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Former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley Says CIA Should Arm Ukraine And Lie About It

Stephen Hadley

In a discussion if US-Russia relations hosted by the Aspen Institute of Ideas former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley proclaimed that the US government, via the CIA, should send arms to the Ukraine government then lie about it. Hadley made the statement after claiming to value honesty and calling Russia dishonest.

The call to arms dealing came after fmr. National Security Advisor Hadley said the US needed to take a more aggressive posture with Russia including sending US forces into the Baltic states “not because they will beat the Russian army but because they will raise the costs.” One of the lessons from the Ukraine Crisis, Hadley said, was that Russian President Vladimir Putin is sensitive to casualties on the battlefield as they can create political problems at home.

Hadley admitted that he “sounded like hawk” but also said he recognized Ukraine’s unique and historic connection to Russia and was open to an “arrangement” with Russia on Ukraine. He even acknowledged the US may have “missed an opportunity” when the West worked to exclude Russia from talks former President Viktor Yanukovich was in to tie Ukraine closer to the EU. The consequence of those talks and Yanukovich’s eventual withdrawal led to a political crisis in Ukraine when nationalists and neofascists violently overthrew the Yanukovich government instigating a civil war between East and West Ukraine with Russia, the US, and EU all playing a role.

STEPHEN HADLEY: If I were in my old job I would be thinking about lethal assistance – yes. But you know this is why you have a CIA, you know this is why you have covert action and I would be thinking – do we want to do it explicitly to send a message to Putin? Or do you want to do it covertly?

You know I think we tend now to talk too much and act too little. And sometimes it’s good if weapons just start showing up on the battlefield. You know Putin’s doing this fairly well. Stuff happens, he denies it. I’m all in favor of truth but sometimes doing things without talking about it is a more effective way of achieving your objectives.

Also part of the discussion was former Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration and current president of the Brookings Institution Strobe Talbott who agreed with Hadley that it was appropriate for the US to give weapons to Ukraine given that US intelligence was already identifying targets for the Ukrainian military. Talbott said it is a “no brainer” that the US should help eliminate targets it is already helping to identify. Talbott went on to say not arming Ukraine will confirm suspicions Talbott believes Putin harbors that the West is weak and will encourage further aggression.

The voice for moderation in the discussion appeared to be former National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia Angela Stent who cautioned that arming Ukraine may provoke Russia further and that the specific equipment being given should be carefully selected. Stent also noted that the US had to work to include European allies in any effort and that disregarding their concerns would make their policy ineffective. A notable departure from current Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s now infamous “Fuck the EU” remark.

Looks like it’s going to be a long winter.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley Says CIA Should Arm Ukraine And Lie About It

Stephen Hadley

In a discussion if US-Russia relations hosted by the Aspen Institute of Ideas former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley proclaimed that the US government, via the CIA, should send arms to the Ukraine government then lie about it. Hadley made the statement after claiming to value honesty and calling Russia dishonest.

The call to arms dealing came after fmr. National Security Advisor Hadley said the US needed to take a more aggressive posture with Russia including sending US forces into the Baltic states “not because they will beat the Russian army but because they will raise the costs.” One of the lessons from the Ukraine Crisis, Hadley said, was that Russian President Vladimir Putin is sensitive to casualties on the battlefield as they can create political problems at home.

Hadley admitted that he “sounded like hawk” but also said he recognized Ukraine’s unique and historic connection to Russia and was open to an “arrangement” with Russia on Ukraine. He even acknowledged the US may have “missed an opportunity” when the West worked to exclude Russia from talks former President Viktor Yanukovich was in to tie Ukraine closer to the EU. The consequence of those talks and Yanukovich’s eventual withdrawal led to a political crisis in Ukraine when nationalists and neofascists violently overthrew the Yanukovich government instigating a civil war between East and West Ukraine with Russia, the US, and EU all playing a role.

STEPHEN HADLEY: If I were in my old job I would be thinking about lethal assistance – yes. But you know this is why you have a CIA, you know this is why you have covert action and I would be thinking – do we want to do it explicitly to send a message to Putin? Or do you want to do it covertly?

You know I think we tend now to talk too much and act too little. And sometimes it’s good if weapons just start showing up on the battlefield. You know Putin’s doing this fairly well. Stuff happens, he denies it. I’m all in favor of truth but sometimes doing things without talking about it is a more effective way of achieving your objectives.

Also part of the discussion was former Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration and current president of the Brookings Institution Strobe Talbott who agreed with Hadley that it was appropriate for the US to give weapons to Ukraine given that US intelligence was already identifying targets for the Ukrainian military. Talbott said it is a “no brainer” that the US should help eliminate targets it is already helping to identify. Talbott went on to say not arming Ukraine will confirm suspicions Talbott believes Putin harbors that the West is weak and will encourage further aggression.

The voice for moderation in the discussion appeared to be former National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia Angela Stent who cautioned that arming Ukraine may provoke Russia further and that the specific equipment being given should be carefully selected. Stent also noted that the US had to work to include European allies in any effort and that disregarding their concerns would make their policy ineffective. A notable departure from current Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s now infamous “Fuck the EU” remark.

Looks like it’s going to be a long winter.

 Photo from the White House under public domain.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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