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McCaffrey: NATO Can Win Ground War with Russia Without Danger of Nuclear Reponse

Retired General Barry McCaffrey said last week that while the Russian military can do a lot of damage, they are royally botching Putin’s war against Ukraine:

“You know, this entire Ukrainian intervention has called into question the capabilities of the Russian armed forces, which I do not underestimate,” McCaffrey began. “They’re still a large, reasonably well-equipped fighting force. They took on an operation they didn’t understand, they had bad assumptions, their command and control has broken down but they’re still a threat.”

…”the generals have lost control of this massive formation,” McCaffery replied after briefly laughing. “This is bizarre behavior, abandoned vehicles, no vehicle track recovery units, very little, apparently, effective use of airpower in coordination with ground power. They’re going back to being an artillery army, pounding and encircling cities and trying to starve them out. So I think the generals are getting desperate” [Tom Boggioni, “Barry McCaffrey: Putin’s Generals Have ‘Lost Control’ in Ukraine and Fear He’ll Have Them Shot,” Raw Story, 2022.03.08].

If we want to stop the Russian’s shambling but nonetheless devastating invasion of Ukraine, General McCaffrey says that NATO would have to go beyond a no-fly zone and go after the Russians on the ground. McCaffrey says NATO could win open war with Russia:

“NATO can clearly knock the Russians into the next world in a 30-day air campaign. They can take out their ground elements, which are still inviting targets. So the question is, is NATO there? The answer is no. And is the president prepared to risk escalation? I think the answer is, no. We need to understand — I don’t think World War III is in the offing. I think that’s nonsense. Putin is so over his head. 60 percent of his ground capability is in Ukraine and half his air power. So it’s a question of are we going to watch Ukraine go under or not?”

…”The Russians would be squashed if they tried to attack Poland, Romania, never mind a massive movement to take Western Europe. It’s not even in the cards. However, what is in the cards is that NATO has now pulled itself together in dramatic fashion. I think the Biden’s team been brilliant in the way they handled this, moved forward as an alliance, not as a U.S. unilateral move” [Tom Boggioni, “Retired Gen. McCaffrey Stuns MSNBC Hosr with Plan to Cripple Putin’s Army in Ukraine,” Raw Story, 2022.03.12].

Senator Mike Rounds said the day after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, “We don’t really want to get into an armed conflict with another nuclear power at this point,” but General McCaffrey says mutually assured destruction still checks the possibility of Putin responding with nuclear weapons:

“I cannot imagine a lieutenant colonel in the Russian Air Force telling Mr. Putin, this is a good idea. We have tactical nuclear weapons sitting on boomer submarines of the U.S. Navy that within 15 minutes could respond to a tactical attack. No one in their right mind thinks you can win a nuclear conflict.”

“The Russians have written their doctrine that says escalate to de-escalate. mumbo jumbo,” he added. “They nuke, what? Ukrainian forces, Polish forces, U.S. forces and then say now we want to talk? I don’t think he’s even remotely going to do that. If there was a giant nuclear exchange, it would be armageddon for the civilized world” [Boggioni, 2022.03.13].

Senator Mike Rounds says we are doing whatever we can to help Ukraine. General McCaffrey says we can fight and win a ground war with Russia to keep Ukraine free. At what point do we put our military where our mouth is and end Putin’s war and warmaking capacity?


  1. sx123 2022-03-14 08:37

    There’s more to this than the ICBMs or sub launched nukes Russia has.

    They also have hypersonic ballistic missiles which are supposedly unstoppable. Mach 5-10 and can carry nukes or more conventional war heads.

    We open up a hornets nest if we get too involved.

    But, what if they go after Finland too, also not NATO? Would that get us involved more? I’d say probably.

    Armchair quarterbacking is fun, with little risk, as opposed to actually quarterbacking.

  2. Tom 2022-03-14 09:16

    any politician will accept the blood of the soldier to make a point…or get reelected… I don’t see a stampede towards the military enlistment office in the mall so who ya gonna call?

  3. John 2022-03-14 11:12

    Every time Biden says, no US troops in Ukraine, he encourages Putin. Every time rounds says, the US is doing enough for Ukraine, he’s encouraging Putin.
    It’s long past the time to stop being afraid of Putin, to stop seeking counsel of our fears; and it’s the time to make Putin afraid of US.

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-03-14 11:23

    Let’s see, a dick tator who’s slightly unhinged, hummm. What could go wrong?

  5. cibvet 2022-03-14 11:34

    There are a lot of people in the US who would live under Putin’s threat as long as long as the price of gas would go back to 2 dollars a gal.
    The I 90 signs kristcon puts up should be
    Freedom is not Free
    Fill up and Shut up!

  6. John 2022-03-14 12:36

    The price of oil dropped 20% in the past week.
    The price of gas went up.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-14 12:56

    What’s the point of having a military if not to protect ourselves, our allies, and humanity and to stop bad guys from doing bad things?

    How much do we let Putin take before we throw a punch? Will sanctions be enough to stop him and save Ukraine?

  8. Ben Cerwinske 2022-03-14 13:50

    Given Putin’s instability, nuclear capability, the fact that the execution of the war has been terrible, they have a poor economy, and that the Russian people don’t seem to be all that supportive, it’s likely best to let Putin punch himself out. As difficult as it may be to standby while atrocities take place, we could easily have a much bigger atrocity if we get too involved.

  9. mike from iowa 2022-03-14 13:58

    Putie Pie is asking China for financial and military aid and has a million dollar bounty on his pasty white hide.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-03-14 16:43

    As if Republicans couldn’t get more evil there is a widely held belief by some in that party that “Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping are heroes working together to overthrow the deep state. They support the invasion of Ukraine and appear to want China to invade Taiwan.”

  11. Mark Anderson 2022-03-14 18:39

    Well it’s still an interesting world. In World War 2 we sanctioned the Japanese, then they went to war against us. Maybe we can do it again. I’m 55 miles from a major Air Force base,no problem.
    This is a nutcase of a leader we are talking about. Rapid City goodbye. Thought all this was behind us. 4000 nuclear weapons, should be spectacular.

  12. RST Tribal Member 2022-03-14 19:27

    Let’s see how clear this picture gets when fools want to overtake a country: Putin attacks Ukraine, check. China wants to attack Taiwan, check. Trump wants to attack voting machines, huh? The inept inbred republicans in SD have a new level of stupidity to race down to in quick order per 45.

    RINO Thune is successfully keeping a down-low profile with his 6 plus height. Rounds are reading from the GOP/Putin supporting script. Dusty is looking in a mirror, trying to come to terms with who is looking back at him, and he is losing the debate. Noem wants to be drilled, and NOW. The inept inbred SD republicans got jilted by the State’s AG. Heinert went to go gather buffalo for tribes. All heck is breaking loose in Washington and the dumb Doom in Pierre.

    War is hell, especially for the women and children getting shot to hell. Hope the sweat from Rounds’ hands doesn’t smudge the ink on GOP/Putin’s script. Don’t want him wandering too far off-script. Rounds can burp spit words at 45, but Putin, that’s the true commander of at less 31 GOP Senators and FOX.

    As the pillow guy and 45 prep for war with voting machines in November 2022, the killing goes on in Ukraine. There are about 41 million people in Ukraine, almost three million have fled for their lives. This leaves Putin with around 37 million or so to murder unless he is stopped. Where is that bible carrying 45? Maybe putting him and SD AG in a car heading for Moscow, arm one with a cell phone with a link to DFP and the other with a bible (he/it cleared the streets of Washington in 2020).

    Ukraine if you don’t get murdered into extinction, be aware that Hitler and Putin are following the patterns of U.S. treatment of Native Nations. Yikes.

  13. jerry 2022-03-14 22:51

    Thune is wondering if he can get back to Mother Russia and daddy Putin this coming 4th of July. He hopes that there will be time to get the gang of republican senators back on the stage again… This looks like it will be impossible as Putin is getting his arse handed to him on a Javelin platter. Damn, those things make armor a thing of the past…much like it was in the olden days.

    Watch Thune lie clap when the prez of Ukraine addresses congress. The treasonous Thune will act like nothing happened when he showed his arse in Moscow.

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