Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Blaine Holt told Newsmax Thursday the U.S. should get something in return "if we're going to up the ante with risk and lethality on the battlefield," after President Joe Biden said he would send Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine.
"Let's get something for it. Let's use it as diplomatic leverage to get the Russians to Vienna and talk about this war," Holt said during an appearance on "John Bachman Now."
"But we're not doing that. Instead, we've just given them a lot of information about what we're going to be doing in three to six months. If I was a Russian general, I would be looking at that as, Wow! Before the thaw happens — and soon — we better get an offensive mounted because the cost imposition is going to go way up for us, so we better start making moves on Ukraine. It doesn't make any sense to me at all."
Biden's announcement came hours after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
The Abrams and Leopard tanks are considered the two best models in the world.
Russia on Thursday accused the U.S. of "direct involvement in the conflict" following the move, even as Biden said the shipment was not an offensive threat to Moscow.
"There are constant statements from European capitals and Washington that the sending of various weapons systems to Ukraine, including tanks, in no way signifies the involvement of these countries or the alliance in hostilities in Ukraine," said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Holt said the U.S. showed weakness by relenting to what Germany wanted.
"This is why you don't want to debate your strategy or come to negotiations publicly when you're in a NATO setting. Chancellor Scholz started it off by saying, I'm not going to be sending any tanks until I see Abrams moving. And then we said, We're not going to be sending any Abrams; you need to do more.
"That was fine, but we were showing that weakness in our resolve publicly. And finally, we just relent to what Olaf Scholz wanted anyways, which is, I'm sending the Leopard 2 now because finally America is going to go ahead and send these Abrams tanks. It doesn't send a message of strength, and it also transmits a punch to the Russians that time's running out. We're going to see some high-end weaponry coming to this theater."
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