Former national intelligence director John Ratcliffe weighed in on the current international conflicts on “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy.”
Gowdy opened the show by discussing recent reports that Russia is building up military forces along the Ukrainian border and could possibly be planning an invasion.
“A Russian invasion of Ukraine would ignite a major security crisis for Europe and create more instability in what is already an increasingly unstable world,” Gowdy said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden enter the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Ratcliffe agreed, believing that Putin is purposely planning an invasion into Ukraine in spite of Biden’s efforts.
“I don’t think it’s testing. I think he’s planning and preparing,” Ratcliffe said.
He pointed to Putin’s past actions including the taking of Crimea during the Obama administration when Biden served as vice president.
“This threat is very real. That’s not a matter of opinion. It’s based on specific intelligences that you talked about and it’s also based on history,” he said. “Last time Putin amassed troops at the Ukraine border, he invaded. He took Crimea. And you recall at that time, despite Joe Biden talking about ironclad protection for Ukraine, the last time that he had the opportunity to protect Ukraine in the Obama administration, they sent blankets not anti-tank missiles or anything else that would have helped Ukraine or stopped Putin.”
In this photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, center, takes part in a video call with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. Shoigu and Wei signed a roadmap for military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing and called for intensifying joint drills and patrols. (Vadim Savitskiy/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP) (Vadim Savitskiy/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
Ratcliffe explained that Putin may already believe he has leverage over Biden through the president’s approval of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Joe Biden’s already given him one of the things he cared about most and the intelligence tells us that Russia very likely may act on getting the second thing,” he said.
Ratcliffe advised Biden to be “blunt” and “aggressive” with Putin on the upcoming talk but doubted whether the president could follow through.
“Will we get that kind of forceful action? We haven’t seen it. We haven’t seen it at our southern border. We haven’t seen it with regards to the Middle East and Iran. We haven’t seen it with regards to China and their aggression towards Taiwan,” Ratcliffe said.
Gowdy asked for Ratcliffe’s perspective of former presidential candidate Bob Dole, who passed away Sunday morning, as well as the upcoming 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Senator Bob Dole gives the “thumbs up” sign during a presidential rally. Senator Dole won the Republican nomination for president in 1996, but lost the election to Bill Clinton. (Photo by Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
“We throw the term Great American around a lot, but it really applies to Bob Dole who for most of ninety-eight years, he was a soldier, a senator, and he was a statesman. The greatest tribute you can give any public servant is say that the nation they serve is stronger and better and kinder as a result of their service and that absolutely applies to Bob Dole,” Ratcliffe said.
While honoring Dole’s service in World War II, Radcliffe said we should take an example from past generations and use strong leadership to prevent future conflicts.
“We should remember and take stock that it took an attack on America and the use of a nuclear weapon to come to a conclusion. And we don’t want to revisit that,” he said. “That’s why when we talk about the things that are happening with regards to Russia, China, and Iran, strong leadership is needed. We should listen to the intelligence. I hope this administration will start doing that.”