“You’ve got a Russian government that has made the conscious decision to use its military force inside of another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives -- first time, I think, probably, since 1939 or so that that’s been the case,”To some readers, the remark fails the laugh test even though no one in the room apparently laughed.
In that last link, former Reagan Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts is hot and bothered that the United States is demonizing Russia and Vlad Putin in apparent preparation for war -- and he means World War III, all caps and Roman numerals. The title of his post (which I received somehow in my email) is "The World Is Doomed By Western Insouciance; don’t expect to live much longer."
That title didn't fail the laugh test as I chuckled when reading it. That's why I put it in bold.
Anyway, Roberts notes that the U.S. has been using its military force inside of other countries a great deal just in the post-cold war era. Think Bush in Iraq or Obama's drone war in "Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen." Thus, how could anyone say this is the first time a country has used its military inside another since 1939?
Is that what Dempsey meant? Was he saying that no state since 1939 had militarily intervened in another state like Putin's Russia has in Ukraine? If so, that would be profoundly stupid.
However, it's pretty clear that Dempsey was saying Russia hadn't intervened in this way since 1939.
In context, his statement was in a Q&A conducted by Lesley Stahl of CBS News. She had asked Dempsey about ISIS in the question before and then said:
MS. STAHL: OK, let’s switch to Ukraine and Russia. There were reports today that the Russians were firing from Russian territory into Ukraine. How does that change the situation, if it does?
GEN. DEMPSEY: Well, I think it -- I think it does change the situation. I mean, you’ve got -- you know, you’ve got a Russian government that has made the conscious decision to use its military force inside of another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives -- first time, I think, probably, since 1939 or so that that’s been the case. So you’ve got -- you’ve got -- in my view, you’ve got a very different security environment inside of Eastern Europe.The problem for Dempsey is that even by more generous reading, the claim is still pretty stupid.
Just Russia now: Hungary 1956. Czechoslovakia 1968. Afghanistan 1979.
AFGHANISTAN 1979 until 1989.
So maybe Roberts has a point about the laugh test.
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