Wary of Russia, Lithuania builds fake town to practice warfarew/lll

Lithuania on Tuesday opened a fake town featuring a school, sports stadium and shopping mall to practice urban warfare amid concerns over a militarily resurgent Russia next door.

The first such training centre in the Baltic states, it will allow Lithuanian troops and their NATO allies to learn how to storm and protect buildings and use tunnels. Continue reading

The New Russian Empire

Russian President Vladimir Putin / AP

 

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in early March 2014 and subsequent confrontational policies in the Middle East and parts of Europe have spawned myriad debates assessing Vladimir Putin’s ambitions and their implications for global security. Many of these discussions conclude that Russia seeks little more than a revival of Soviet-era influence in the near abroad–that is, nations bordering Russia. Continue reading

Preparing for War Against the US on All Fronts—A Net Assessment of Russia’s Defense and Foreign Policy Since the Start of 2014

In a series of recently published interviews, President Vladimir Putin (kremlin.ru, October 15), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Interfax, October 15) and national security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 15) have outlined Moscow’s strategic vision of the world after the Ukrainian crisis, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Moscow-inspired proxy war in the southeastern Donbas region of Ukraine, and resulting punitive sanctions imposed by the West. The view from Moscow is uninviting—A new cold war with the West is in the making; Russia is under attack and will use all means at its disposal to resist, including the nuclear option. Putin accused Washington of deliberately provoking the Ukraine crisis by supporting extreme nationalists in Kyiv, which in turn ignited a civil war. “Now they [the United States] accuse us of causing this crisis,” exclaimed Putin, “It is madness to blackmail Russia; let them remember, a discord between major nuclear powers may undermine strategic stability” (kremlin.ru, October 15).

Under mounting Western pressure this year, Russian leaders have been repeatedly and unambiguously reminding the West of the ultimate weapon at Moscow’s disposal—nuclear mutual assured destruction. The Russian military is also rearming and conducting massive exercises, preparing for a possible global war. The consensus view in Moscow within the political, military and intelligence community is that relations with the United States are beyond repair and, quoting Medvedev, there is no possibility of any new US-Russian “reset.” Moscow has come to believe that there is no possibility of any genuine détente with Washington until 2020 at the earliest. Indeed, National Security Council Secretary Patrushev’s interview in the official government-published Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper has the title: “Second Cold War.” Patrushev openly describes the US as Russia’s eternal foe and accuses Washington of planning for many decades to fully isolate Moscow and deprive it of any influence in its former dominions in the post-Soviet space. Patrushev announced (which seems to be an officially held policy opinion) that the US is today fulfilling a strategic plan to marginalize and destroy Russia—a strategy that he says was initiated in the 1970s by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the then–United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Continue reading

Obama Pursues “Reset” While Putin Pursues “Get Set”

As reported by Bill Gertz, on the day Americans were celebrating our independence, Moscow dispatched bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons into the U.S. air defense zone on the Pacific Coast.

This was not a fluke. It was the second incident in two weeks, and it has actually been going on for a while.

The Russian media routinely report that Moscow is conducting regional military exercises involving simulated nuclear weapons strikes against the U.S., NATO, and China.

Nuclear deterrence depends on a foe’s belief that its enemy is willing and able to employ nuclear weapons. Russian President Vladmir Putin understands this and has made nuclear weapons the centerpiece of Russian foreign policy. Nuclear weapons embolden Russia to push back and undermine U.S. foreign policy objectives throughout the world.

The Obama Administration, however, continues to take “the world” down the path to zero nuclear weapons by eliminating or failing to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal and to pursue “reset” with Russia while Moscow undermines, insults, embarrasses, and threatens to nuke the U.S. and our allies.

Indeed, if the U.S. continues along the current path of disarmament, the best the U.S. can hope for is strategic nuclear parity with Russia. If the U.S. continues to disarm while Russia is permitted to retain its overwhelming 10-to-1 advantage over the U.S. in short-range nuclear weapons, Russia will certainly attain overall nuclear superiority over the U.S.

Clearly, the Russians don’t believe that the U.S. is willing to do whatever is needed to protect and defend itself and its allies, and it’s possible our allies are beginning to doubt this as well. It is past time for an about-face in U.S. relations toward Russia and in U.S. nuclear deterrence strategy.

Full article: Obama Pursues “Reset” While Putin Pursues “Get Set” (The Foundry)