Sunday March 9, 2014
General Martin Dempsey, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a lengthy interview to Judy Woodruff on Friday night's PBS News Hour and delivered a carefully balanced picture of how the U.S. military is managing the unfolding Ukraine crisis, both reassuring European NATO allies that treaty obligations will be honored, while maintaining constant communications with Russian counterparts, to assure there are no miscalculations leading to conflict. Gen. Dempsey, clearly aware of the boundaries between military advice and political decision-making, did not attempt to under-play the danger of conflict, particularly given the occupant of the White House.
Asked by an aggressive Woodruff what kind of message the US is trying to send to Russia, Gen. Dempsey calmly replied that “We're clearly trying to send a message to Russia, almost exclusively through diplomatic channels, so that I do have an open line with my Russian counterpart that I have used twice the last two days.
“But we're trying to tell them not to escalate this thing further into Eastern Ukraine and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in the Crimea. But the message we are sending militarily is to our NATO allies.