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7 Dec, 2023 13:16

Russian intel chief warns US of ‘second Vietnam’

Western attempts to exhaust Russia in the Ukraine conflict could backfire, Sergey Naryshkin has said
Russian intel chief warns US of ‘second Vietnam’

The US risks sleepwalking into another Vietnam War-style debacle by backing Kiev in its fight with Moscow, Sergey Naryshkin, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), has said.

In an opinion piece for Razvedchik magazine issued by the SVR and published on Thursday, Naryshkin predicted tectonic geopolitical shifts in the coming year. They would be marked, he warned, by an intensified confrontation between the West and those countries that oppose its hegemony.

The intelligence chief suggested that the Western bloc would try to defend the dominance that is slipping from its grasp, with the ripples of the struggle likely to spread across the world.

The West will be particularly focused on the Ukraine conflict, Naryshkin predicted. It “would try as much as possible to prolong the fighting” in a bid to turn hostilities into “a second Afghanistan” and defeat Russia in a battle of attrition, using unprecedented sanctions and pumping Kiev with weapons.

However, he warned that there is a high chance that continued support for the “Kiev junta” – given that the Ukraine conflict is becoming an increasingly “toxic” issue in the eyes of the global community – would lead to a rapid erosion of Western authority.

The further we go, the more Ukraine will turn into a ‘black hole’, absorbing material and human resources. In the end, the US risks bringing upon itself a ‘second Vietnam’.”

According to Naryshkin, should this come to pass, every US administration will have to deal with this conundrum until “a more or less reasonable person comes to power in Washington” with enough courage and determination to extinguish the crisis.

The 1955-1975 Vietnam War, in which the US actively supported anti-Communist forces, is widely regarded as one of the worst conflicts in America's recent history. Apart from claiming the lives of about 58,000 US soldiers, it shattered public confidence in the government, in no small measure due to several controversies surrounding alleged war crimes committed by Washington.

Under relentless public pressure, US forces completely withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, with the Washington-backed government being defeated a few years later.

Russian officials have repeatedly warned the West against arming Ukraine, arguing that it will only prolong the conflict but not change its ultimate outcome. Moscow has also said that by supporting Kiev, NATO is essentially waging a war against Russia.