Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday that a lot of the U.S.’s military aid to Ukraine “could have been done sooner.”
“I think the only thing I would have said is that a lot of this could have been done sooner,” Gates said when asked by Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he would have advised President Biden to do anything differently.
“And, you know, they’re talking about potentially being six months, a year or more before the Abrams tanks get there,” he added. “I think the key thing about the Abrams tank decision was that it unlocked the Germans.”
President Biden announced Wednesday that the U.S. will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The announcement came several hours after Germany committed to sending its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Kyiv had pushed for its allies to send heavy battle tanks over the last few months, with the U.S. previously saying they would not significantly benefit Ukraine.
Gates, who was the Defense secretary between 2006 and 2011 under both former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, also said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that his “destiny” is to recreate the Russian empire.
“Without Ukraine, there can be no Russian empire, so he is obsessed with retaking Ukraine,” he said. “He will hang in there.”
“He does believe that time is on his side, that support in the U.S., support in Europe and so on will fray,” he added. “And he’s doing what Russian armies have always done, and that is sending large numbers of relatively poorly equipped poorly trained conscripts to the front lines and in the belief that mass will overcome.”
The bad decisions made in Washington almost match those made in the cockroach general staff and Kremlin. This is what is hampering better Ukrainian performance and speedy victory.