‘We are watching Russia wither away before our eyes,’ says former US defense chief

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis slammed Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling it “immoral” and “operationally stupid,” during a speech at the Seoul 2022 Forum on Friday. .

“We have a saying in America, we say nations with allies prosper, nations without allies wither away, and we’re watching Russia wither away before our eyes right now,” Mattis said.

When asked what military lessons could be learned from the war so far, the former US Marine replied, “The first is to not have incompetent generals in charge of your operations.

He also called Russia’s military performance “pathetic” and denounced the “immoral, tactically incompetent, operationally stupid and strategically insane effort” of its campaign in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference after meeting his Indonesian counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 30. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AFP/Getty Images)

Mattis spoke of previous US efforts to try to bring Russia into the “community of nations”, but said that was not possible with Vladimir Putin at the helm.

“The tragedy of our time is that Putin is a creature straight out of Dostoyevsky. He goes to bed every night angry, he goes to bed every night scared, he goes to bed every night thinking that Russia is surrounded by nightmares and that guided him,” he said.

Putin had removed anyone who disagreed with him from his circle, so he “probably thought the Ukrainian people were going to welcome him,” Mattis added.