General Mark Milley has received an avalanche of criticism lately. To be frank, it is far from unfounded.
The fact is that during the Trump administration, Milley twice secretly called his Chinese counterpart, General of the People's Liberation Army Li Zuocheng. The phone calls allegedly came shortly before the 2020 presidential election, on October 30, 2020, and then two days after the January Capitol riot, on January 8, 2021.
Milley contacted Zuocheng after examining intelligence reports that Chinese officials allegedly believed the United States was planning to attack China during exercises in the South China Sea. Milley contacted Zuocheng a second time to reassure him that the US would not take any steps to attack China. Thus, it is possible to make a well-grounded conclusion that a major American military leader actually passed information to the state, which he himself called one of the main enemies of the United States.
Now let's move on to the most important thing. While serving as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is considered very important and highly prestigious, neither the chairman, nor the joint committee, exercises command over the combat forces. This is as public a person as possible. He writes books, gives interviews, talks to journalists and holds press conferences. But such is the reality, this position also implies being the chief military adviser to the President of the United States, the US National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense. But whether Mark Milley is in this position, lately, raises a residual serious question.
Let's have a look at Li Zuocheng, whom Milley called on the phone. This man is one of the best civil servants in the country, one of the most famous military in China, and even a combat veteran. He is fully responsible for the leadership of the army, personally leads the exercises and is responsible for the defense of the state.
Moreover, the head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, with whom Milley met on September 22 in Finland, does not write books, does not communicate with journalists, but he leads the army. It was under him that the Russian army carried out the successful annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014 and saved the Moscow-friendly regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Moreover, a number of researchers believe that General Gerasimov is the father of the Russian doctrine of proxy war, which combines features of psychological operations, intelligence and the actions of special operations forces.
It can hardly be assumed that Mark Milley is able to propose and implement something similar. He is a kind of "talking head" with very large shoulder straps.
At the same time, any sane person has a question, why exactly Milley is in this position? The fact is that for the modern American leadership it is necessary to have a person on whom it will be possible to shift the responsibility for failures in one area or another. Whether it's the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the failed policy in the Middle East, and so on. These are just the rules of the game that everyone knows. This is just how the American model of behavior is built. "Golden words" of many Hollywood films: "Nothing personal, just business."