War in Ukraine Has Weakened Putin, C.I.A. Director Writes

War in Ukraine Has Weakened Putin, C.I.A. Director Writes

The conflict in Ukraine has “quietly corroded” the ability of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the C.I.A. director, William J. Burns, wrote in an essay revealed on Tuesday.

While Mr. Putin’s grip on energy was unlikely to quickly weaken, Mr. Burns wrote in Foreign Affairs, disaffection had “gnawed away on the Russian management and the Russian individuals,” permitting the C.I.A. to recruit extra spies.

The company has made a collection of movies geared toward recruiting Russian officers. The most up-to-date, released last week, encourages Russians to securely present info to the C.I.A. utilizing a safe browser on the darkish net. The newest video makes an enchantment to their anger over corruption within the Russian authorities.

While the U.S. authorities won’t say what number of spies have been recruited with the movies, officers mentioned the company wouldn’t have continued to push them on Telegram and YouTube in the event that they weren’t efficient. Mr. Burns echoed this sentiment in his article.

“That undercurrent of disaffection is making a once-in-a-generation recruiting alternative for the C.I.A.,” he wrote. “We should not letting it go to waste.”

Part of Mr. Putin’s weak spot stems from his dealing with of the mutiny final 12 months by members of Russia’s strongest mercenary group. He seemed “indifferent and indecisive” within the face of the mutiny led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner mercenary group, Mr. Burns wrote.

Mr. Burns wrote that Mr. Putin “finally settled his rating with Prigozhin,” a reference to the mercenary chief’s demise in a suspicious aircraft crash. Despite that, the critique of Russian management that Mr. Prigozhin put in entrance of the Russian individuals “won’t quickly disappear,” Mr. Burns wrote.

“For many within the Russian elite, the query was not a lot whether or not the emperor had no garments as why he was taking so lengthy to dress,” Mr. Burns mentioned.

Russia has rebuilt its navy industrial manufacturing, however its financial system has been deeply wounded by the conflict, he mentioned. And long run, Russia is “sealing its destiny” to be a vassal of China, depending on Beijing for commerce and know-how.

Ukraine faces challenges within the conflict however has achieved dramatic outcomes. Russia’s efforts to modernize its navy has been “hollowed out,” and 315,000 Russians have been killed or wounded, Mr. Burns wrote.

Ukraine has additionally suffered deep casualties, although Mr. Burns didn’t contact on that straight. U.S. officers have struggled to estimate exactly what number of lives have been misplaced in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin’s technique is to proceed to grind down Ukraine and attempt to outlast Western help. But Ukraine, Mr. Burns wrote, can “puncture Putin’s vanity” by launching strikes deeper behind the hardened entrance traces of the battlefield. In the previous, U.S. officers have fearful that Ukraine’s assaults would possibly trigger Russia to escalate, even presumably by conducting a nuclear take a look at as a warning to Ukraine and the West.

Mr. Burns acknowledged that considerations about nuclear escalation have been legitimate however urged they shouldn’t be exaggerated.

“Putin would possibly interact once more in nuclear saber-rattling, and it will be silly to dismiss escalatory dangers totally,” he wrote. “But it will be equally silly to be unnecessarily intimidated by them.”

The key to Ukraine’s success, Mr. Burns wrote, was to proceed offering U.S. support.

Congress is contemplating a brand new bundle of navy support, however it has grow to be entangled with the politics of a border and immigration deal on Capitol Hill.

Cutting off Ukraine, Mr. Burns wrote, can be an enormous mistake.

“Keeping the arms flowing will put Ukraine in a stronger place if a possibility for critical negotiations emerges,” Mr. Burns mentioned. “It presents an opportunity to make sure a long-term win for Ukraine and a strategic loss for Russia; Ukraine might safeguard its sovereignty and rebuild, whereas Russia can be left to take care of the enduring prices of Putin’s folly.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ushered in a brand new period for the C.I.A., Mr. Burns wrote. He spoke of the early warning of the approaching invasion that intelligence companies supplied the Biden administration, Ukraine and allies.

But the brand new period, Mr. Burns mentioned, was additionally about taking benefits of latest applied sciences, together with synthetic intelligence. Those have reworked how the C.I.A. collects intelligence, permitting it to investigate info quicker and extra effectively.

“As a lot because the world is altering, espionage stays an interaction between people and know-how,” he wrote.

While there will likely be secrets and techniques that solely people can acquire, Mr. Burns continued, the C.I.A. should “mix mastery of rising applied sciences with the people-to-people abilities and particular person daring which have all the time been on the coronary heart of our career.”



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