EDITORIAL: Russia between a Rock and a Hardened Silo

EDITORIAL

Russia between a Rock and a Hardened Silo

Where its military policy is concerned these days, Russia finds itself between a rock and a hardened nuclear missile silo.

On the one hand, Russia would like to rely more on nuclear weapons than conventional armies.  The former are much less expensive and much easier to control.  Ballistic missiles don’t humiliate you by cutting of each other’s genitals and such, and they don’t have to be fed three times a day.  The Russian economy is in abject freefall, and the Kremlin is simply running out of funds to pay the massive overhead of the neo-Red Army.  It’s already been forced to cut thousands of officers from the payroll, as if it were engaged in nothing more than corporate downsizing.

But to rely on nuclear weapons means getting involved in a technology race, an innovation race, a creative thinking and productivity race, with the United States of America.  Russia would have a huge amount of trouble winning those kinds of races with the United States of Armenia, much less with the most vibrant and progressive industrial society on the planet. It’s a daunting prospect, to say the least.  Whereas, although you’re supposed to feed your soldiers, if you don’t really want to to you don’t actually have to. The Soviet Union sure didn’t, for instance, and it managed to go on for decades like that.  If you don’t improve your nuclear missiles, however, they become obsolete, especially if you can’t overcome inferior technology with sheer numbers.

Let’s be perfectly clear:  the powerful technology embodied by Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to stand up against the maniacal dicator in Iran are American creations which Russians can only copy.  Despite all their claims to computer prowess, Russia’s only really notable contribution to computer technology on the world scene is the ancient game of Tetris.  At every turn, American freedoms have resulted in a devastating technological and economic advantage against which Russians have proved no match.  Russians simply haven’t developed software or hardware the world needs or wants.

In light of this dilemma, what are we to make of Russian “president” Dima Medvedev’s remonstrations to the effect that, if Barack Obama begs nicely enough (that is, gives Russia a Chamberlainian free hand to destroy post-Soviet freedoms), he’d be willing to conside cuts in Russia’s nuclear strikeforce?  Of course, he also wants the U.S. to abandon its quest for superior nuclear technology, so he can have his cake and eat it too.

Medvedev’s comments can have one of several possible meanings.

Maybe he doesn’t mind giving military supremacy to the U.S. in exchange for a free hand in post-Soviet space.  Maybe, like Gorbachev before him, he realizes he simply has no choice.  Maybe Medvedev hopes Obama will forget all about human rights, Georgia, Ukraine, and every other issue that should matter deeply to the American president if he’s given some nice flowery phrases about Obama’s pet project, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Viewed in this light, Medvedev’s statement that “I hope that with the advent of the new administration, the relationship will take on a new form — more favorable, more trusting,” is ominous.

Another possibility is that he’s simply lying, always a good bet where the Kremlin is concerned.  He may simply think he can bewitch Obama, the neophyte, with rhetoric that seems of offer him exactly what he wants, while actually giving him nothing.    It may be that the Kremlin thinks can just wait him out, never actually making any cuts, meanwhile reeping the full benefit of being given a free hand to crush domestic dissent, until term limits dispatch Obama’s presidency and Vladimir Putin is back as “president for life.”  By that time, Russia may be bankrupt and totally dependent on its nukes.

What’s more likely, though, is that the Kremlin will play Obama for a fool in a much more fundmental way.  Reducing nuclear arms even by 50% would still  leave Russia with enough ICBMs to destroy the planet, meaning that its ability to terrorize the world would not really be reduced at all.  Obama’s proposal is in reality nothing but a “feel good” measure, one that could place the U.S. at a disadvantage if Obama doesn’t support aggressive research to improve the technology and power of the remaining missile strikeforce, which the Kremlin may be betting he will not do. 

There’s one other alternative, that the Kremlin’s response is simply irrational, and based on panic.  The Kremlin may be totally shocked by the dramatic implosion of the price of crude oil on world markets, stunned to see its dependence on American demand for oil laid bare for all the world to gape at.  The Russian economy has shown no resiliency, no independence whatsoever. And at the same time, the Kremlin may be terrified by the prospect of ballistic missile defense in Eastern Europe, perhaps in a paranoid manner far beyond the bounds of reason.  It may simply be agreeing to give the powerful American president whatever he wants in the hope he’ll leave them alone.

Whatever the reason, we’ve seen all this before.  The USSR spoke about and even signed SALT agreements, but that didn’t stop it from doing everything in its power to try to destroy us, most particuarly by using propaganda tactics to try to mislead and confuse us. Mr. Obama now faces that same challenge, and if he leads us astray history will not be kind to him.

11 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia between a Rock and a Hardened Silo

  1. > much less with the most vibrant and progressive industrial society on the planet.

    When did this “most vibrant and progressive” produce the last American TV set? :-) Not to mention the American motor industry losing its own market to the Japanese that ended in the bankruptcy of the GM. :-(

    > Russia’s only really notable contribution to computer technology on the world scene is the ancient game of Tetris.

    The list of awards given to the Kaspersky Antivirus (http://www.kaspersky.com/find?words=award&search=1&x=0&y=0), including the 2009 State Prize of the Russian Federation (http://www.kaspersky.com/news?id=207575801).

  2. @Eugene –

    First, in answer to your TV question:

    http://www.vizio.com/about.aspx?id=1250

    You do have something of a point though. The US simply does not have the slave-level wages to compete with China and India as mass manufacturers. Blame that pesky Civil War.

    I will also grant you Kaspersky – it is one of the best anti-virus systems out there. That being said, it is not by any means a transformative technology on the level of a YouTube or a Twitter. In the grand scheme of things, Kaspersky puts Russia on a par with the Czech Republic (home of Awlil Technologies, the producers of Avast.)

    But perhaps most demonstrative of the difference in the productivity of democratic societies like the US versus autocratic societies like that of Russia is not the absence of a Russian name from the list of truly great computer entrepreneurs, but the presence of one. Moscow-born Sergey Brin most definitely belongs on that list, perhaps even at the very top with Gates and Jobs. So the question becomes – Why is it that Google is American rather than Russian?

    • Without Russian fossil fuel, all those “great computer entrepreneurs” would be just good-for nothing eggheads. :-)

      • Wrong continent – it’s Europe Russia holds by the throat (and even that is somewhat exaggerated.) The US gets most of its foreign oil from Mexico.

  3. Russian military equipment is vastly inferior to that used by western states, the US & UK in particular.

    Part of this stems from the traditional Russian approach to warfare, which places a great emphasis on mass, and very little emphasis on the survival of ones own troops.

    Russian equipment is designed to be rapidly produced, and used by idiot Russian conscripts with little or no education, and minimal training and discipline.

    The survivability on a modern battlefield of Russian produced equipment when NATO standard equipment is deployed is negligeable.

  4. Andrew

    With “no education and minimal training and discipline” they quickly found their way t Gori, Poti and Tbilisi.

    Georgia deployed enough of “NATO standard equipment” prior to the last August. They say it took the Russians 60 traines to deliver ” NATO standard equipment” to Central Russia in September 2008. And note the time framework – the whole game on Saakashvili was played in just 3 days.

    It’s not the Russian produced equipment “negligeable” but your arguments.

    • Wrong again RTS, the only “NATO Standard” equipment used by the Georgians were the M4 Bushmaster carbines.

      Most of those captured were captured from the arsenal in Senaki and had not even been issued.

      Look at all the photo’s of Georgian troops, AK’s, soviet helmets for the most part, T-72’s of which they still have quite a few considering how many the Russians “claimed” to have captured, BMP’s, Mi-24, Su-25, SA-11 SAMS, ZSU-23/4 SPAA.

      Note that there were no M1A2 Abrams, M2/3 Bradley/Devers, no AH-64, No Challenger 2’s no F-16’s.

      Really RTS, get your facts right.
      Though you being a Russian retard does make it kind of hard.

      Funny how even with outdated SAM’s the Georgians inflicted more combat losses on the Russian airforce in 3 days than NATO suffered in 99 days of bombing Serbia.

  5. The head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) made assurances on Sunday that all operatives of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) who serve in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, “at least those who are breaking our law,” would leave Ukraine by December 13.

    The SBU has “enough resources to ensure the enforcement of such a decision, one that is based on national legislation and international law,” Valentyn Nalyvaichenko told a briefing in Lviv.

    Ukrainian law bans technical or any other activities by foreign intelligence services on Ukrainian territory.

    Typical Roosiyski Piggery, now leakage of nuclear radiation in the Ports is being investigated by Ukraine. Rashan dumping nuclear materials is suspected before the dock areas go civilian. Creating another Chernoble by the Moscow Ministries of Power. Should kill a lot of mostly RaSSiyans there. But that would not stop the madness by the Kremlin.

    The Russian special services continue to carry out special operations aimed at undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. In recent months, the number of personnel in the FSB structures that deal with Ukraine has increased by 1.5 times. When the July war with Georgia is over it is Ukraine that will be next. Not even Nicaragua will support Rasha this time. Moskva Federation, the rogue state is going to be isolated and will go down fast.

    Georgia is far from being alone. Chechnya is not forgotten.

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