Former CIA director: US is sending ‘unhelpful message’ to allies

Retired US Army General and former Director of the CIA David Petraeus explains to CNN's Wolf Blitzer why he believes the United States is sending an "unhelpful message" in tanks dilemma with European allies. #CNN #News


  1. As a German who closely follows the news and public statements, I would recommend a clearer, more straitforward stance towards tanks in order to push Germany to approve the Leopards. Scholz always stated “we need to consult with our transatlantic partner” as one of the main excuses for not sending Leopards. If a US official would just openly say “we cannot send Abrams due to reason x, y, z, HOWEVER we support the Ukrainian demands to send Leopards” there wouldn’t be a justification for the SPD anymore to block it.

    1. @Robert Downes if American voters continue to feel that European NATO countries are not contributing your fair share, then Donald Trump will be re-elected. Donald Trump’s first action will be to withdraw the USA from NATO !
      Is Germany preparing to defend Europe from Putin ? How did it work out for France and Britain, when Germany mobilized for War, and France and Britain didn’t prepare themselves ?
      Germany is near Dunkirk ?

    2. @Zhufor TheImpaler You forgot to list Sweden having around 120 Strv 122 which is a Leopard 2A5+ derivative with improved thicker armor, blowout panels that many Leopards are missing and active measures like Trophy and ready to be fitted with reactive armor. It’s basically a 2A6/7 just without the longer barrel. If we’re willing to send CV90 and Archer we could send some of these as well. So one more country added to that list.

      However I also agree that the US should send Abrams M1A1, at the very least a token number to boost morale and take away Germanys excuses, at best a larger number that’ll impact the War on a larger scale. Why the USA is hesitating I don’t know really.

    3. @孫悟空 yeah but these are Abram tanks, not suitable for Ukraine. They are way too heavy, consume to much fuel. And that type of fuel is not really available in Ukraine. They don’t have the parts and repair facilities, including mechanics. So whenever one breaks down, it needs to be transported back to Poland which is a 1000km. And then it needs to travel all the way back again. It’s a logistical nightmare to bring Abrams tanks into the war. That’s why!

  2. As an American living in Ukraine 🇺🇦, thank you Gen. Petraeus. He is completely correct. Why not send 14 if that’s what it takes to open the floodgates of critically needed Leopards.

    1. ​@Me Me It would take them years to reverse engineer and even to tool to manufacture.. Plus those systems are old.. Abram tanks for example are old platforms and ones we would send wouldn’t be anymore advanced than the T-90m’s Russia already has. Hell, Iraq has Abram tanks now… We just don’t send our new stuff to other countries. Sending these to Ukraine would not be that big of a deal.. It is not like they can manufacture them as they don’t actually have the capability to or the tooling to do so.. For perspective, how long has Iran had F-14 tomcats? Well, they still can’t manufacture those either…

    2. @J. Skye _’The United States would militarily and financially be on it’s own…’_ NATO invoked Article 5 the day after the US was attacked on 9/11. NATO nations sent personnel to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan for 20 years. US allies have fought alongside the US in nearly EVERY conflict it’s ever been in. WTF are you on about?

    3. @Sunmusing they definitely do not have that intel otherwise the US would be ready to give them tanks with open arms. The fact of the matter is Abrams tanks (non export model) still has a lots of classified technology behind the armor design. There’s a reason why the US destroys its tanks if they can’t recover it. I think if anything they need to give them export models that were given to the Iraqis or Saudis. There’s no excuse there but to give them non-export models is a stupid idea as there is no doubt China and Iran will reverse engineer them.

  3. USA : Germany must give their thank to ukraine..
    Germany : then you first
    USA : you first
    Germany : you think im an idiot.. if many of them is destroyed it could be bad for its future marketing..

    1. Unlike artilleries like HIMARS, tanks are meant to be used at the frontline. They’ll directly engage the enemy, and be shot at. A significant number of them will be knocked out, regardless how well they perform. It is war, there’s no getting around that.

  4. “Battle lines are static” ? If things are alright why all this panick about tanks ? Things are obviously going very badly for the Ukrainians and NATO is extremely worried about what will fall soon.

  5. Putin is relying on the rest of the world’s inability to make timely decisions. Delays help Russian efforts and may ultimately cost more. Depending on the outcome, history may be unkind to those involved in these pivotal decisions.

  6. Give some of the older M1A1’s from storage… they only weigh 55 tons vs. The M1A2’s 70 tons… and there are 2000 of them in storage.

    1. @Alex Rodriguez Yeah man. It is so frustrating the stinginess, the umm-ing and aah-ing, the talkfests.
      Get serious send 100 for use and 100 for spares – even 50+50. That leaves 1800/1900 of the effing things.

    2. Doesnt solve the major issue with this tank: The difficult maintenance situation for the power plant and its higher fuel consumption. Ukraine will not have the supply & maintenance muscle the US Army has and before long, the tanks will be just piling up in maintenance shops as opposed to wrecking Russian forces. To illustrate the difference: A Leopard 2 Diesel power pack can be replaced in as little as 20 minutes in the field with a pioneer tank’s crane. On top of that, its more reliable than the gas turbine and allows you to use up to 40% of other flammable liquids to be mixed with Diesel and still work effectively. The Leopard 2 is lighter, has the same 1500HP and more range.

    3. @Ganiscol you are missing the pointt- M1A1s are symbolic- can easily outfit maintain an elite “guards “ type brigade around Kiev , and then force berlin to get on with it.

    4. @Ganiscol and they need to be repaired in Poland, which is a 1000km from the front….and then back again. The recovery vehicles Ukraine uses are Russian as well, so they probably won’t even be able to pull those tanks so you would need American ones of these as well. That’s a long way fuel wise and on top of that Russia has eyes in the sky as well. Sending those tanks would be a further escalation and then Russia would do the same and simply destroy the railroad infrastructure using heavier bombs which prevents Ukraine from easily repairing stuff. But perhaps more importantly, Ukraine would need air power to provide air cover for those tanks else they are just sitting ducks. But if we send them fighter planes all hell breaks loose

  7. US Excuses and [Rebuttal]:
    1. Technical – “Our tanks are too sophisticated for the Ukrainians they would need Ph.D.’s in mechanical engineering to operate and maintain them.” [Any tanker can break track, tension track, check fluids, clean filters, clean and boresight weapons, This is all the maintenance required in a combat zone]
    2. Logistical – “Our tanks require specialized maintenance crews.” [Well, Iraq with lower national technical ability than Ukraine uses the Abrams and the conversion of mechanics from one tank type to another can be done in weeks]
    3. Operational – “Our tanks are gas guzzlers and use gas-turbine engines that are beyond the technical knowledge of Ukrainians.” [Ukraine’s Moto Sich is one of the largest manufacturers of turbines in Europe with hundreds of experienced engineers and Ukraine has so far not indicated it has a fuel problem].
    4. Political – “Our congress would not allow us and the process of getting congressional approval is long and tiresome.”
    5. Geopolitical – “We need our tanks to face China.” [Any conflict over Taiwan is likely to be naval]
    6. Transport – “It would be impossible to quickly transport hundreds of tanks from the US to Ukraine.” [Any RORO car carrier would transport at least 50 MBTs]
    7. Weight – “Our Abrams is too heavy for Ukraine.” [The 2500-built Leopard 2a4 weighs 55 tons while the 3,273-produced Abrams m1 weighs 54 tons. Even the 6000-produced Abrams m1a1 weighs a manageable 60 tons. These are the tanks in US storage. It is later versions of the m1a1 sa and m1a2 that weigh more than 60 tons]
    8. Finance – “We have spent $50 billion on Ukraine while Europe has spent only $12 billion. Deploying European tanks compensates for this disparity.” [The US has lent not given equipment to Ukraine under Lend-lease arrangements, while Europe has given]
    9. Technology – “Our tanks have special technological components which we don’t want to fall into Russian hands.” [All the Abram tanks in storage are early models without any secret technology besides the US routinely strips tech from the tanks it supplies to the middle east]

    Even when you ask the Ukrainians, the tanks they want are Abrams even if it’s just for the political reasons of tying themselves closer to the US.

    1. Its not going to be a good look to see blown up Abrams because Ukraine could not properly maintain the jet engine over the diesel one.

    2. @1k20a Ukraine has many decades of experience with the gas turbine engine of the T-80; the argument that they couldn’t understand or maintain the gas turbine engine of the M1 is unconvincing.

    3. @Account2525 I’m sure Ukraine can at some point handle the Abrams but from what all the top generals say that the Abrams requires a whole other level of maintenance and care. When Iraqi had the Abrams nato was also on the ground

  8. Because of the unsuitability (maintenance-wise), of the Abrams tank in Europe/Ukraine (if NOT operated by the US military), the Leopard 2 is the obvious and right choice. Some lateral thinking is required by the USA and Germany about how the USA can become involved in providing Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine – NOW! – get on with it!

    1. This guy is 100% correct. Supplying the same number as the UK is completely justified. All the arguments about the “problems” are bogus. The Challenger 2 tanks are not suitable either, they are a key to the Leopard 2 door and so is the Abrams. The UK/US tanks will do their job if Zelinsky just tells them to drive around Kyiv!

    2. The west has given soo much to Ukraine has anyone been paying attention? Germany is up to something else. Its easy to work on a diesel engine than a jet engine.

  9. It’s likely that a Ukrainian mechanic that can fix large farm machinery could also maintain Leopards (electronics excluded). Not so much, the Abrams.

  10. Listen to this gentleman, he knows his stuff. Just do it! Russia doesn’t think twice about shooting missiles towards civilians.

    1. @Galaxy explorer Your source is ‘trust me bro’ I guess. Russian missiles have hit a crowded threatre in Mariopol marked ‘Children’ on the roof, a crowded train station, a large mall in Kyiv, a maternity hospital, dozens of schools and hospitals, apartment buildings, many city centres. We can see these things with our eyes but you say ‘no, trust me’, don’t believe your eyes. Only Russians believe your sort of fantasies.

    2. Wasn’t this man involved in “Shock and Awe ” in the middle east, and civilian’s got killed in that.

  11. As Patreus said, this isn’t about the tanks the Brits, the US or the Germans send. It’s about the tanks Poland, the Baltic states, Finland (did he mention someone else?…maybe) will send if they get the go ahead from Germany. Poland has the training and Engineers to train and help Ukraine use and keep these tanks going….and it’s right next door.

  12. One thing the general forgot to mention. That the announcement that the U.S. is giving Abrams tanks to Ukraine include the wordage, “The U.S. expects Germany in the next 24 hours to be announcing that Germany will be releasing the Leopard tank without restriction for Ukraine as well.”

    1. It would probably be a joined statement such as with the Bradley. That being said, as a German, it is ridiculous that the tank that all the experts say is most suited for Ukraine is not being sent just because Mr. Scholz is wining about the Americans not providing MBTs.

  13. It took us Brits saying they would provide tanks to Ukraine for the rest of NATO to start seriously talking about it , it was only after we in the UK announced that we were giving them tanks that anyone else agreed to even talk about it due to fear of escalation.

  14. I’m all for providing Ukraine with whatever tools necessary to defend themselves. I’ve personally donated to the Ukrainian military. I support them whole heartedly in this. That said, criticizing the USA in this tank situation is totally unfair. The USA have donated more than all other NATO countries combined times THREE. Germany has contributed much, much, much less than this. They’ve talked a lot about Ukraine and the importance of them being able to defend themselves but they have not backed it up in action to the level they could. America should not have to give their tanks for Germany to do this. We have done and are doing orders of magnitude more already.

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