For many years Moscow watched the US and NATO stir up unrest in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Color revolutions, the stationing of missile systems and troops, as well as the imposition of ever more sanctions created growing tensions. Now the question arises: does the Russian bear strike back?
A comment by Heinz Steiner
The fronts between Russia on the one hand and the United States and NATO on the other have hardened. The West threatens with more sanctions and “punitive measures”, Russia responds with appropriate countermeasures. The NATO-Russia Council no longer exists, the “Open Skies” agreement, just like the agreement to ban medium-range missiles, has come to an end. The main reason? The 2013/2014 Maidan coup, including the rebellion in the Donbass region, which is predominantly populated by Russians, and the return of Crimea to Russia (referred to as annexation by the West). In addition, there are the “Novichok” poisoning cases (Skripal, Navalny), which are attributed to Moscow. The question that arises here is why there weren’t more deaths when the neurotoxin is supposedly so dangerous. But that’s only marginally.
More interesting is the fact that Moscow has now given the West (in the form of NATO and the United States) an ultimatum after several verbal criticisms by President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The Saker has this (in English) summarized. The most important key points can be found below.
Willingness to cooperate
Moscow has made it clear that it does not want to be drawn into a pointless confrontation, despite so many “unkind steps being taken against us”. The Russians want to continue to work with the West and build a stable security architecture. So it says in the preamble:
We continue to firmly believe in the strategic commonality of goals with all states and organizations in the Euro-Atlantic region to maintain peace and stability and to counter common security threats – international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking and piracy. We remain convinced that there is no real alternative to mutually beneficial and broad-based pan-European security cooperation based on the solid foundation of international law. The position of Russia remains unchanged – our country stands ready to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality in order to strengthen comprehensive security in the Euro-Atlantic region. The depth and content of these relations will depend on the mutual willingness of the Alliance to take into account the legitimate interests of Russia.
The Russians also gave the Americans one at a meeting at the State Department Draft contract between the Russian Federation and the United States of America. This deals with security guarantees and an agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and the NATO member states. In it Moscow refers to the declarations of the principles of international law of 1970, the UN Charter, as well as other international agreements of the last decades.
The Russians also made it clear in their ultimatum that they also have their “red lines”. The most important of these concerns Ukraine. Neither NATO troops nor NATO weapons systems are to be installed there. Why? Because it poses a direct security threat to the Kremlin. From the Russian-Ukrainian border it is only a few hundred kilometers to Moscow. Thanks to Trump’s termination of the treaty banning the development and stationing of medium-range missiles, such weapons of mass destruction could be stationed and even used there. That is unacceptable for Moscow. Imagine if the Russians wanted to set up such missile systems on the Canadian-American border. That would be just 500 kilometers to Washington DC. How would the Americans react to that? Do you remember the Cuban missile crisis under President John F. Kennedy? It was only a little more than 350 kilometers – to Miami, Florida. More than 1,800 kilometers to Washington DC. And that crisis almost started World War III.
While Americans are quite good at drawing “red lines” themselves, they don’t seem to care about the same ones in other countries. The “indispensable nation”(O-Ton Barack Obama) demands that other states adhere to“ international norms ”, but does not always adhere to them. But Moscow has now introduced a “game changer”. By making its demands public, Russia has also sent a message (for the first time) to the people of the West. This message can be summarized as follows: “We do not want war, but if you insist we will submit.” And for the first time since 1991, Russia has the objective means to achieve these goals.
Technical military superiority
All the allegations, all the sanctions and threats against Moscow have resulted in the Russians pushing ahead with their military innovations. While in the West (especially in the United States) the large arms companies, their suppliers and the suppliers of the suppliers manufacture completely overpriced military equipment, the Russians have the advantage of one nationalized arms industry. There is likely to be corruption and personal enrichment there too, but it is obviously not as great as that in the US. During the stealth fighter of the fifth generation of the Americans, the F-35, with a lot technical problems has to struggle, there seem to be hardly any problems with its Russian counterpart, the Su-57. And not only that: the Su-57 also shines in critical areas better than the F-35 to be.
But that’s not even the main reason Washington and Brussels shy away from a real military confrontation with Moscow. Have you ever heard of the hypersonic missiles? Well, Russia, along with China, is a world leader in this field. Production will even soon go into series production. This means: More and more submarines, warships and stationary bases are being equipped with such modern weapons. Some armed conventionally, some with nuclear weapons. But in any case impossible for the western air defense to intercept. Such a rain of missiles would put all NATO bases in Europe and the US bases at home and overseas out of action in a matter of minutes. Even the “floating fortresses”, the aircraft carriers, would be shipwrecks within a few minutes. If the Russians are out to completely destroy the USA, the American nuclear power plants would probably also be targeted by these missiles and would nuclear contaminate North America. This is not only known in Moscow.
Is the Russian Bear striking back?
Over the years the Russian bear has been irritated. But now he is apparently ready to strike back. The war scenario is clear: Should the US and NATO actually dare to cross Moscow’s Red Lines, a low-threshold counter-reaction could be expected. That means: if the Americans should actually station troops and heavy military equipment in the Ukraine, a Russian invasion of the embattled Donbass would be conceivable. Incorporation of the “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk into the Russian Federation is a likely option. The US and the EU would then probably impose more sanctions (including the exclusion of Russia from SWIFT), which should drive Moscow even more into the arms of Beijing. This “continental bloc” as a formal alliance (currently it is more informal) would be an impregnable fortress – and for the USA and its allies an absolutely deadly opponent.
Washington and Brussels would do well to accept the “Russian ultimatum” and, above all, to respect it. Even today there are still “spheres of influence”. This is to be recognized. Especially as long as you are in the West multipolar world order does not want to recognize, which Moscow (but also Beijing and, to a certain extent, New Delhi) is striving for. Because at some point the bear will strike back. And no one in the world who is still completely sane should really want that.