthrow the democratically- elected president of Iran in 1953 by “renting a crowd”, and restoring the Shah to the throne and his secret police, which outdid anything that Stalin’s could do!

American foreign policy– if policy is the correct word since it implies deliberate thought, since that time has been to shun diplomacy and resort instead to war or covert means. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that America gets itself into situations from which it is difficult to extract itself with honor.

Posted by expat75 | Report as abusive

The result of sanctions will be increased worldwide oil prices which will totally offset any loss due to sanctions. Russia makes more on oil than natural gas. Russia will increase the price of natural gas for the next five years until the west can supply Europe. No cooperation in any worldwide efforts to settle disputes throughout the world and the loss of access to the ISS. All of this for what; a failed nation that will cost the west trillions of dollars to revive while the rest of the world rots away and the BRICS nations establish a new world order and currency. Just wait and see.

Posted by kencarver | Report as abusive

So Reuters allows advertisements in their opinion section now? More evidence of the decline of journalism. This warmonger should not have a public platform, his “solutions” have cost us much in the past decades.

“successful effort to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan in 1986-87″

Is that ever looking at the bright side! This moron wants us to forget that that “success” also happened to spawn Bin Laden and company. Covert actions have consequences. Arming and training radical foreign armies is a policy that should be rethought.Especially since “covert” refers only to the American public: the victims know what is going on, since you cannot keep it from, them! And this in a time of trying to prevent terrorists from forming? Laughable.

“For me, this all feels like déjà vu — because I worked as a CIA chief of station in five major Cold War locations, and served as deputy director for worldwide operations during the heyday of the struggle between the Soviet Union and the West.”

Classic case of if your only tool is a hammer, every job looks like a nail. In this case, the hammer is paranoia and rigid ideology that is resistant to facts.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

just another pro CIA gangster

Posted by nvgg | Report as abusive

This article reads like a scene from the movie Team America: World Police.

Posted by BidnisMan | Report as abusive

I think it is true that in the absence of traditional military war fighting, covert action becomes an even more significant component of US foreign policy. But it is and should be a crucial foreign policy tool at all times, regardless of our war posture. And I would hope that it has been properly utilized during the Obama administration, because political scientists and intelligence analysts have been raising the alarm about Putin’s Russia for years now.

In general, I have always believed that covert operations tend to be more politically acceptable and cheaper than full military mobilization. And there are certain jobs that need doing that just can’t be done without secrecy. We should always be working to chart and track and disable the members and activities of terror networks and criminal organizations. We should always be working to challenge the power and resources of governments that wish to gain an advantage over us. And we should always support and promote opposition to bad actors abroad. Failure to do any of these things would be a grave mistake.

Although the Cold War ended, it only ended in the sense that the bi-polar, US-Soviet framework ended. But all of the other aspects of the Cold War still exist today. The difference is that now the framework is more complex. We are still faced with all of the same threats, but in different forms and greater numbers. As just one example, today’s Russia, despite its economy, is a much more acute threat and source of threats than when Gorbachev presided over the final years of the Soviet Union.

Posted by K-Wulf | Report as abusive