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Former NATO Military Committee Head Gen. Harald Kujat: The Key to Peace in Ukraine Lies with Obama Negotiating with Putin

Feb. 12, 2015 (EIRNS)—Gen. Harald Kujat (ret.), former Chief of General Staff of Bundeswehr and former head of NATO's Military Committee (2002-2005), repeatedly refocussed a Feb. 11 late night TV talk show discussion of the Minsk negotiations that were then still under way. Speaking as one of three guests on Alexander Kähler's program on Phoenix TV late last night, Kujat persistently came back to the central point of his strategic military assessment: Minsk only brings 1) a ceasefire, and 2) hopefully enforcement of the ceasefire, but that Step 3, the road to an actual political solution "also depends chiefly on how America behaves in this situation."

America has been keeping itself out of the Minsk process, but pushed Chancellor Merkel into this role, but then, "broke cover" (aus der Deckung—as in combat during an ambush) with his proposal for weapons delivery, General Kujat said.

"I am thoroughly convinced, that by this third step, President Obama must sit at the table, as only then will both Ukraine and Russia agree to an outcome, Ukraine, because of strong dependence on the United States, and Russia, naturally, wants to be acknowledged as a world power coequal with the United States, and this feeling of equal standing cannot be provided by the Europeans, only by the Americans."

This simple strategic political-military point, that things only work with the two leading nuclear powers agree to cooperate, was largely lost on the three other guests, with Der Spiegel's Christiane Hoffman thinking she was contradicting General Kujat when she said that the U.S. was heavily involved; Kujat agreed, but said that wasn' t his point: without a decision from the U.S., Poroshenko won' t agree to anything (or put in EIR terms, Washington can permit sabotage of an agreement.) Kujat had made this same point in a Feb. 10 interview in the Leipziger Volkszeitung, warning against the weapons delivery proposal as it would lead to a "deepening entanglement" of NATO in the conflict, and instead, only a 2+4 combination, in this case the U.S, France, Germany, Russia, plus Kiev and the Donbass militia leadership, could stop the conflict.

Commenting on an escalation scenario, General Kujat stated that Russia never wanted to directly militarily intervene, as it could have done so long ago, but, if there is an escalation and they do intervene with the Russian military, the conflict, at least in the east would be over within 48 hours, and if wanted, Kiev would be occupied in within 5-6 days. The Ukrainian Army is in a "desolate condition," he said, and it would take many years to create an effective fighting force out of it—therefore there is no military solution.

As Jacek Lepiarz from Poland's PAP news agency on the talk show pleaded for a strong Western backing of military strength for Kiev as during the Cold War, General Kujat simply countered, "formerly we had this means of pressure, formerly NATO was strong, we no longer have these means, unless we are ready to escalate to the level of a nuclear war, but nobody wants that." He stated that Russia doesn' t want to turn away from the West but "wants to be recognized as a world power. In the end we need America," as the U.S. is the counter-pole to which Putin measures things, "and in this regard, Europe is without importance. No, I think he wants to reintegrate himself into the world community, but in another role, as a world power on an equal footing next to the United States."

Kujat concluded by exhorting for EU-Eurasian Economic Union collaboration on economic reconstruction of Ukraine, "including in the devastated east."