This post was originally published on Paul Craig Roberts.
By Paul Craig Roberts paulcraigroberts.com March 11, 2018
Newly Revealed Russian Weapons Systems: Political Implications
By The Saker
“Facts don’t matter at all in American politics or in the US collective psyche.”
For those interested in the military implications of the recent revelations by Vladimir Putin about new Russian weapon systems I would recommend the excellent article entitled “The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems” by Andrei Martyanov who offers a superb analysis of what these new weapons mean for the USA and, especially, the US Navy. What I want to do here is something a little different and look at some of the more political consequences of these latest revelations.
The first two of the five stages of grief: denial and anger
Right now, the AngloZionists are undergoing something very similar to the first two of the Five Stages of the Kübler-Ross Grief model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Mostly this manifests itself in criticisms of the quality of the videos presented by Putin and by simple incantations about “these weapons only exist on paper”. This is absolutely normal and will not last too long. That kind of denial is a normal coping mechanism whose primary function is to “soften the blow”, but not something one can base any actual policy or strategy on. However, it is worth looking into why exactly these revelations triggered such a powerful reaction as things are a little more complicated than might first appear.
First, a stunning revelation of sorts: the deployment of these weapons systems does not fundamentally change the nuclear balance between Russia and the USA, at least not in terms of first strike stability (for a detailed discussion see here). Yes, it is true that the US nuclear arsenal is becoming increasingly antiquated, especially when compared with the Russian one and, yes, it is true that in an entire family of technologies the Russians are now clearly many years ahead of the USA. But no, this does not mean that Russia could get away with a first strike against the USA (neither could, for that matter, the USA could get away with a first strike against Russia). Both countries possess more than enough nuclear warhead delivery capabilities even if their forces were to be reduced by a full 90% in any putative disarming (counterforce) strike. The point of Putin’s warning was not at all to threaten the West or to suggest that Russia could prosecute a successful nuclear war, far from it! First and foremost, his speech was a much-needed case of public psychotherapy. You could say that his intention was to force the Empire to eventually enter the next, more constructive, three stages of grief: bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Bringing a sense of reality to a deeply delusional Empire
The leaders of the Empire, along with their brainwashed ideological drones, live in a world completely detached from reality. This is why Martyanov writes that the USA “still continues to reside in her bubble which insulates her from any outside voices of reason and peace” and that Putin’s speech aimed at “coercing America’s elites into, if not peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of a newly emerging world ”. Martyanov explains that:
American power elites, the majority of whom have never served a day in uniform nor ever attended serious military academic institutions and whose expertise on serious military-technological and geopolitical issues is limited to a couple of seminars on nuclear weapons and, in the best case scenario, the efforts of the Congressional Research Service are simply not qualified to grasp the complexity, the nature, and application of military force. They simply have no reference points. Yet, being a product of the American pop-military culture, also known as military porn and propaganda, these people—this collection of lawyers, political “scientists”, sociologists and journalists who dominate the American strategic kitchen which cooks non-stop delusional geopolitical and military doctrines, can understand one thing for sure, and that is when their poor dears get a bulls-eye on their backs or foreheads.
The fact that in the real world these elites have had a bulls-eye on their backs for decades doesn’t change the fact that they also managed to convince themselves that they could remove that bulls-eye by means of withdrawing from the ABM treaty and by surrounding Russia with anti-missile launchers. The fact that some (many? most?) US politicians realized, at least in the back of their minds, that their ABM systems would never truly protect the USA from a Russian counter-strike did not really matter because there were some uniquely US American psychological factors which made the notion of an ABM system irresistibly attractive:
1) An ABM system promised the USA impunity: impunity is, along with military superiority, one of the great American myths (as discussed here). From Reagan with this “weapons which kill weapons” to the current crisis in Korea, US Americans have always strived for impunity for their actions abroad: let all countries drown in an ocean of fire, murder and mayhem as long as our “homeland” remains the untouchable sacrosanct citadel. Since WWII US Americans have killed many millions of people abroad, but when 9/11 came (nevermind that it was obviously a false flag) the country went into something like clinical shock from the loss of about 3’000 innocent civilians. Soviet, and then later, Russian nuclear weapons promised to deliver many tens of millions of deaths if the USSR/Russia was attacked and that is why spinning the fairy tale about an ABM “shield” was so appealing even if it was technologically speaking either a pipe-dream (Reagan’s “Star Wars”) or an extremely limited system capable of stopping maybe a few missiles at most (the current ABM system in Europe). Again, facts don’t matter at all, at least not in American politics or in the US collective psyche.
2) An ABM system promised a huge financial bonanza for the fantastically corrupt US Military-Industrial Complex for which millions of US Americans work and which made many of them fantastically rich. Frankly, I suspect that many (most?) folks involved in the ABM programs fully realized that this was a waste of time, but as long as they were getting their bank accounts filled with money, they simply did not care: hey, they pay me – I will take it!
3) The US military culture never had much of an emphasis on personal courage or self-sacrifice (for obvious reasons). The various variations of the ABM fairy tale make it possible for US Americans to believe that the next war would be mostly fought by pressing buttons and relying on computers. And if real bombs start falling, let them fall somewhere else, preferably on some remote brown people who, well, ain’t quite as precious to God and humanity as us, the White “indispensable nation”. [Sounds like Saker has been influenced by Identity Politics.]
Add to this a quasi-religious belief (a dogma, really) in the myth of American technological superiority and you understand that the Russian leaders began to realize that their US counterparts were gradually forgetting that they did have a bulls-eye painted on their backs. So what Putin did is simply paint a few more, different ones, just to make sure that US leaders come back to reality.
The goal of Putin’s speech was also to prove both Obama (“the Russian economy is in tatters”) and McCain (“Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country”) wrong. The Russian message to the US ruling elites was simple: no, not only are we not lagging behind you technologically, in many ways we are decades ahead of you, in spite of sanctions, your attempts to isolate us, the dramatic drop in energy prices or your attempts at limiting our access to world markets (the successful development of this new generation of weapons systems is a clear indicator of the real state of fundamental research in Russia in such spheres are advanced alloys, nanotechnology, super-computing, etc.).
To the warmongers at the Pentagon, the message was equally clear and tough: we spend less than 10% of what you can spend on defense global aggression; we will match your quantitative advantage with our qualitative superiority. Simply put, you fight with dollars, we will fight with brains. US propagandists, who love to speak about how Russia always uses huge numbers of unskilled soldiers and dumb but brutal weapons now have to deal with a paradigm which they are completely unfamiliar with: a Russian soldier is much better trained, much better equipped, much better commanded and their morale and willpower is almost infinitely higher than the one of the typical US serviceman. For a military culture used to mantrically repeat that everything about it is “the best in the world” or even “the best in history” this kind of new reality will come as a very painful shock and most will respond to it by going into deep denial. To those who believed in the (historically completely false) narrative about the USA and Reagan bankrupting the USSR by means of a successful arms race, it must feel very strange to have sort of “traded places” with the bad old USSR and being in the situation of having to face military-spending induced bankruptcy. [Reagan used the challenge of an arms race not to bankrupt the USSR but to bring the Soviets to the negotiating table to end the cold war.]
Nothing will change in the Empire of Illusions (at least for the foreseeable future)
Speaking of bankruptcy. The recent revelations have confirmed what the Russians have been warning about for years: all the immense sums of money spent by the USA in ABM defenses have been completely wasted. Russia did find and deploy an asymmetrical response which makes the entire US ABM program completely useless and obsolete. Furthermore, as Martyanov also points out, the current force structure of the US surface fleet has also been made basically obsolete and useless, at least against Russia (but you can be sure that China is following close behind). Potentially, this state of affairs should have immense, tectonic repercussions: immense amounts US taxpayer money has been completely wasted, the US nuclear and naval strategies have been completely misguided, intelligence has failed (either on the acquisition or the analytical level), US politicians have made disastrous decisions and this is all a total “cluster-bleep” which should trigger God knows how many investigations, resignations, and numerous sanctions, administrative or even criminal ones. But, of course, absolutely nothing of this, nothing at all, will happen. Not a single head will roll…
In the “Empire of Illusions,” facts simply don’t matter at all. In fact, I predict that the now self-evidently useless ABM program will proceed as if nothing had happened. And, in a way, that is true. The zombified US general public won’t be told what is going on, those who will understand will be marginalized and powerless to make any changes, as for the corrupt parasites who have been making millions and billions from this total waste of taxpayer money, they have way too much at stake to throw in the towel. In fact, since the USA is now run by Neocons, we can very easily predict what they will do. They will do what Neocons always do: double down. So, after it has become public knowledge that the entire US ABM deployment is useless and outdated, expect a further injection in cash into it by “patriotic” “Congresspersons” (my attempt at being politically correct!), surrounded by flags who will explain to the lobotomized public that they are “taking a firm stance” against “the Russian dictator” and that the proud US of A shall not cave in to the “Russian nuclear blackmail”. These colors don’t run! United we stand! Etc. etc. etc.
As for the USN, this won’t even be a topic. So some Russian guy (I mean Martyanov) wrote some stuff for the Unz Review. Who cares? That is just more “Russian propaganda” of course. It will be dismissed even before it is actually parsed and inevitably the reassuring conclusion will be, as always, “we are #1”, “Britannia America rules the waves” and all the rest of the usual jingoistic nonsense US admirals have been feeding the public for decades. Also, keep in mind that the smart folks in the USN, and there are plenty of those, knew what was going on all along, but they either had no influence or kept their silence for obvious career reasons.
The reality is that what Martyanov calls “the American myth of technological superiority” is so deeply ingrained in the US collective psyche that it has become part of the national identity and it cannot, ever, be successfully challenged. Even if Putin decided that videos and speeches simply aren’t enough and decided to make a live firing demonstration, the flag-waving zombies in the media, government and public will find a way to deny it all, pretend it did not happen, or put a mysterious smile on their faces and reply something along the lines of “yeah, cute, but if you only knew about the super-weapons we are not showing you!!” (as one drone actually wrote, “ there has to be weaponry up the USA’s sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack.”). So, for the foreseeable future, expect the collective denial to continue.
“When your head is in the sand, your ass is in the air”
And yet, reality exists. No matter how US propagandists have tried to spin it, deny it, obfuscate it or dismiss it, something very fundamental has changed for the United States. One such element of reality which, with time, will start to slowly seep into the minds of the people of the USA is that their beloved “homeland” and they themselves are now personally and directly at risk. Indeed, for the first time in history, the United States is now targeted by powerful conventional weapons which can reach any target inside the United States. Not only that but unlike the bad old ICBMs, the launches of the weapons systems, which can now strike anywhere in the United States, the cruise missiles, are extremely hard to detect and can give the US little or no warning time. We already knew about the Russian cruise missiles 3M-54 Kalibr and the KH-101/102 with ranges of 2600km and 5500km (or more). Vladimir Putin has now announced that Russia also has nuclear-powered cruise missiles whose range is essentially infinite. Keep in mind that these missiles are very hard to detect since their launch does not generate a strong thermal signal, they fly most of their trajectory at subsonic speeds (only accelerating at the end), their thermal signature is therefore very low, their shape results a very low radar cross-section and they can fly very low (nap of the earth) flight courses which further conceals them. Best of all, however, is that they can be launched from what externally appears to be a regular commercial container. Please take a look at this short propaganda video showing how such missiles could be concealed, deployed and used:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48928.htm
What Putin has now officially added to this arsenal are cruise missiles with an infinite range which could, in theory, destroy a command post in, say, the US Midwest, while being fired from the southern Indian Ocean or from the Tasman Sea. Even better, the launching platform does not need to be a Russian Navy ship at all but could be any commercial (cargo, fishing, etc.) ship, even a cruise ship. Russian heavy transport aircraft could also deliver such “containers” to any location in, say, Africa or even Antarctica and strike downtown Omaha from there with either a conventional or a nuclear warhead. That is also a fundamental game changer.
Conversely, you can think of the new nuclear-powered torpedo as a kind of “underwater cruise missile” with similar capabilities against surface ships or coastal installations. Except that this “underwater cruise missile” could “fly” under the polar ice cap. Needless to say, all of these cruise missiles can, if needed, be armed with nuclear warheads.
But it is not only the US mainland which is now targetable. All US military installations worldwide can now be attacked leaving the US very little or no reaction time.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this is truly a radical change, even a revolution, in modern warfare. I hate to admit it, but this is also an undesirable development from the point of view of first-strike stability as this places a good segment of the US nuclear triad in danger, along with almost all vital US military and conventional sites. Having said that, the entire blame for this situation is to be placed upon the arrogant and irresponsible policies of the United States since its disastrous US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002. Furthermore, I am confident that the Russians will gladly sit down with the Americans and explore reasonable any means to come to a mutual agreement to restore first-strike stability between these two countries. Nobody, besides the corrupt leaders of the US MIC, of course, needs any kind of arms race between Russia and the USA or the immense costs associated with such an endeavor. But since this arms race will probably continue (as said above, Neocons always double down), Russia has a huge advantage in this race for two key reasons:
1) Unlike Russia, the USA will, for absolutely idiotic prestige reasons, categorically refuse to scale down its useless ABM and carrier centered naval procurement programs and all the monies allocated to actually trying to counter these Russian capabilities will be spent on top, not instead of, these useless and obsolete programs. Russia, in contrast, will spend her money on programs which actually make a real difference.
2) The USA is now dramatically lagging behind in many key areas all of which have long development cycles. Frankly, I can’t even begin to imagine how the US is going to extricate itself from such design-disasters as the littoral combat ship (LCS) or, even the worst of them all, the F-35. Just like Russia in the 1990s, the USA is nowadays ruled by corrupt incompetent cowards who simply don’t have what it takes to embark upon a real, meaningful, military reform and, as a result of that, the US armed forces are suffering from problems which are only going to get much worse before they get better again. For the time being the difference between Putin’s Russia and Trump’s USA is as simple as it is stark: Russia spends her money on defense, the USA spends its money on enriching corrupt politicians and businessmen. With that set of parameters, the USA doesn’t stand a chance in any arms race, irrespective of the talent and patriotism of US engineers or soldiers.
Russia and the USA are already at war and Russia is winning
Russia and the USA have been at war since at least 2014 (I have been warning about this year, after year, after year). So far, this war has been about 80% informational, 15% economic and 5% kinetic. But this could very well change, and very suddenly. Russia has therefore embarked on an immense effort to prepare against both a conventional and a nuclear atack by the AngloZionist Empire. Here are some of the measures which have been taken in this context: (partial, non-exhaustive list!)
In response to the conventional NATO threat from the West:
• Putin has ordered the re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army. This Tank Army will include two Tank Divisions (the best ones in the Russian military – 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division and the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division), and a total of 500+ T-14 Armata tanks. This Tank Army will be supported by the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army (in progress). This will be what was called a “Shock Army” during WWII and the Cold War.
• The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system (completed)
• The doubling of the size of the Russian Airborne Forces from 36’000 to 72’000 (in progress).
• Creation of a National Guard: which will include troops of the Interior Ministry (about 170’000 soldiers), personnel from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the OMON riot police forces (about 40’000 soldiers), the SOBR rapid-reaction forces (about 5000+ soldiers), the Special Designation Center of the Operational Reaction Forces and Aviation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs including the Special Forces units “Zubr”, “Rys’” and “Iastreb” (about 700+ operators) for a total of about 250’000 soldiers which will probably reach the 300’000 men figure in the near future.
• The procurement and deployment of advanced multi-role and air superiority fighters and interceptors (MiG-31BM, Su-30SM, Su-35S and, soon, the MiG-35 and Su-57).
• Deployment of S-400 and S-500 air defense systems along with very long range radars.
• The adoption of about 70% of new, modern, systems across all the armed forces.
In response to the ABM “encirclement” of Russia by the USA:
• The deployment of the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM with hypersonic maneuverable reentry vehicles
• The deployment of conventionally armed very long-range cruise missiles
• The deployment of a nuclear powered cruise missile with a basically unlimited range
• The deployment of a nuclear powered unmanned submersible with intercontinental range, very high speed, silent propulsion and capable of moving a great depths
• The deployment of the Mach 10 hypersonic missile Kinzhal with a 2’000 kilometer range
• The deployment of a new strategic missile Avangard capable of Mach 20 velocities
This list is far from being exhaustive, there is much more missing from it including new submarines, (air-independent propulsion, conventional diesel-electric, nuclear attack and SSBNs), strike aircraft, new armored vehicles of various types, new advanced (high tech) individual soldier equipment, new artillery systems, etc. etc. etc. But by far the most important element in the Russian readiness to confront and, if needed, repel any western aggression is the morale, discipline, training, and resolve of Russian soldiers (so powerfully illustrated in several recent examples in Syria). Let’s just say that in comparison US and EU servicemen (or their commanders, for that matter) are not exactly an impressive lot and leave it at that.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
The reality is, of course, that nobody in Russia plans for a war, needs a war or wants a war. In fact, Russia as a country needs many more years of (even relative) peace. First, because time is obviously on Russia’s side and that the military balance with the USA is very rapidly shifting in Russia’s favor. But no less important is the fact that, unlike the USA which strives for conflicts, wars, and chaos, Russia badly needs peace to deal with her still very numerous internal problems which have been neglected for all too long. The problem is that the entire US political system and economy are completely dependent on a permanent state of war. That, combined with an imperial hubris boosted by an increasingly vocal russophobia is a potent and potentially dangerous mix leaving Russia no other options than “bare her fangs” and engage in some saber rattling of her own. So will Putin’s speech be enough to wake up the Empire’s ruling elites from their delusional slumber?
Probably not. In fact, in the short term, it might have the opposite effect.
Remember when the Russian’s deflected Obama’s planned attack on Syria? The US reaction was to trigger the Maidan. Sadly, I expect something very similar will happen soon, most likely in the form of a full-scale Ukronazi attack against the Donbass this Spring or during the World Cup this summer. Of course, regardless of the actual outcome of such an attack (already discussed here), this will not in any way affect the actual correlation of forces between Russia and the Empire. But it will feel good (Neocons love revenge in all its forms). We can also expect further provocations in Syria (already discussed here). Hence and for the foreseeable future, the Russians will have to continue on their current, admittedly frustrating and even painful course, and maintain a relatively passive and evasive posture which the Empire and its sycophants will predictably interpret as a sign of weakness. Let them. As long as in the real world the actual power (soft or hard) of the Empire continues to decline, as long as the US MIC continues to churn out fantastically expensive but militarily useless weapon systems, as long as US politicians are busy blaming everything on “Russian interference” while doing nothing to reform their own, collapsing economy and infrastructure, as long as the USA continues to use the printing press as a substitute for actual wealth and as long as the internal socio-political tensions in the USA continue to heat up – then Putin’s plan is working.
Russia needs to continue to walk a very narrow path: to act in a sufficiently evasive manner as to avoid provoking a direct military confrontation with the USA while, at the same time, sending clear enough signals to prevent the US Americans from interpreting Russia’s evasiveness as a sign of weakness and then doing something really stupid. The Russian end-goal is simple and obvious: to achieve a gradual and peaceful disintegration of the AngloZionist Empire combined with a gradual and peaceful replacement of a unipolar world ruled by one hegemon, by a multipolar world jointly administered by sovereign nations respectful of international law. Therefore, any catastrophic or violent outcomes are highly undesirable and must be avoided if at all possible. Patience and focus will be far more important in this war for the future of our planet than quick-fix reactions and hype. The “patient” needs to be returned to reality one step at a time. Putin’s March 1st speech will go down in history as such a step, but many more such steps will be needed before the patient finally wakes up.
The Military Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems
“American self-proclaimed hegemony is over”
This post was originally published on Paul Craig Roberts.