NATO Commander Says He sees Potent Threat from Russia

The article entitled “NATO Commander Says He sees Potent Threat From Russia” in The New York Times newspaper provides an insight into the American authority’s viewpoint towards Russian military movement. Since the entire content is based on the interview with NATO commander Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, numerous direct quotes appear along the news story. To begin with, General Breedlove attacked the credibility of Russian President by showing his disbelief in Russia’s proclaimed withdrawal from Ukraine. He said that neither less aggressive movement nor Russian return to barracks is realized, and immediately emphasized how strong and well-prepared their armies are. His enumeration of Russian potent warplanes, helicopter units, artillery, infantry and commandos justifies his affirmation that the 40,000 troops could “attack on 12 hours’ notice and accomplish its objective within three to five days”. He speculated that the Russian presence is intended as a “coercive force” during the West’s talks with Russia, and could be used to establish the land link to Crimea and invade many other regions in Ukraine.

In the middle of the interview, he brings up the issue of Russia’s ground-launched cruise missile, and discloses that American administration is reviewing on whether to formally declare Russian violation of 1987 medium-range missile banning treaty. He said that he does not want to “prejudge the outcome of this review”, but then he added that the administrators “have to consider doing something because it cannot go unanswered”. This paradox displays his strong stance and effectively implies his influence on the US administrators. The author then shifts to describe General Breedlove’s background so as to help build the commander’s ethos for his following prediction and proposed solutions. As a former pilot and European Air Force commander, the General predicts that Russian forces would isolate Ukrainian military on the peninsula and assemble substantial combat power within a short period of time. His following question, “What does that mean geo-strategically that we now have a nation that can produce this ready force and now has demonstrated that it will use that ready force to go across a sovereign boundary?,” is very provocative. Several solutions are then proposed along with the explanation of why they are feasible, most of which are attributable to the experience and authority he has. As usual, these convincing solutions are ended with his saying “It is only an option”, implying “the obligation” without commanding any single word.

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove

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