Russia Pushing Limits of International Order, General Says

By Lisa Ferdinando Army News Service

This article previously appeared on the Defense Department website on November 5.

Russia is “pushing on the limits of international order,” the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said November 5.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia in general are pushing the limits because they don’t believe the international order was crafted in a way that met their national interests, Army General Martin E. Dempsey said during a question-and-answer session at an event on hiring veterans in New York.

Putin and Russia express a sense of victimization following the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the chairman said. Noting that the Russian president recently delivered a speech on that narrative, Dempsey characterized it as “an anti-Western soliloquy that literally lasted for about three hours.”


“Our principal responsibility here, of course, is our NATO commitment, notably the Article 5 responsibility, which says an attack on one is an attack on all,” he said. “Twenty-eight nations of NATO are committed to living up to that.”

Dempsey said the difficulty is in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine — the nations located between NATO allies and Russian aggressiveness. To help in meeting that challenge, he said, the U.S. military needs to do different things with rotational presence.

“We probably need to do some things in every domain — air, sea and ground,” he said. “It’s going to, I think, require us to put forces back into Europe that we had taken out.”

The chairman said he doesn’t expect the American forces in the region to be “dramatically big,” but he added that “they’ll be substantial enough to allow us to deter Russian aggression against our NATO allies.”

Russia is creating an unstable situation, Dempsey said, and it has also “lit a fire of nationalism.”

“Once you light that fire, it’s not controllable,” the general said. “I am worried about Europe.”

For about 20 years, Dempsey said, Europe has been complacent with its security. “I don’t think they can afford to be complacent any longer,” he added.

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