Calls for Restoring Communication to Avoid War Danger

June 11, 2015

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno is speaking out against the sharp deterioration in U.S.-Russia relations, and how the deep freeze in communications, including between the two militaries, has gravely increased the danger of war being triggered by an incident that goes out of control. Yesterday's Christian Science Monitor quoted Odierno's comments to defense reporters on May 28:

"I'm a big believer in, no matter how big your disagreements are, it's important that you continue to have discussions... I believe we should be having these conversations, but we're not...I've actually tried to meet with my Russian counterpart on two separate occasions, and both times they've refused to do that in neutral settings. So it's concerning."

The CSM quotes a qualified expert on the Russian side, former defense ministry spokesman Viktor Baranets: "I don't want to sound alarmist, but judging by the rapid pace of events and growing aggressiveness on all sides, we may be moving toward disaster." The article cites an April 2014 air incident between Russia and the U.S., as well as the more recent case of the U.S.S. Ross in the Black Sea, as the kind of "near misses" which could rapidly escalate to catastrophic proportions in the current environment.