SALT LAKE CITY — After the Beijing Summer Games opened 14 years ago, Ronald Fox was sent on short notice to cross the Ukrainian border to represent the White House and the State Department after Russia invaded the nation of Georgia. Sound familiar?
Some headlines from Monday:
Fox joined Boyd to discuss his experience and what we can learn this time.
“Tell us how you saw this movie unfold 14 years ago? Boyd asked.
“It was almost identical to what we face today. I will say the degree of saber rattle is a little louder this time than it was then,” Fox said.
Inside the Ukrainian border
In Ukraine, Fox said it set up a meeting with President Viktor Yushchenko who fell seriously ill from dioxin poisoning in an apparent assassination attempt during his presidential campaign in 2004; his face was disfigured and pitted.
“There were seriously a large number of Russian agents moving around the country, gathering information, measuring weaknesses,” Fox said. “I had a Marine standing outside my hotel room 24/7.”
He said that within the Ukrainian government at the time there was sympathy towards Russia.
“And then there were a number of people who had been in what they call the Orange Revolution, where they broke away from Russia and wanted to stay very independent,” Fox said.
Troops on high alert
“We now officially have 8,500 U.S. troops on high alert who may be heading to the area. Probably not in Ukraine, but probably a station there in Eastern Europe. What are you watching in the coming days that we may be missing? Boyd asked.
Fox said if Russia were to cross the Ukrainian border, motorized tank divisions had to start advancing before the frozen ground began to thaw in mid-March.
“I think you made a very good point that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is shaking his sabers just for his own political necessity to be important in the eyes of his own people,” he said.
Fox also expressed concern about the opening of the 2022 Winter Games on February 4 in Beijing.
“I have a feeling they might not explode before the Games,” he said. He added that tensions between China and Taiwan were already rising in 2022.
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“All of these issues, whether it’s Ukraine or Taiwan, are playing a kind of Russian roulette with the world,” Fox said.
Inner Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1-3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.