Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden told Newsmax TV
on Tuesday that the Turkish downing of a Russian warplane near the Syrian border created a situation in the region that is "really bad and getting worse.
"I fear, even under the best of circumstances, what we saw today was round one," Hayden, who directed both the CIA and the National Security Agency, told "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth. "Somebody's going to paint someone else with an air-to-air radar, a fire-control radar."
"Someone's going to make a mistake," he said.
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Turkey shot down
the Russian jet after 10 warnings over five minutes that it was violating air space. The skirmish marked the first time a NATO member's armed forces had downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s.
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of being accomplices of terrorism, warning of "very serious consequences." The countries were fierce enemies during the Cold War.
Hayden told Newsmax that Putin would retaliate viciously because he must do so "for the crowd," both domestically and internationally.
"Restoring some sense of Russian greatness — and then doing it for the crowd globally, trying to demonstrate to everyone that Russia is once again a global player."
"Frankly he's wrong on both counts," Hayden continued. "The circumstances today suggest that his armed forces are more than a brick shy of a load of what one needs to act, even pretend to act like a super power."
He said that Turkey responded because Putin was bombing moderate Turks who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of Islamic State terrorists.
"What the Russians were doing, not bombing ISIS, they were bombing Turkmen who are ethnically very, very similar to the Turks," he told Hayworth. "This is the opposition, the moderate opposition that we want to arm to move against Assad."
"So, you've got the Russian striking people the Turks believe are close cousins to buck up Assad.
"Frankly, I don't see how either side backs down," he said. "The Turks defending their brethren and the Russians trying to defend their manhood."
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