SpyCast 8.29.23
Ep 600 | 8.29.23

“David Petraeus on Ukraine & Intelligence” – with the former CIA Director & 4* General

Show Notes


David Petraeus (LinkedIn) joins Andrew (TwitterLinkedIn) to discuss his strategic analysis of the war in Ukraine. General Petraeus is a former Director of the CIA.

What You’ll Learn


  • General Petraeus’ appraisal of the situation in Ukraine
  • What victory would look like for each side
  • What role intelligence is playing in the War
  • General Petraeus’ time as Director of the CIA 


  • The power of narrative
  • Organizational culture

And much, much more …

Episode Notes

We are thrilled to have reached the milestone of 600 episodes of SpyCast. This episode with General Petraeus kicks off our 5-part Spy Chief Special – stay tuned this month to hear from Spy Chiefs around the world, including India, Ireland and Kenya.

David Petraeus was CIA Director between September 2011 and November 2012, and prior to that had a 37-year career in the U.S. Army, rising to its highest rank of 4 star General. Are you curious to hear an in-depth strategic analysis of the Ukraine War from one of the most talented American officers of his generation? Would you like to know more about his time as CIA Director? Listen in to find out.


Listen to Pulitzer Prize winning biographer Ron Chernow – yes, the guy who wrote the book Hamilton that the play comes from! – in conversation with David Petraeus at 92Y in New York City. The topic? The man who Petraeus describes as the only military commander in American history to excell at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels: Ulysses S. Grant.

Quotes of the Week

"This is the first war with smartphones, internet connectivity, and social media, such as we see here. It was not present before. even really in the Iraq and Afghanistan war, certainly not to this scale. so that is a dramatic change…It also gives a degree of transparency to this war that I don't think has ever existed before." – David Petraeus.




*Beginner Resources*



  • Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine, D. Petraeus & A. Roberts (Harper, 2023) 
  • The New Makers of Modern Strategy, H. Brands et al. (Princeton University Press, 2023) 
  • The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine, S. Plokhy (Basic Books, 2017)



Primary Sources 

*Wildcard Resource*