January 15, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 6739

Defense Minister Shoigu On Ashton Carter's Remarks: He Confused Our Two Countries

January 15, 2017
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 6739

Commenting on the recent interview with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who had dismissed Russia's effort against ISIS as amounting to "virtually zero" while interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press,"[1] Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu shot back that Carter had "confused [the two] countries." Shoigu admitted that the operation in Syria had "required us to exert all our efforts, our resources, and our capabilities." His statements were aired on Russia 24 on January 10.

Shoigu: The International Community Did 'Less Than Zero' In Syria

Shoigu: "Yesterday, I watched an interview with one of my counterparts from abroad, who said, in his words, that Russia’s contribution to the fights against international terrorism in Syria and in the region in general was ‘virtually zero.’ I could have agreed with him if, for one thing, he had not confused (our two) countries, and, for another, had been more careful in his assessments.

See MEMRI TV Clip No. 5837, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu on Ashton Carter's Remarks: He Confused Our Two Countries, January 10, 2017.

"That’s why we decided to sum up some results of our actions in Syria during the past year. I think that this is quite important. We have achieved the main objectives for the past year, set by the Supreme Commander. However hard it was for us, and however much we needed the support of the international coalition – which did less than zero – to our deep regret, we received no support from it. That required us to exert all our efforts, our resources, and our capabilities, in order to dispatch major forces to Syria, including an aircraft carrier group and extra aerospace forces."[2]

Duma Deputy Chairperson: Carter’s Statement Could Be Described As 'Terminal Hysteria’

Other Russian officials reacted to Carter’s statements. State Duma Deputy Chairperson Irina Yarovaya said: "The Pentagon chief's statement could be described as 'terminal hysteria'. It only means a total failure, when someone loses his nerve and the only choice [he has] is to accuse the one who is effective in fighting terrorism, which is Russia."[3]

Sergey Zheleznyak,  a member of the State Duma’s Committee for International Affairs., said: "I think it makes no sense now if we pay any attention to statements made by resigning U.S. politicians. However, through his lies, Mr. Carter not only disgraced himself but the agency he is heading, an agency that must possess authentic information about who achieved what in Syria." He then added: "Their [the killed terrorists’] associates who are being cared for by the U.S. will hardly like this. The situation in which Mr. Carter just put himself is not only foolish, it is very worrying. I hope that the new leaders of the United States will show a more professional attitude to their work and we will not have to waste our time explaining basic facts. The leading players in the international arena, such as Russia and the United States, must search together for and find solutions to global problems; together they must confront modern challenges and strengthen global stability."[4]

Senator Aleksey Pushkov wrote on his Twitter account: "A. Carter should preferably talk about the Obama’s administration role in establishing ISIS in order to use it against Assad, instead of telling fairytales about the "virtually zero" Russian contribution [in the fight against terror]."[5]

Commenting on Carter’s statements, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also pounced on CIA Director John Brennan’s statements that Washington’s move to fully withdraw troops from Iraq in 2011 was "a contributing factor" to the instability that helped ISIS flourish in the region.[6] Zakharova stated: "Following the logic of American military officials, Russia is to blame for failing to fix Washington’s mistakes." She then added: "Based on these statements, either key representatives of the Obama administration do not communicate with each other at all (for reasons we can only guess, although, knowing who were his closest associates in charge of the whole kitchen, this is not surprising), or this is simply a case of catastrophic stupidity. However, one does not exclude the other."[7]




[1] See the full Carter interview.

[3], January 9, 2017.

[4], January 9, 2017.

[5], January 9, 2017.

[7], January 10, 2016.

Share this Report: