BSo far, strategic communication in the dispute with Russia has been one of the strengths of the US government. This originally referred to the release of intelligence on Moscow’s Hybrid War planning. The White House then decided to publicly document the Secret Service’s contribution to military aid to Ukraine as well. The difficulties of the Russian attackers and the successes of the Ukrainian armed forces have probably made some government officials overconfident. In any case, President Joe Biden thinks some are too lax.
On Friday, he called CIA Director William Burns, National Intelligence Coordinator Avril Haines and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Tenor: The most recent reports that concrete military successes in Kyiv can be attributed to direct information from the American services are counterproductive. The leaking of information to the media must stop. Others now call the bragging dangerous, as it could provide Moscow with an excuse for further escalation. Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin accused Washington of “coordinating and developing essential military operations” and came to the conclusion that the United States was thus “directly involved in military actions against our country”.
A day after the call, CIA Director Burns said it was “irresponsible, very risky and dangerous” for people to talk too much – whether speaking publicly about certain intelligence matters or share information confidentially. At a Financial Times conference in Washington, he added that it was a “big mistake” to underestimate Ukraine’s intelligence capabilities. It’s their country, they have a lot more information than the Americans. The background for this were reports that American services not only provided kyiv with general information about Russian troop movements – as at the beginning of the war – but also helped to sink a Russian warship and kill specifically Russian generals. The latter was denied by the Biden government. The contribution to the sinking of the missile cruiser “Moskva” was minimized. Despite his own warning, Biden has released more military aid to Ukraine. The State Department said a $150 million package had been approved.
Burns: Putin simmers in ‘resentment, ambition and insecurity’
At the conference, Burns expressed the view that Russian President Vladimir Putin is stepping up military action because he cannot afford to be defeated. Despite the failure to take kyiv and the difficulties in Donbass, Putin still believes he can defeat the Ukrainian armed forces. For years it has been simmering in a highly explosive combination of “resentment, ambition and insecurity”. For the moment, he is apparently “convinced that he can still progress by multiplying the means”. But there is no indication that he plans to use tactical nuclear weapons.
Burns made it clear that the war in Ukraine did not change Washington’s real security strategy: China was “the greatest long-term geopolitical challenge”, although the danger from Russia should not be underestimated. “Putin demonstrates in a very disturbing way that declining powers can be at least as divisive as rising ones,” Burns said. He gets the impression that Chinese President Xi Jinping is a bit concerned about reputational damage to China resulting from its association with Russia. Xi is also concerned about economic uncertainties resulting from the war. Beijing was surprised that America and Europe had come closer during the crisis. But he doesn’t think for a second that Xi’s resolve to take control of Taiwan has eroded.