Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – official guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed former Trump appointed Ambassador to Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Jim Gilmore to the newsmaker line to explain how he sees the war between Russia and Ukraine and the changes in international politics.
Gulbransen: On the newsmaker line right now, we have, in my opinion, the greatest governor Virginia ever had and the Trump-appointed ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Jim Gilmore. How are you doing today, sir?
Gilmore: Good morning, Aaron, and thanks for the chance to talk to your listeners in Nashville.
Gulbransen: Thank you, sir. So for those of you who are listening, who don’t know, Governor Gilmore is one of the foremost foreign policy experts in the country, and he has strong views on Ukraine. So I’m just going to tee you up here.
Why don’t you tell us what’s going on in Ukraine, what work you’ve done at the OSCE with that and the Russian threat, and what needs to be done?
Gilmore: Well, listen, I appreciate your introducing the topic, as you know, and have said, I was the last ambassador to the OSCE. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Now, that’s a 56-country international organization headquartered in Vienna, Austria. So Roxanne and I were located to Vienna.
We lived there for almost two years, and I served as the Senate confirmed ambassador to that organization, which reviews security issues and a variety of other human rights issues and military issues all throughout Europe.
And one of the principal issues we were dealing with, of course, has been the aggression of Russia against Ukraine. I was very close to the Ukrainian ambassador. I was well acquainted with the Russian ambassador, all the Western European countries, the Balkans, and the Baltics.
And now, of course, we have observed this invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign country by Russia. This is a remarkable change in international politics. It’s a remarkable change in the safety and security of Europe and the United States. The war has been going on.
Your listeners can read the current events just as well as I can. The Russian’s first objective there was to decapitate the government of its neighbor, Ukraine, and basically make it a puppet government.
The goal there was to invade Kyiv and make an effort to completely take over that government and put in people who would welcome them and say, oh, thank you, Russia, for coming in and taking us over and saving us from these Nazis.
Well, there are no Nazis in Ukraine. That’s not really what’s going on. I believe, in my opinion, that the purpose of this war is for Putin to try to take his place in history and to try to reassemble the Russian Empire.
He has said that Russia was threatened by Ukraine, but that is not true. He says that Russia was threatened by NATO. That is also not true. NATO is strictly a defensive alliance.
And what is really going on is the bald-faced, raw aggression of Russia against its neighbor. Well, of course, what’s happened is the Ukrainians say, well, wait just a minute. We’ve got something to say about this.
And they have fought heroically to preserve their independence, to preserve their sovereignty, and to prevent themselves from being taken over by their neighbor by force. But, Aaron, the real significance of this is that the rules now of international relations are changing.
If Russia prevails in Ukraine in any way, really, they will have proven that aggression works. And if that’s the case, I think the Americans have to keep their eye open on every place on the globe and worry that the authoritarian powers at this point may break out and try to attack their neighbors.
And at that point, we’re really in the trouble in the fire for the years ahead. So there’s a lot going on right now. But I believe that the United States has everything at stake. I believe that Europe is central to the safety and security of the United States.
I think World War II proved that. So we’re in a real conflict here. And your listeners need to be aware that despite all the distractions that we see, this is a very serious international situation.
Gulbransen: This was something that since you were over in Vienna as the ambassador to OSCE, you warned about this for some time.
That was one of the principal things you did over there was to warn about Russia’s aggression and Russia’s intentions, correct? This didn’t catch you off guard once it started happening.
Gilmore: That’s exactly right. You have to be a fear of fortune to see what was going on. I think that the American goal and the allies’ goal was to try to prevent this, to try to prevent Russia from moving forward and pulling the trigger.
But once they rallied 150 or amassed 150,000 soldiers around Ukraine, their intentions were obvious. But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to win every time they made a mistake by making this invasion in my view.
The Ukrainians have fought hard. The Americans and their allies have given the Ukrainians material and weapons to defend themselves, and they’re doing so effectively. That doesn’t mean it’s over, though, Aaron.
It doesn’t mean that it’s over at all. Their plan was to decapitate the government to take over Kyiv if that didn’t work and isn’t going to work.
So now their goal is plan B, which is to take over the Eastern part of Ukraine, which is called the Donbas region, and to then, I believe, trying to absorb that into Russia, it’s just naked aggression.
And we just have to wait and see. They have lost a lot of soldiers, Maybe as many as 30,000 soldiers, which is a major portion of the Russian Army.
Maybe 1,000 tanks, 100s of artillery pieces. So their aggression has so far not worked. But just massive invasion by Russian soldiers still makes the outcome of this war uncertain.
Listen to the interview:
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