Russia not taking Gen. Milley's phone calls
Gen. Mark Milley, the Pentagon swamp creature who brought us the Afghanistan pullout and turned the U.S. military focus to "white rage," doesn't seem to be able to get Russia's generals, now bombing Ukraine, to return his phone calls.
According to the Washington Post:
Repeated attempts by the United States' top defense and military leaders to speak with their Russian counterparts have been rejected by Moscow for the last month, leaving the world's two largest nuclear powers in the dark about explanations for military movements and raising fears of a major miscalculation or battlefield accident.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have tried to set up phone calls with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Valery Gerasimov but the Russians "have so far declined to engage," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby in a statement Wednesday.
The attempted calls by Austin and Milley, which have not previously been reported, come as Russia conducts operations near the borders of NATO members Poland and Romania while the United States and its European allies conduct air-policing operations over the Baltic Sea and pour weapons and equipment into Ukraine by ground transport.
This is weird stuff.
After all, wasn't Milley the one who assured the Chinese generals they had nothing to worry about from the U.S. during President Trump's exit because he'd give China the heads-up if any warlike activity against them was coming down? You'd think the Russians might figure they could get something like that to their advantage out of Milley, too.
The Post reports focus on the potential war risk, including nuclear conflict, that comes of it. But it's baffled as to why this could be happening, resorting to quoting a few experts from lefty institutions at the bottom of the piece:
It remains unclear why Russia's top generals have refused to hold calls with their U.S. counterparts.
"I suspect that the problem lies with the Russian insistence that this is a 'special military operation' and unwillingness to admit the real nature of the war," said Angela Stent, a Russia scholar at Georgetown University who served as a senior intelligence officer in the Bush administration.
The generals may also be waiting on Putin's approval to make the calls, given the high stakes of the conflict, and he may not be signing off, Charap said.
Another theory is that Putin may now view the United States as a determined adversary bent on his downfall and not worth engaging. Russian officials bristled at Biden calling Putin a "war criminal," saying it could lead to a complete break in relations.
It misses some of the big ones, though, one of which is the matter of contempt and how much of that the Russians have for Milley (and his wokester U.S. defense secretary, Lloyd Austin).
After all, Milley's signature achievement has been the botched, chaotic, mal-planned, militarily disastrous U.S. pullout of Afghanistan, which left America's military reputation in ruins and effectively negated the U.S.'s decades of sacrifice in blood and treasure. Milley is still on the job, of course, un-fired and un–drummed out of the service, so the incompetence now associated with American military leadership is unlikely to change any time soon. Russia's military establishment had warned that the U.S. pullout plan would lead to disaster back in April 2021, and sure enough, it did. Milley's pullout was so bad that it made the orderly Russian pullout from the country back in 1989 look positively good in comparison.
How could the Russians respect a guy like that, or, more importantly, fear him? Much easier to just dismiss his phone calls.
It probably doesn't help that Milley appears to be overweight and out of shape, which is a bad look for a soldier in a position of leadership, and, rather than focus on battle prowess, is fixated on imposing bogus wokester politics throughout the U.S. military. The Russians are sending their battle-hardened generals into battle and have lost at least a half dozen of them in the war. Why would the Russians want to talk to a desk jockey like Milley as a sort of peer? He's not a peer.
That's just one explanation. There are others that the "experts" didn't note very significantly, although some may have simply not been quoted on what they actually said.
One such other issue is that Putin has gotten paranoid and doesn't seem to trust his military. That's in spite of the Russian military leadership's professed and proven loyalty over the years. Fox News reports that Russia's defense minister, Gen. Sergei Shoigu, has been missing for weeks, supposedly due to heart problems:
The head of Russia's Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu has not been seen in public for 12 days and is possibly missing, according to reports and messages circulated on Telegram on Wednesday.
Investigative journalists from the Russian independent news outlets Mediazona and Agentstvo claimed on Wednesday that the normally media savvy Shoigu has not appeared in public since March 11.
There are rumors that Shoigu is in poor health and is experiencing heart problems, while other messages are swirling online suggest Shoigu might have been fired from the ministry and is on house arrest, according to Russian journalists. Fox News has not yet independently verified these allegations.
Maybe he can't pick up the phone...for anyone.
We already know that Putin has thrown top intelligence officials in jail, presumably to keep them from defecting, making public statements denouncing Putin's war, and telling all they know to U.S. intelligence officials. Defense officials would likely be in the same category.
Whatever it is, we know that Milley doesn't have the pull to get his phone calls answered in Moscow. The Post is probably right in thinking that this raises the odds of a U.S.-Russia conflict. If so, it would be another fine mess Milley has gotten us into. Back in the old days, countries would leap to pick up the phone when the U.S. came calling. Today, not so much. What an embarrassment.
Image: Screen shot from Fox News via YouTube.