WASHINGTON DC, The United States – The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), David Petraeus, called Russian President Vladimir Putin “the greatest gift” to NATO during the Raisina Dialogue conference, hosted in India by the Observer Research Foundation with government support Indian.
According to Petraeus, Putin’s coming to power provided the Alliance with a “new reason for its existence.”
“Let’s keep in mind if you will that Vladimir Putin is the greatest gift to NATO since the end of the Cold War. [He] has provided a new reason for living, if you will, for NATO. And indeed the US is continuing to be the backbone, in many respects, of the force, not just there but in other places around the world,” Petraeus said, speaking at the Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The former CIA director opined that Washington could challenge the “new geopolitical order” even with the help of NATO. He added that despite President Donald Trump’s criticism of NATO, the White House continues to develop plans to increase the presence of the military contingent in Europe.
Trump has repeatedly called on NATO countries to increase defense resources. According to the decision taken at the Alliance’s summit in Bucharest in 2014, all member countries must assume a share of spending equivalent to 2 percent of GDP. However, according to NATO estimates for 2017, of the 29 countries that make up the bloc, only 6 have managed to reach this level.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has the rank of lieutenant as commander of an artillery platoon.
The leader of the country spoke during his visit to the Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul in the city of St. Petersburg, during which the president carried out a traditional firing of the Soviet cannon D-30 of 122 mm.
“I received the rank of lieutenant as gunner, commander of a squad of howitzers,” Putin explained.
The cannon firing at noon is an ancient St. Petersburg tradition, which this year marks 154 years.
Before the Revolution of 1917, the artillery firing of the fortress served not only to mark the exact time, but also to inform the local residents about births in the royal family. Nowadays, famous people are often invited to fire a shot.