Even though Ukraine has been in a state of ceasefire for a solid year now, the annual assessment from the US Director of National Intelligence on Russia still centered heavily on putative “Russian aggression” in Eastern Ukraine, saying the Russians are forcing the US “into another Cold War-like spiral.”
Clapper’s assessment accused the Russians of being “paranoid about NATO” and its ability to contain Russia, though the rest of his comments did not dispute the notion that NATO and US missile defense programs are aimed heavily at weakening Russia.
Indeed, Clapper conceded that the missile defense is a threat to Russia’s “great power status” because it would “neuter” their nuclear arsenal. Russia has previously responded to threats to deploy missile defense on the Russian frontier by threatening to deploy more missiles along that same frontier to counter the effort.
Historically, the US has insisted the missile defense in Europe was solely aimed at Iran, and the fact that it was all on the Russian border was coincidental. That Iran’s missiles don’t have the range to reach those parts of Europe never made this a very credible argument, but Clapper appeared to scrap it entirely, a tacit admission that they’re targeting Russia, while railing against Russia’s “paranoia” for noticing that they’re being targeted.
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