Interview to Evangelos D. Kokkinos
"US/NATO-backed war with Russia in Ukraine will eventually result in NATO’s collapse", says Douglas Macgregor Colonel (ret), US Army, PhD*.
Asked whether there are behind-the-scenes negotiations between the US and Russia to end the war, he stresses that exchanges of views are ongoing, but the conditions set by Moscow remain unchanged.
"Of course, a new governing body in Kiev could emerge to ask for peace talks", he said foreshadowing a possible change of leadership in Ukraine before there are any formal negotiations.
Referring to the purges of Russian officers by the Russian military, the experienced in military practice, retired Col. McGregor, explains that "when these actions occur, they should be regarded as a sign of health and effectiveness, not weakness", since the factors leading to them include exhaustion, proven incompetence, failure to obey orders or simply bad luck.
Speaking about Turkey's role in NATO and the expansion of the Alliance to the Nordic countries, Colonel McGregor clarifies that "it is not clear at the moment whether the Turkish parliament will approve Sweden's entry into NATO", as Erdogan always acts in the interests of the Turkish state and Islam. Therefore, "whether the delivery of the F-16s [to Turkey] will take place as promised has not yet been confirmed," he adds.
Additionally, with an eye on the Middle East, Colonel McGregor says that "Russia's alliance with China (and de facto alliance with India) suggests that before committing to any major policy change, Moscow will consult with its ally in Beijing," however, "Putin is currently seeking good relations with all key players in the region."
Asked whether Cyprus could apply for NATO membership as part of an expansion of the alliance, he said he believes this could potentially increase tensions with Turkey and that "Washington's attitude in particular is that NATO is better off with Turkey inside than outside the alliance".
Finally, analysing NATO's post-war role in Europe, Colonel MacGregor predicts the collapse of the North Atlantic Alliance, since NATO has been transformed from a defensive actor into "a tool for US-led Western economic and political interests to dominate Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals".
"Given the very high probability that Washington’s proxy war with Moscow in Ukraine will end in military defeat for Kiev and the economic ruin of Ukraine, if NATO survives at the alliance will be compelled to revert to a defensive posture or transform into a purely European Alliance with a regional security focus", he concludes.
-When and how do you expect the war in Ukraine to end? Is there any US-Russia behind-the-scenes talk of ending the war given the US presidential election season in 2024?
There are no doubt exchanges of views in progress. However, it seems unlikely that short of agreeing to Neutrality for the Ukrainian State that emerges from the war, the fighting will continue. In addition, Washington and its allies will be expected to suspend all aid and withdraw all uniformed and non-uniformed NATO personnel from Ukrainian soil before talks can begin. These preconditions are unlikely to change. Of course, a new governing body in Kiev could emerge to ask for peace talks. This is development is quite possible.
-Do the purges of Russian generals indicate trouble for the Putin regime or are they just another purge by the Kremlin in preparation for a possible attack?
General Officers commanding Soldiers in war are frequently replaced for a range of reasons. These reasons include exhaustion, demonstrated incompetence, failure to obey orders or just bad luck. During the 30 months of fighting in North Africa and Europe between October 1942 and May 1945, 28 American General Officers in the European Theater were relieved of command for some of the reasons mentioned. When these actions occur, they should be regarded as a sign of health and effectiveness, not weakness.
-What is Turkey's role in relation to Russia, the US and NATO in the coming period? Do you think Erdogan will bring Turkey back to the West or were his moves in Vilnius just part of a plan to acquire the F-16s and lift the arms embargo from the West?
Erdogan always acts in the interest of the Turkish State and Islam. Whether the delivery of F-16s will occur as promised is yet to be confirmed. Thus, it is unclear at this point whether the Turkish Parliament will approve Sweden’s entry into NATO. Erdogan has routinely changed direction when it suited him to do so. Thus, I would not attach too much importance to his sudden acquiescence in Sweden’s membership.
-How would you comment on Russia's rising power and its increasing influence in the Middle East and beyond?
For reasons of culture, proximity and strategic interest, Russia has always pursued good relations in the Middle East. Tsar Nicholas I facilitated the establishment of the current border between Iraq and Iran by working to resolve Persian and Ottoman interests after a series of bloody wars between the two Empires. Putin currently seeks good relations with all of the key actors in the region. Russia’s alliance with China (and de facto alliance with India) suggests that before committing to any major policy change, Moscow will consult with its ally in Beijing. As long as Beijing and Moscow have mutually reinforcing interests the two nations will work together to achieve their respective national goals.
-How would you view a request by Cyprus for NATO membership? Is this possible and how could it influence EastMed geopolitics?
Bringing Cyprus into NATO would potentially heighten tensions with Turkey. Given the importance that Brussels attaches to Turkey’s membership in the alliance such a move seems unlikely. Of course, in practical terms Turkey is at most a paper ally, but the attitude in Washington in particular is that NATO is better off with Turkey inside than outside of the alliance.
-Can NATO's eastward expansion include Eurasian and Turkic countries?
Provided NATO is willing to fight a major war with Russia, I suppose such a thing would be possible, but it seems unlikely. The Central Asian Republics tend on balance to value good relations with Moscow.
-What will be NATO's role in Europe after the end of the war in Ukraine? Will multipolarity prevail and what would that mean for the world?
In January 2022, I predicted that a US/NATO-backed war with Russia in Ukraine would eventually result in NATO’s collapse. I continue to anticipate this development. The Atlantic Alliance was transformed into a globalist project for regional domination in the 1990s as seen in the Balkans. NATO is no longer a purely defensive alliance designed to ensure another war in Europe does not break out. On the contrary, NATO is a tool for US-led Western financial and political interests to dominate Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. Given the very high probability that Washington’s proxy war with Moscow in Ukraine will end in military defeat for Kiev and the economic ruin of Ukraine, if NATO survives at the alliance will be compelled to revert to a defensive posture or transform into a purely European Alliance with a regional security focus.
*Douglas Macgregor is a decorated combat veteran, the author of five books, a PhD, and a defense and foreign policy consultant. He was commissioned in the Regular Army in 1976 after 1 year at VMI and 4 years at West Point. In 2004, Macgregor retired with the rank of Colonel. In 2020, the President appointed Macgregor to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, a post he held until President Trump left office. He holds an MA in comparative politics and a PhD in international relations from the University of Virginia.
Macgregor is widely known inside the U.S., Europe, Israel, Russia, China and Korea for both his leadership in the Battle of 73 Easting, the U.S. Army’s largest tank battle since World War II, and for his ground breaking books on military transformation: Breaking the Phalanx (Praeger, 1997) and Transformation under Fire (Praeger, 2003). Macgregor’s recommendations for change in Force Design and “integrated all arms-all effects” operations have profoundly influenced force development in Israel, Russia and China. In 2010, Macgregor traveled to Seoul, Korea to advise the ROK Ministry of Defense on force design. In 2019, Transformation under Fire was selected by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, Chief of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), as the intellectual basis for IDF transformation. His fifth book, Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern War from Naval Institute Press is available in Chinese, as well as, English and will soon appear in Hebrew.
In 28 years of service Macgregor taught in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, commanded the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, and served as the Director of the Joint Operations Center at SHAPE during the 1999 Kosovo Air Campaign for which he was awarded the Defense Superior Service medal. In January 2002, at Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s insistence the USCENTCOM Commander listened to Colonel Macgregor’s concept for the offensive to seize Baghdad. The plan was largely adopted, but assumed no occupation of Iraq by U.S. Forces.
Macgregor has also testified as an expert witness before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and appeared as a defense analyst on Fox News, CNN, BBC, Sky News and public radio. He is fluent in German.