In an interview with Newsmax, retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Blaine Holt said the stakes in Ukraine are "much higher" than in previous conflicts such as Vietnam and Afghanistan, as there is always the danger of "World War III."
His remarks came on the heels of Sen. Mitt Romney's defense of U.S. support of Ukraine in its war with Russia.
Holt's comments on Newsmax's "Wake Up America" were in response to a social media video post from Romney, R-Utah, in defense of the United States' continued support of Ukraine as a matter of national security.
"History has taught us that when one country feels they can invade another country with little consequence, violence spreads and we become vulnerable to being pulled into a conflict," Romney said on Twitter. "Supporting Ukraine is not just the right thing to do, it's imperative for U.S. national security."
"I think we heard this before in the ’60s," said Holt, a former NATO official and current Newsmax contributor. "It was called domino theory, that if we didn't start getting in a lot of small wars we would see a bigger war here."
What the U.S. got with involvement in Vietnam and then in Afghanistan was a "big learning lesson," Holt said.
"So here we are," he said. "The stakes are much higher. If we don't get our diplomacy activated, we certainly have the defense industrial base machine moving. We have to exhibit levers to keep from going to this place called World War III, and that is a possibility."
Holt further commented on a Truth Social post from former President Donald Trump, who said in response to the news that the U.S. is sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine that "first come the tanks, then come the nukes," and called on the government to "get this crazy war ended, now. So easy to do!"
Trump's post came in contrast to a call from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said the fastest way to defeat Russia and to end the war is to give Ukraine what it needs and that the tanks should have been sent a year ago.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., in a Twitter post, said it would be better to "send tanks to our Southern border, not Ukraine."
"Let's get rid of the word 'tanks' and just talk about our national security priorities," Holt said. "I think Boebert has it exactly correct with our southern border needing our highest and top attention right now."
The Ukraine war, Holt said, was "deterrable," but now that it's in play, the U.S. has moved slowly, getting a "lot of people killed."
"Where's the air power?" he said. "We still don't see air power bringing decisive effects to the battlefield."
The tanks are "very high-end," said Holt, but with air power in the equation, "they don't matter. They become irrelevant."
Holt on Friday also commented on reports that U.S. special operations forces killed senior Islamic State group official Bilal al-Sudani, a key financial facilitator for ISIS, along with 10 other terrorist operatives in remote northern Somalia.
Holt noted that the U.S. has had a "very small footprint of forces" in Somalia, where there are ISIS forces and remnants of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization, and "it's largely a still ungoverned terrorist state."
The U.S. Navy SEALs, Holt said, "just do what they do best."
"They go in, they develop the intel, they look at the terrain, they know who's who, and then they slowly close in on their quarry," he said. "The result speaks for itself. I've had a lot of SEAL teams in the back of my C-17, and it's always an honor to fly them to their next gig."
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