General David Petraeus
1/19/2023
General Petraeus, Former Head of the CIA, Gives His Assessment on the War in Ukraine, Relations with China and Other Key Geopolitical Developments

General David Petraeus has been described as the ultimate soldier/scholar. Targeted by Osama Bin Laden when Commander in Afghanistan, whose communications later revealed that “killing him would alter the war”, he became Director of the CIA and today is Chair of the KKR Global Institute.

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General David Petraeus has been described as the ultimate soldier/scholar. Targeted by Osama Bin Laden when Commander in Afghanistan, whose communications later revealed that “killing him would alter the war”, he became Director of the CIA and today is Chair of the KKR Global Institute.

In the conversation, David Petraeus gives his assessment of the war now, and describes the strategic and tactical failings of Russia compared to the heroic and masterful execution by Ukraine. He explains the woeful Russian execution of the war and possible next steps.

He continues by evaluating NATO cohesion, before discussing China, and why a mature conversation is essential between China and the West. He then discusses Iran, cyber security, businesses supply chains evolving from “just in time, to just in case”, to the dollar, the individual he would most like to meet, along with other potent insights.

General David Petraeus

General Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands as a general officer , five of which were in combat, including command of the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Following retirement from the military and after Senate confirmation by a vote of 94-0, he served as Director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the global war on terror, the establishment of important Agency digital initiatives, and substantial investments in the Agency’s most important asset, its human capital. He's now Chairman of the KKR Global Institute.

Themes & Collaborations

In the episode, he references his February 2022 interview with The Atlantic, where he suggested that Putin would fail to take Kiev due to a lack of manpower and popular support.

Learn more about the Ukraine war via our interview with General Sir Nick Carter (former Chief of the UK Defence Staff). Or enjoy a historical perspective on the changing world order, courtesy of our episode with Peter Frankopan (bestselling author of ‘Silk Roads’ and Professor of Global History at Oxford University). 

In the discussion, Petraus references the Microsoft/Brad Smith report on Russia’s cyber offensive. It explains how the first shots of the war were actually fired in cyberspace, and how Russia attacked 48 Ukrainian business and government agencies as part of their cyber campaign.

In this highlight video from the episode, Petraus explains why he believes China will ultimately surpass the United States.

Petraus explains how he helps his clients at KKR and what they ask from him. Learn more about the KKR via our interview with Philipp Freise (Co-Head of European Private Equity at KKR).

Books Covered
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