Thursday, May 03, 2012

Russia Threatens NATO With Military Strikes Over Missile Defense System

General Nikolai Makarov, Russia's chief of staff threatened NATO with pre-emptive military strikes if it went ahead with installing an American missile defense system. So much for President Obama's famous 'reset'.

"A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," he said. "The deployment of new strike weapons in Russia's south and northwest – including of Iskander systems in Kaliningrad – is one of our possible options for destroying the system's European infrastructure."

Attempts to negotiate a compromise of some sort are dead in the water:

Anatoly Serdyukov, the Russian defence minister, warned on Thursday that Russia-Nato negotiations on the anti-missile system had reached an impasse.
"We have not been able to find mutually-acceptable solutions at this point and the situation is practically at a dead end," he said.

The system is designed to protect NATO countries from possible missile attacks originating from Iran, which is a dead giveaway that the Obama Administration has no plans to neutralize the Mullah's illegal nuclear weapons program but is going to make the huge error on letting things go and relying on containment. The Russians see the system as capable of taking out their own ballistic missiles as well, which leads to an obvious question...are the Russians planning on launching any? If they're right, certainly a missile defense system based in Eastern Europe would preclude the Russians using their missiles as a threat to try and get their old empire back.

More likely, it's a psychological reaction to the old Russian paranoia about 'encirclement'. Nor is it the first time Putin has threatened the West with a military attack over this issue. With President Obama in the White House, such threats have become much more commonplace.

The Russians see Iran somewhat the way the Chinese see North Korea, as a rogue state they control to a degree that creates distraction and problem for the West. Which of course, helps them strategically. Where things differ is that North Korea is a miniscule state with no real influence on China. Iran's relationship with Russia is much more complex, because of Russia's growing Muslim population and Iran's influence over the oil and gas market, which is where a lot of Russia's wealth and influence is derived from. And unlike North Korea, Iran is a large nation with aspirations of regional influence and dominance of its own. As you may know if you read this site regularly, I think it's a pretty good bet that Russia's enabling of Iran is going to lead to disaster for Russia and the West in the same way Stalin's enabling of Hitler did.

This issue will likely remain at an impasse for now, at least until we get new leadership in the White House.


B.Poster said...

The missle defense system at least as it is being proposed and developed would have zero marginal utility against an arsenal as large and advanced as that which Russia has. The NATO officials quoted in the article are entirely correct in pointing this out.

At this time, for the US and its "allies" to develop such as a system would require technology that is, at best, decades away. As such, any missle defense system we could come up with would have no chance against an arsenal as large and advanced as that which the Russians have.

Understading this most Eastern Europeans are opposed to the system. It has no chance to contain Russia and only serves as something that provides an excuse for Russian aggression against them. Its high time we abandoned this and instead focused on our won national defense interests.

I do find it interesting that the article alludes to a possible new Cold War. I'm not sure I've heard of a main stream "Western" media outlet speak in such terms. If this is so, on one side we have Russia and its allies. Just who does the author think is going to constitute the other side. In any military confrontation, the US and the "West" would not stand a chance. They'd be defeated before the thing even got started.

"..which is a dead giveaway that the Obama Administration has no plans to neutralize Mullahs illegal nuclear weapons program..." At this point, I don't think there is any thing he or America can do to stop it. The Russians are already massing troops and will certainly join in on the side of the Iranians. Also, we should expect the Chinese to support Iran as well. Any support we might get from Western Europe would be tepid, at best. Many of them would actually like to see their "strategic competitor" harmed.

In addition, there is the problem of penetrating Iran's air and sea defenses. Israel might be able to do something about this. Its unlikely we could. Our best bet is to get out of Israel's way, redeploy to defensible positions, and pray for the best.

"The issue will likely remain at an impassefor now, at least until we get new leadership in the White House." While new leadership and certain policy changes would certainly do us some good, we are WAY PAST the point where a mere leadership change is going put us on military par with the Russians.

We've worn our military down to the point where even basic national defesne is problematic. Essentially the military has to be rebuilt from the ground up and our military leaders need to learn basic military tactics applicable to the 21st century.

A couple of areas that a change in leadership could haelp with would bea s follows: 1.)developing all of our own oil and gas reserves,
2.) building more refineries, and
3.)relaxing the excessive regulations on American business interests. The problems we face are enormous and we must start somewhere in dealing with them. Competition with Russia is not feasible for us nor is it advisable. I pray I'm wrong of course because some people appear bound and determined to take us down this path.

Rob said...

Hi Poster,
I hope you learn to trust me on this one eventually..Russia's nuclear arsenal is not all that advanced.

In fact, that's a big part of the problem with Obama's START treaty - we're destroying SOTA nuclear weapons while the Russians ( if they're even bothering not to cheat) are getting rid of relics from the 1970's and 1980's that may not even be operable anymore.

This is not to say that Russia does not have some advanced weapons, but just like during the Cold War there's no depth..a handful of SOTA weaponry and the great majority substandard.

Th eRussian military has operated this way since the Czar, depending on manpower rather than technology.

In WWI, they Czar's Army won great victories on the Eastern front...until they essentially ran out of ammo and food and were slaughtered at Tannenberg. In WWII, the Nazis caught them completely by surprise and if not for armaments from the West and the Russian winter, the bravery exhibited by the Red Army at Stalingrad and Kursk would not have turned the tide.

To compare the level of training,the support and the technology available to the average U.S. unit to what's available to the average Russian unit shows this plainly.

Second, please be aware that Russia is aware of this disparity - they wouldn't go to war for Iran. Neither would China. Would you kiss $800 billion goodbye and put your economy in deep recession because you can no longer export to your biggest customer?

Our main problem right now is leadership. That's something we can change come November.

Finally, in terms of your strategy of 'defensive deployment' We've talked about this before, but you persist in thinking this is a solution when it's really only a delaying tactic.

Perhaps listening to someone else about this might convince you. Seriously, do take some time to hear this. Some of it is not contemporary in terms of details, but the parts about defensive war and it's futility are timeless.


B.Poster said...

I listened to General McArthur as you suggested. Unfortunately its unlikely that such a man could arise to the position he held in today's America. The speech seems mostly full of feel good platitudes, however, the part about the Korean war is interesting.

Essentially it seems from this and other sources we had not planned on China getting involved. We had not planned for this contingency. In retrospect, we should have. Much like today we should plan for Russia to get involved in a war with Iran.

Finally, while the speech is good, in many ways it is not relevant to today. America is not the same country today that it was when this speech was given in 1951. For example, McArthur's America did not have the massive national debt that today's America has. Furthermore, in McArthur's day America had a manufacturing/industrial base that was top of the line and a well educated and trained populace to make all of this work. Today's America lacks the skilled workforce that it had in the early 1950s. Its going to take time to develop this.

The strategies I propose may very well be defensive in nature, after all a good defensive perimter is important, however, you may have missed some of the tings I pointed out elsewhere. If we merely developed all of our oil and gas reserves, utilizied coal to oil technolgies, and developed more refineries, we'd get greater utility for our national security interests than any thing we are currently doing. In fact, had we done this immediately after 911 we might even have enough excess capacity to find alternative sources of oil for China, India, and others. With others buying less oil from Iran this would go a long way to making them easier to deal with. A better energy policy would help us on so many levels its hard to know where to begin.

Finally, with regards to China we need their manufactured goods far more than they need to supply us with them. As such, it seems imprudent to risk confrontation with them. If I know this, then they do to.

Time permitting I will try to address this in greater detail. Suffice it to say the situation is not pretty but we MUST face reality as it is and not as we might wish it to be. I firmly believe good outcomes for our country are still possible but it will require better leadership than either major political party is showing right now. God willing one or both of them can rise to the occassion or we can get new leaders. The window of opportunity for us is unlikley to remain open for ever.

Ntw, START was an extremely dumb idea. Since we lag behind the other major powers in conventional capabilities and this gap is only likely to get bigger in the coming years a robust nuclear deterent may take on increased importance.

Only America and Israel face any kind of public pressure to reduce or eliminate their nuclear arsenals. This is probably not an accident. I'd like to see an American leader with the guts to point this out.

Rob said...

Hi Poster,
Respectfully, I think you missed a few things.If you remember, I asked you to concentrate particularly on what General MacArthur said about defensive war and it's futility.

Allow me to summarize these points briefly as they apply to this discussion:

1)The Pacific is America's defensive barrier for our West Coast. Since it is a water barrier, it is defended primarily by naval and air power,by strategically located bases and by alliances with friendly powers. Nowadays, that means Australia, Japan, Taiwan,Singapore and some of the new Pacific island nations as well as our traditional bases in places like Guam. If you wish to know what happens when our Navy is cut back severely and an aggressor attacks, read up critically on the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. After the Japanese attack,there was very little between the Imperial forces and the U.S. West Coast, something they fortunately weren't aware of at the time.

2)Defensive war and 'fortress America' is a recipe for defeat. So is appeasement and a posture of weakness. This has been proven many times in history, from the Byzantines to the French with their disastrous Maginot line in WWII, and by the Israelis with the equally disastrous Bar-Lev line in 1973.

As to your other points:

The Russian military will almost certainly not get involved in Iran for the reasons I mentioned. However, I'm sure there are contingency plans at the Pentagon for this.

China also has no interest in a war over Iran for the reason I mentioned. The supply lines and the finances involved preclude this, among many other things.

What happened in Korea would probably have not happened had MacArthur been making the decisions then, because he understood Asia.

The Chinese have always considered the Northern areas of Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Burma as a defensive perimeter throughout their history. All their wars have been fought to keep 'barbarians' out rather than to invade new territory. Tibet was a special case since it likewise consolidated their borders, and China has some war history with Tibet as well.

Once we invaded North Korea,( under UN fiat, without a declaration of war as the Constitution mandates) the only way to curtail the Chinese military effort would have been to do pretty much what MacArthur wanted - bomb the Yalu River bridges, take out the air bases and infrastructure and warn the Chinese that getting in would involve tangling with America's nuclear arsenal. War is not a halfway measure, and peace comes from victory.

The conventional forces argument,while it has some validity, has a great deal less force today than ever before. How would five infantry divisions, however well led and equipped, fare against a single nuclear armed Hellfire missile?

And in the case of Russia and China, their forces have a significant gap in training and equipment with ours.

Finally, while we agree on energy self-sufficiency, that isn't going to end the global jihad.It just means we aren't paying for our own annihilation.