In a meeting with the Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, a high rank military official said that the potential for international conflict is increasing.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave their first testimony to Congress following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and warned that threats from Russia and China remain significant, according to an article by CNN.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is threatening to undermine not only European peace and stability but global peace and stability that my parents and generations of Americans fought so hard to defend,” Milley said.
Milley has advocated for the usage of rotational forces more around the globe to defray costs of permanently stationing troops and their families in allied countries at risk of war, This includes places such as South Korea and the Persian Gulf, according to the Associated Press.
“My advice would be to create permanent bases but don’t permanently station (forces), so you get the effect of permanence by rotational forces cycling through permanent bases,” Milley said. “I believe that a lot of our European allies, especially those such as the Baltics or Poland and Romania, and elsewhere — they’re very, very willing to establish permanent bases. They’ll build them, they’ll pay for them.”
Milley also said that though sanctions have a poor track record of deterring aggression, they do succeed in imposing significant costs to Russia for its aggression, according to CNN.
“The objective of the sanctions is to impose significant costs if he invaded, those significant costs, the sanctions in combination with the export controls, are breaking the back of the Russian economy as we speak,” he said.
Both Milley and Austin said that the only possible way to deter Russia from invading would have been to put U.S. troops on the ground inside Ukraine. This was rejected, however, because it risked a war between Russia and the U.S. Milley added that he was not sure if Russian President Vladimir Putin was deterrable since invading Ukraine had always been a long term goal for Moscow, according to the Associated Press.
Milley also said that Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine and its ongoing demands for the reduction of troops and arms in European countries along Russia’s borders from the U.S. and NATO signals a lengthy conflict in the region that extends beyond Ukraine.
“I do think this is a very protracted conflict and I think it’s at least measured in years. I don’t know about decades, but at least years for sure,” Milley said. “I think that NATO, the United States, Ukraine and all of the allies and partners that are supporting Ukraine are going to be involved in this for quite some time.”