Defense Leaders Say Russia Presents Real Threat To U.S.

Yet another top U.S. general has named Russia as the top national security threat facing the United States, using almost identical language as several other four-stars in recent weeks to describe the place Moscow holds in the hearts of senior U.S. military leadership.

In his confirmation hearing to be the next chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Russia is “the only country on earth that retains a nuclear capability to destroy the United States, so it’s an existential threat to the United States.”

He followed up by saying China, North Korea, the Islamic State, and Iran,“each in their own different way represent security threats to the United States.”

His comments reflect those made recently by the nominees to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joe Dunford, and his vice chair, Gen. Paul Selva, who have also singled out Vladimir Putin’s Russia as the biggest threat to the United States.

A spokesman for Secretary of State John Kerry was quick to dismiss Dunford’s assertion, and said he did not think China was an existential threat either.

In another significant comment, on the contentious issue of American boots on the ground in Iraq, Milley said the use of American forward-deployed joint terminal attack controllers — who call in and direct firepower on enemy positions — “should be seriously considered.” He also said that Washington should consider sending “advisers going forward with [Iraqi] units” with the caveat, “there are lots of issues with the security of our people and the risks associated with that.”

Pentagon officials are not the only ones who wary of Russia. The MacArthur Foundation, which has been in Russia for the last 25 years, is leaving because of it and other non-governmental organizations have been targeted by the government.

that the MacArthur Foundation will close its branch office in Moscow. The recent passage and implementation of several laws in Russia make it all but impossible for international foundations to operate effectively and support worthy civil society organizations in that country. These measures include a law requiring Russian non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents if they receive foreign funding and engage in ‘political activities,'” says a statement on the foundation’s website.

“The most recent such measure is a law allowing authorities to declare the activities of international organizations ‘undesirable’ if they present ‘a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation, the defense capability of the country or the security of the state,'” continued the statement.

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