Praising the U.S. warning to Russia
about carrying out military exercises near the border of Ukraine, retired four-star Gen. Michael Hayden said Thursday the United States should not mistake Russian Vladimir Putin’s real intentions in the fragile" region.
In an exclusive interview on The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV, Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, said the Russian army, with its invasion of Georgia in 2008, has "a bit of a track record in what they call 'the new abroad' when they want to work their will."
Georgia was an easier problem under a different president and there wasn't much we could do," he said.
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But despite Secretary of State John Kerry seeming to be saying "all the right things" about Ukraine, Hayden said he’s still "puzzled."
Hayden said the secretary of state," [is] talking about … this can be win-win, it's not a return to the Cold War," he noted. "Vladimir Putin thinks this is a zero-sum game and we need to kind of play it a little more like zero sum."
Hayden said Russia has "legitimate interest in Ukraine, it’s a big neighboring state."
"But that's different from saying they get to work their will on Ukraine," he said.
"Everyone's got to be careful. This is a fragile state. … You've got a Ukrainian-Russia divide, east west, you've got one of the Russian's biggest fleets homeported on the Crimea, which is part of the Ukraine, and so the last thing we need is this place disintegrating along ethnic lines."
There’s reason for U.S. concern compounded by the news Thursday of Russia docking a warship
in Havana, he said.
"What you've got is Putin trying to reassert the old Soviet world view," he said.
"Putin is acting like he's playing his cards with a full house and, frankly, given the status of the Russian state, he's probably got about a pair of eights in his hands."
Russia, despite all Putin’s "bluster, doesn't have the wherewithal that the Soviet state had and that's my way of saying, from time to time, we need to stand up to him."
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