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  • The Rise of the Second Soviet Empire

    <header class="entry-header"> Russian Bombers Fly To Venezuela, Nicaragua During Strategic Forces Exercise

    by J.E. Dyer
    </header>


    For some reason, the “reset/overcharge” policy of the Obama administration hasn’t induced Russia to take a chill pill on the global strategic forces exercises.

    Several sources have reported that on Wednesday 30 October, the Russians conducted a no-notice exercise with their strategic forces, which included the launch of several intercontinental missiles from land and sea. Russian forces also fired missiles from the S-300 and S-400 air- and missile-defense systems (similar to the U.S. Patriot system), along with short range ballistic missiles (NATO designation SS-26 and SS-21) from the Kapustin Yar test center in southern Russia.

    Missiles on the move

    A U.S. State Department spokesman said Russia complied with the New START treaty, issuing the proper notification that the ICBM and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launches would take place.

    Claudia Rosett took a walk down memory lane in a Friday post at PJ Media, recalling the mid-1990s and how Russia’s strategic rocket force was languishing then. That was before Vladimir Putin announced a new build-up in 2007.

    It’s worth noting that on 30 October, Russia launched two different types of ICBM (and has a third, newer type deployed in the operational forces, the SS-27, which apparently was not launched on Wednesday).

    The U.S. has one type today (the Minuteman III). Russia launched two different types of SLBM on 30 October; the U.S. has one type (the Trident II). Russia launched two different types of short range ballistic missiles; the U.S. has one type (the U.S. Army ATACMS), and in fact does not field a missile in the range class of the SS-26 Stone, or “Iskander,” SRBM.

    The differences in the two nations’ approaches go beyond that, however. Russia has progressed meaningfully in developing new missiles of each major type in the last decade, whereas the U.S. has not. All of the intercontinental missiles launched on 30 October are older-generation weapon systems, designed and fielded between 25 and 50 years ago (although updated since). In this way, they parallel the U.S. strategic force – and the strategic thinking of both the U.S. and Russia in the first two decades of the INF/START era.

    But Russia has now already deployed an even newer ICBM, the SS-29, in the operational forces. Russia has conducted multiple test launches of a new-generation SLBM, the SS-N-30. A Russian admiral suggested in 2012 that the SS-N-30, or “Bulava” missile, was operational in the fleet – on new-generation nuclear submarines, the Borei class – although full operational status is reportedly pending the correction of problems with the Bulava missile.

    Variables moving in the wrong direction for U.S. security

    The argument as to whether this is troubling or not should properly center on the question of missile defense – including the Russians’ emphasis on designing the new missiles to defeat U.S. missile-defense systems.

    There are four major variables in the ICBM/SLBM and missile-defense equation: U.S. missiles, U.S. defenses, Russian missiles, and Russian defenses.

    Out of those four variables, there has been significant technological activity in three, over the last 15 years: U.S. defenses, Russian missiles, and Russian defenses (i.e., the deployment of the S-400, a highly capable air- and missile-defense system). But out of those three variables, there has been a significant doctrinal update in only two:

    Russian missiles, which are now being consciously designed to defeat our missile defense systems, and Russian defenses.

    This means two things, in particular: first, that the doctrinal intent of the U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) program lags global strategic reality. The doctrinal update we have not made is shifting our emphasis from defending against North Korean-style missiles (“first generation” missiles) – which is what we’ve emphasized in BMD development since early in the Clinton administration – to defending against the most modern Russian or Chinese ICBMs. Russia designs new missiles with defeating our BMD systems in mind, but we are not improving our BMD systems with defeating new-generation Russian ICBMs in mind.

    The other thing it means is that America’s intercontinental missile arsenal, which is not being updated today with either technology or doctrine in mind, is a lagging national-defense capability. It has remained static while Russia’s defenses have improved. This does not mean that the S-400 is capable of reliably shooting down Minuteman III or Trident II missiles. (It isn’t.) It does mean that America is not looking around the next corner to a future in which our current-generation ICBMs can be reliably intercepted. Russia is looking at the future from both standpoints: the missile and the interceptor. Russia is moving forward (as is China); we are standing still.

    A violation of the 1987 INF treaty?

    The other troubling aspect of Russian missile development is the nature of the new-generation RS-26 ballistic missile, which is yet another, different missile from any of the ones listed above. Russian sources call it an ICBM, but given its small size (and other factors), U.S. intelligence believes the Russians are covertly developing an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), in violation of the INF treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987. As with their other newer-generation missiles, the Russians have designed the missile system to defeat missile defenses.

    Keep in mind that Russia has a history of shady missile development and treaty violations. The former-Soviet SS-20 IRBM, for example, deployed in Eastern Europe in the 1970s, was based on an ICBM design (the SS-16), and capable of functioning as an ICBM with the addition of a third-stage booster (or the use of a lighter warhead). But the SS-20’s nominal 5,000km (3,100 statute mile) range as an IRBM kept it just under the 5,500km (3400 miles) cut-off for limitation by the SALT II treaty. This wasn’t the U.S.’s or NATO’s principal objection to the SS-20’s presence in Europe, but it is emblematic of the Russian pattern of designating missile systems to put them outside of treaty controls.

    A new Russian IRBM would violate the INF treaty, which banned them all for the U.S. and Russia. So the Russians are calling the RS-26 an ICBM.

    Like the SS-20, the RS-26 is based on an ICBM design, that of the SS-25. But it has been test-launched only to shorter ranges, and in other ways fits the profile of the SS-20’s development in the 1960s and 1970s.

    It can be argued, of course, that Russia perceives a need for IRBMs because of the neighborhood she lives in, which includes nuclear-missile-armed China, India, and Pakistan. But that’s where the title of this post comes into play. In a strategic sense, we need harbor no illusions about which nation Russia’s exertions are directed at.

    Nice hemisphere you got there

    Just before the big missile exercise on 30 October, the Russian air force deployed a pair of Tu-160 Blackjack bombers to Central America. On 28 October, the bombers took off from central Russia and flew to Venezuela, the first such deployment since 2008. From there, on 31 October, they proceeded to Nicaragua, making the first stop ever for Russian strategic bombers (or any other Russian combat aircraft) in that nation.

    Tu-160 Blackjacks are equipped with the AS-15 Kent (or Kh-55) air-launched cruise missile, which is similar to the U.S. Air Force’s AGM-86 ALCM. The AS-15’s range, in the version most likely to be used, is 2,500km (1,550 miles). The Blackjacks on this deployment may or may not have carried AS-15 missiles; I consider it extremely unlikely that they carried missiles with nuclear warheads, at any rate, although the AS-15 is nuclear-capable.


    Threat range of the AS-15 from Central American air space (Google map, author annotations)

    But these bombers represent the “third leg” of the nuclear-strategic “triad,” the other two legs being ground-based ICBMs and sea-based SLBMs. Where Russia chose to deploy them during a highly publicized strategic forces exercise was to Central America.

    The message could hardly be more pointed. The bombers could have ranged more of the United States with AS-15s if they had flown north, on their usual profiles in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, or the Arctic. Certainly, they could have held more of the U.S. at risk if they had gone to Cuba. But in an unprecedented move, Moscow sent them to Central America, where they could range only some of Florida and – once near Nicaragua – the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Why?

    To emphasize, during a strategic forces drill, that Russia has allies in Central America: places to land and launch strategic bombers. Places, unlike Cuba, that the United States can’t just reach out and smack. Venezuela and Nicaragua are both outside the intercept range of U.S. Air Force fighters – and the AS-15 missile can be launched at U.S. targets from well outside our fighters’ intercept range as well.

    Add this message to the one sent in February 2013, when Russian strategic bombers (Tu-95 Bears, on that occasion) flew a profile against Guam in the Pacific. The Russians demonstrated a capability then to approach Guam outside the intercept range of the U.S. Air Force in Northeast Asia. Bear aircraft armed with AS-15s could get within strike range of Guam but remain outside the intercept range of our fighters.

    Blackjacks launching from Central America could get within strike range of the American South, but remain outside the intercept range of our fighters there, too.

    Russia is doing a lot of talking lately, if anybody is listening.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Rise of the Second Soviet Empire started by American Patriot View original post
    Comments 254 Comments
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Russian TV Sounds Like Soviet TV (Starring “top U.S. author” Justin Raimondo)
      aim.org ^ | August 19, 2008 | Cliff Kincaid

      Denunciations of U.S. ‘imperialism,” which were a regular staple of Soviet TV, are back on the Russian version.

      ...recent guests on Russia Today have included Alexander Cockburn, “an American political journalist,” and Justin Raimondo, said to be “a top U.S. author.” Cockburn denounced John McCain as a warmonger, while Raimondo warned the Russians to investigate what’s on those humanitarian flights to Georgia. “I would check that out, if I were you,” he was quoted by Russia Today as saying.

      The Russian channel declared, “‘Say No to War’ has been Justin Raimondo’s slogan for over a decade―from the U.S. intervention in Bosnia to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now he has denounced U.S. support for Georgia.”

      In reality, Cockburn is a leftist who writes for The Nation and other publications. Raimondo was described by Russia Today as “a top U.S. author,” in order to give him a measure of credibility, but his main claim to fame is running a website, antiwar.com, that describes itself as opposed to imperialism.

      This apparently doesn’t mean opposition to Russian imperialism.

      The Russian invasion of Georgia has made it clear beyond doubt that the old Soviet KGB disinformation operations have been revived, using Americans as puppets to make Russian points. But the propaganda is being distributed on a worldwide basis, even on U.S. cable networks. ...

      A May 8 New York Times article on Russia Today and its increasing availability in U.S. media markets noted that “The station is part of the state-owned news conglomerate RIA Novosti, and news organizations routinely refer to it as ‘state-run,’ including The New York Times, which has said it was created to promote ‘pro-Kremlin views.’”

      (Excerpt) Read more at aim.org ...
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Yep... you heard me. Here's the thread to post the articles in. I'll start with this one:

      http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/russ.../20111119.aspx
      Two Against The World

      November 19, 2011: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have agreed to establish a free-trade union over the next four years. Russia denied that it is trying to rebuild the Soviet Union (which was itself a Russian empire that had taken several centuries to create). But the 14 nations that were created from the dissolution of the Soviet Union left a lot of trade links that were now encumbered by national politics, tariffs and all sorts of obstacles that hurt the economies of all concerned. While this union makes economic sense, many Russians make no secret of getting their empire back, and this makes the neighbors, who used to be part of that empire, nervous. Russia continues to back dictatorships in places like Syria, Libya and Iran. Russia is not happy with the demise of the Kaddafi tyranny in Libya. While backing democracy in Syria and calling for the government there to stop slaughtering its own people, Russia opposes pressure for the Assad dictatorship to step down. Despite increasing evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and backing terrorism worldwide, Russia supports the religious dictatorship there.
      What is this fondness for tyranny in a country that is supposed to be a democracy? It's all about needing an enemy, and providing a distraction for domestic politics. Neighbor China has the same needs, and is an ally with Russia in supporting the same tyrants, for many of the same reasons. This kind of loyalty arises from several causes. First, there is the need to stick it to the West. The Cold War may be over, but not the antagonism of Russian and Chinese leaders towards those Western upstarts. This is a centuries old antagonism. Both China and Russia resent the Western cultural, economic and military power that led to the decline in Chinese and Russian influence in the world. Secondly, the support for Iran, Syria, Libya and other despotisms is also a way of gaining profitable commercial links with those nations (a source of raw materials, and arms and industrial sales.) Neither China nor Russia sees the terrorist links of their tyrant clients as a major liability. In fact, the connection with terrorist sponsoring states as a form of immunity from some terrorist activity.
      A new international survey found that Russian and Chinese companies are the most likely to use bribes when trying to obtain sales, or anything else. China and Russia are among the most corrupt nations on the planet.
      November 17, 2011: Tajikistan backed off in an extortion attempt against a Russian air freight company. Two foreign pilots (a Russian and Estonian) will be released from jail, after Tajikistan recently sentenced them to eight years in prison for smuggling. The charge was bogus, and the Russian government countered by starting to expel thousands of illegal Tajik migrants to Russia (who send home millions of dollars a year.)
      November 16, 2011: Two decades after the Cold War ended, Russia has finally moved to recycle 10 million tons of obsolete weapons. The stuff, mostly armored vehicles, ships and aircraft, will be taken apart and sold as scrap metal. Several million tons of ammunition will be carefully taken apart, and the explosives safely disposed of. In the last two decades, Russia had spent over half a billion dollars in trying to maintain this junk, just in case.
      November 13, 2011: Russia will continue shipping weapons to Syria, despite the growing unrest there. As long as Syria can guarantee the safety of Russian ships and aircraft carrying the goods, and the stuff is paid for, deliveries will continue.
      November 11, 2011: Russia reiterated its claim to most of the Arctic Ocean (where a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil may be). Russia is seeking backing (in the UN and elsewhere) for the novel claim that a 2,000 kilometer long underwater mountain range, that begins off the Russian coast, gives Russia control of all the underwater territory in or near this submerged terrain. Other nations bordering the Arctic oppose this claim.
      November 7, 2011: In St Petersburg, Russia hosts a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This is a regional security forum founded in Shanghai in 2001 by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and China. The main purpose of the SCO was originally fighting Islamic terrorism. Russia, however, hopes to build the SCO into a counterbalance against NATO. SCO members conduct joint military exercises, mostly for show. They also share intel on terrorists, which is often useful. Iran, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia and Turkey also want to join the SCO. These nations are allowed to send observers to meetings.
      November 3, 2011: Former Russian Air Force officer Viktor Bout was convicted of terrorism in an American court, three years after he was arrested in Thailand. Last year, after numerous court battles, judges in Thailand ordered Russian gunrunner Viktor Bout extradited to the United States. Russia tried to halt the process, fearing what Bout might say to American prosecutors about Russian government involvement in many illegal arms deals in the last two decades. Bout was the major exporter of illegal weapons since the early 1990s. Russian officials were bribed, or persuaded by their own government, to look the other way as Bout sold Cold War surplus weapons to anyone who could pay.
      November 2, 2011: The U.S. has again accused Russia and China of carrying out, sponsoring or just tolerating enormous Internet based espionage operations in the West. Large quantities of commercial, military and government data have been stolen. China and Russia deny it all. Britain, and other Western nations, agree with the American accusations, and often make their own when hit by a particularly heavy Internet based attack.
      October 31, 2011: The American FBI released video of their surveillance of Russian spies (arrested and exchanged last year) who were operating in the United States. This was yet another embarrassment for Russian intelligence agencies. These vids showed the ten Russians who had, for the last decade, been trying to pass themselves off as Americans, and operate as "illegals" (spies without diplomatic cover and protection). The FBI caught on to this bunch early on, and was watching them for years, trying to obtain more information on how Russian espionage operated in the United States. The FBI finally arrested these ten when it became apparent that the Russians had detected that they were being watched.
      The FBI was puzzled by how little useful information these ten were able to obtain. As far as the FBI could tell, these ten spies never obtained anything important. Moreover, the ten agents were not very professional, or effective. That may be why the Russians were eager to get them back, and avoid a trial in the United States. Russian state media said very little about the spy swap. The spy exchange was organized in less than a month, with the U.S. eager to get four valuable people back, and Russia equally intent on getting its ten embarrassing spies out of the news.
      It's unclear why Russia undertook such an inept operation. There are indications that many other Russian espionage operations are similarly sloppy (and will be revealed when arrests are made). This is in sharp contrast to the Cold War when, after it was over, it was revealed that the Russians were much better at the spy game than their Western counterparts. But those super spies appear to have moved on to more lucrative work in the civilian sector, or the government. In any event, the past masters are no longer running the show. Its amateur hour now and the Russians would rather not talk about it, or have anyone see videos of their overseas spies in action.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Russia backs Assad as pressure grows

      In this section »





      AMMAN – Russia is standing by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as Arab and Western countries seek to pile pressure on him to halt a violent crackdown on his opponents.
      The Arab League has suspended Syria and given it until the end of the week to comply with an Arab peace plan to end bloodshed that has cost more than 3,500 lives, by a UN count.
      The 22-member league, which has suspended Syria’s participation in its meetings, warned that it would impose economic sanctions on the government and turned down Dr Assad’s call for an Arab summit.
      Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country is one of Syria’s few remaining foreign friends, said demands for Mr Assad’s removal would destroy the initiative, which calls for dialogue between the Syrian government and its foes.
      “If some opposition representatives, with support from some foreign countries, declare that dialogue can begin only after President Assad goes, then the Arab League initiative becomes worthless and meaningless,” Mr Lavrov said.
      He was speaking after talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who said the world must bring all the influence it could bear on Syria to change course.
      “The future of Syria now depends on the ability of all of us to keep pressure on them to see that there is a need to stop this violence, to listen to the people, and to find a way to move forward,” Ms Ashton told a joint news conference in Moscow.
      Mr Lavrov said earlier a raid on Wednesday by the Free Syrian Army on an Airforce Intelligence complex on the outskirts of Damascus was “already completely similar to real civil war”.
      Opposition sources said Syrian army defectors had killed or wounded 20 security police in the early morning attack, the first of its kind in an eight-month revolt against Assad.
      It was not possible to verify the casualty toll. The authorities have not mentioned the attack. Syria has barred most foreign media since unrest began in March.
      Washington said it had few details and no confirmation of the incident, but that Mr Assad was courting trouble.
      Residents of Harasta, the suburb where the Airforce Intelligence compound is located, said army deserters had fired rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns for 10 minutes, provoking a security sweep that netted about 70 people.
      Together with Military Intelligence, Airforce Intelligence is in charge of preventing dissent within the armed forces.
      Syria blames the violence on foreign-backed armed groups it says have killed more than 1,100 soldiers and police.
      Hundreds of people have been killed this month, one of the bloodiest periods in the revolt that began in March.
      Catherine Altalli, of the opposition Syrian National Council, said Wednesday’s assault was understandable after the violence, detention and torture used on peaceful protesters.
      “I am not saying this is right, there have to be limits,” she said. “But what is unacceptable is that every day bodies come out with marks of torture from Air Force Intelligence buildings and other secret police dungeons across Syria.” – (Reuters)
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Russia sends warships to Syrian waters
      Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:8PM GMT
      Reddit
      Russian warships expected to enter Syria. (File photo)
      Russia is sending its warships to Syrian waters in a move aimed at preventing any foreign attacks against Syrian territories.


      According to Russian sources, the recent move conveys the message that Moscow will block any NATO-led attack under the guise of “humanitarian intervention,” The Nation reported.

      Russia has been voicing support for Syria, which it says is currently going through a civil war.

      The Western military alliance, NATO, has been making efforts to demonize the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his forces, while downplaying attacks by opposition forces.

      Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has also recently warned the West against any 'Libya-style' military intervention in Syria.

      Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March, with demonstrations being held both against and in support of Syrian President Assad.

      According to the United Nations more than 3,000 people, including members of the security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

      The opposition and Western countries accuse Syrian security forces of being behind the killings in the country, but the government blames what it describes as outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups for the deadly violence, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

      SZH/JR/HGH
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Companion Post and Thread:



      Medvedev: Russia may target missile defense sites






      MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will deploy new missiles aimed at U.S. missile defense sites in Europe if Washington goes ahead with the planned shield despite Russia's concerns, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

      Russia will station missiles in its westernmost Kaliningrad region and other areas if Russia and NATO fail to reach a deal on the U.S.-led missile defense plans, he said in a tough statement that seemed to be aimed at rallying domestic support.

      Russia considers the plans for missile shields in Europe, including in Romania and Poland, to be a threat to its nuclear forces, but the Obama administration insists they are meant to fend off a potential threat from Iran.

      Moscow has agreed to consider NATO's proposal last fall to cooperate on the missile shield, but the talks have been deadlocked over how the system should operate. Russia has insisted that the system should be run jointly, which NATO has rejected.

      Medvedev also warned that Moscow may opt out of the New START arms control deal with the United States and halt other arms control talks if the U.S. proceeds. The Americans had hoped that the treaty would stimulate progress further ambitious arms control efforts, but such talks have stalled over tension on the missile plans.

      "The United States and its NATO partners as of now aren't going to take our concerns about the European missile defense into account," a stern Medvedev said, adding that if the alliance continues to "stonewall" Russia it will take retaliatory action.

      The U.S. plan calls for placing land- and sea-based radars and interceptors in European locations over the next decade and upgrading them over time.

      Medvedev warned that Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea exclave bordering Poland, and place weapons in other areas in Russia's west and south to target U.S. missile defense sites.
      Medvedev added that prospective Russian strategic nuclear missiles will be fitted with systems that would allow them to penetrate prospective missile defenses.

      He and other Russian leaders have made similar threats in the past, and the latest statement appears to be aimed at domestic audience ahead of Dec. 4 parliamentary elections.

      Medvedev, who is set to step down to allow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reclaim the presidency in March's elections, leads the ruling United Russia party list in the parliamentary vote.

      A sterm warning to the U.S. and NATO issued by Medvedev seems to be directed at rallying nationalist votes in the polls.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Ummmm this article is incorrect.

      There is no "May" involved in this. It was stated CLEARLY that missile DEFENSE sites in Europe ARE going to be targeted. That's their policy.

      There is no backing out of the Missile Defense Shield... and if Russia THINKS we're about to back down, well, they can just look at our brass-balled President and know...

      Oh wait, we're fooked.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Ok.... I rest my case, I was right.

      Official: U.S. Will Not Change Plans for Missile Defense Despite Russia Warning


      Published November 23, 2011
      | FoxNews.com


      • MDA.mil
        U.S. Missile Defense Agency


      The U.S. is not planning on making any changes to its missile defense system in Europe, a U.S. official said Wednesday, despite a warning from Russia's president that Moscow will target the U.S. system if Washington goes ahead and deploys the planned shield.


      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia will station missiles in the country's westernmost Kaliningrad region and other areas if the U.S. goes ahead with deployment. The warning came less than two weeks after Medvedev met with President Obama in Hawaii and the two offered vague assurances on cooperation.




      National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor responded that the U.S. has explained through "multiple channels" the purpose of the defense system and that it's not aimed as a strategic deterrent to Russia. He said the U.S. will make no changes to the program.



      "Its implementation is going well and we see no basis for threats to withdraw from it," Vietor said in a statement given to Fox News. "We continue to believe that cooperation with Russia on missile defense can enhance the security of the United States, our allies in Europe and Russia, and we will continue to work with Russia to define the parameters of possible cooperation. However, in pursuing this cooperation, we will not in any way limit or change our deployment plans in Europe."


      Earlier, Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, emphasized that the U.S. missile defense program is not a threat to Russia's security or its forces.



      It "is focused on addressing the growing missile threat from Iran," Kirby told Fox News, adding that the U.S. has been forthcoming with Russia about its plans
      "We have been addressing Russia's concerns through an intensive dialogue and detailed briefings at senior levels. The U.S. and NATO have welcomed Russia to participate in missile defense cooperation. This is the best way for Russia to receive transparency and assurances that missile defense is not a threat," he said.

      Russia considers the plans for missile shields in Europe, including in Romania and Poland, to be a threat to its nuclear forces, and while Moscow had agreed to consider NATO's proposal last fall to cooperate on the missile shield, the talks have been deadlocked over how the system should operate. Russia has insisted that the system should be run jointly, which NATO has rejected.


      Speaking in Hawaii on Nov. 12, Obama said his relationship with Medvedev had led to "successfully" establishing "the reset of U.S.-Russia relationships," which had "borne concrete fruit" in the form of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and sanctions on Iran.



      But Medvedev was more hesitant about the measure of success shared between the two nations, and specifically mentioned the missile shield.


      "Over the recent years, we achieved progress on matters where there was no progress. Barack has just recalled the START treaty. If we manage to emphasize similar efforts on European missile defense, just like other issues, I’m sure we'll succeed," he said.


      On that same trip, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said the U.S. has a commitment to protecting itself and its allies, and suggested Washington will move forward with the missile defense system.



      "We've made clear to the Russians that this is based not against Russia, but against the threat of ballistic missiles from states that are outside of international norms," Rhodes told reporters. "At the same time, we decided to pursue with the Russians a dialogue about missile defense. But, again, we have our interests that we're very clear with the Russians about."


      Medvedev warned Wednesday that Moscow may opt out of the new START deal and halt other arms control talks if the U.S. proceeds.



      "The United States and its NATO partners as of now aren't going to take our concerns about the European missile defense into account," Medvedev said, adding that if the alliance continues to "stonewall" Russia it will take retaliatory action.


      Medvedev warned that Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea exclave bordering Poland, and place weapons in other areas in Russia's west and south to target U.S. missile defense sites. Medvedev added that prospective Russian strategic nuclear missiles will be fitted with systems that would allow them to penetrate prospective missile defenses.


      Medvedev's comments come ahead of Dec. 4 parliamentary elections in Russia. He leads the ruling United Russia nationalist party list in the parliamentary vote. They also follow a U.S. announcement on Tuesday that Washington will stop sharing data with Russia on U.S. forces in Europe. That decision was a reaction to talks stalling over reviving a conventional forces treaty that governs the number and position of troops and conventional weapons stationed in Europe.


      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      • NOVEMBER 25, 2011, 10:05 A.M. ET

      Putin's Party Faces Losses in Elections




      By ALAN CULLISON And GREGORY L. WHITE

      MOSCOW—Vladimir Putin's United Russia party could lose as many as 50 seats in parliament in the elections on Dec. 4, pollsters and analysts said Friday, amid disillusion with sluggish economic growth and the Kremlin's ability to cope with the effects of the world financial crisis of 2008-09.
      The loss in seats would mark the first such setback for Mr. Putin since he came to power 12 years ago. But the direct political impact is likely to be limited.
      United Russia should keep a majority in the State Duma, the lower house, and the Kremlin's grip over the political system remains tight. Pollsters say United Russia is likely to get about 53% of the vote next weekend, down from 64% four years ago. The poll results are the last that can be released under Russian law before the election.
      The economic crisis has been the most serious challenge to the top-down political system assembled by Mr. Putin, which he plans to formally head again when he returns to the presidency next spring for another six and possibly 12 years. Stagnant living standards and rising corruption have fueled disillusionment with the Kremlin's pledges of stability, analysts say. United Russia, which has never been as popular as its charismatic leader, Mr. Putin, has suffered especially.
      Russia's newly-minted middle-class voters "are worried about the specter of stagnation and they are critical of what is happening in the country," Lev Gudkov, head of the independent Levada polling center, told reporters Friday. "Half of them believe the government has no plan to get out of this crisis."
      Valery Fyodorov, director of the state-run polling agency Vtsiom, said the likely drop in United Russia's results is "rather moderate" compared to the huge electoral reverses ruling parties in Europe and the U.S. have seen since the global financial crisis. "We made it through the crisis rather smoothly," he said.
      But the elections come as Mr. Putin's own star-like qualities appear to have dulled, despite the fawning coverage from state-run television that helped vault him to power in previous years. Last week Mr. Putin, 59 years old, was booed when he appeared at a martial arts event in Moscow.
      Party officials brush off the sagging poll numbers, but in recent weeks have scaled back their public forecasts for how many seats they expect to win in parliament. Gone are previous pledges to match the current majority of more than two-thirds of the seats—enough to make changes to the constitution.
      Instead, party officials this week said they'd be satisfied with a simple majority of the 450-seat house. Immediately after the 2007 elections, United Russia used its commanding majority to amend the constitution to extend the presidential term from four to six years.
      Vtsiom Friday forecast United Russia would get about 264 seats in the Duma, while Levada put the figure at 253. Those compare to 315 seats in the last elections in 2007.
      The Communist Party and the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party are expected to pick up the most seats.
      Analysts said the situation could still change in the last week of the campaign, with United Russia using its dominance of TV and other media for a final push. Mr. Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have stepped up anti-Western rhetoric—long a vote-winner for them—and are both scheduled to speak at a United Russia congress Sunday.
      Opposition parties and vote monitors also say they're already seeing rising pressure on other parties from local authorities and fear efforts to manipulate the vote could grow.
      Andrei Buzin, head of the Golos vote-monitoring group, said the authorities' most powerful tool is the ability to hamstring rival parties' campaigns, reducing their reach or keeping them off the ballot. Outright falsification, he said, wouldn't likely exceed 4% or 5% of the vote.
      Meeting with United Russia leaders Thursday, Mr. Putin exhorted them "to attain the maximum result in these elections." "If we mess up the parliament," he warned, Russia would risk the kind of political gridlock that he blamed for blocking efforts to resolve the economic crises on the part of "our friends in Europe and our partners in the U.S.A."
      Russia's economy has bounced back strongly from the bruising it took in the global financial crisis in 2008-09. But heavy government spending has made Russia more vulnerable to any weakness in prices for oil—its main export. Economists warn that a deepening of economic problems in the rest of the world could stall growth in Russia and trigger a sharp drop in the ruble.
      Write to Alan Cullison at alan.cullison@wsj.com and Gregory L. White at greg.white@wsj.com
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Russia, China... both have predicted war with the US ....
    1. Phil Fiord's Avatar
      Phil Fiord -
      Shifting on my tin foil hat, didn't "Titor" suggest a war in 2014 or 2015 in which Russia was involved but they were not the enemy to him, the US was? Paraphrasing of course and not trying to derail. Just a ponderance.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Turn off the tin foil.

      He said by 2004, not 2015. Then he said later 2012. Not 2015.

      The CHINESE have STATED clearly, QUITE CLEARLY in several papers, all of which has been written up and published by the CIA if anyone wishes to look it up.

      I've documented it in the past on Anomalies, and here.
    1. Phil Fiord's Avatar
      Phil Fiord -
      Well, yes, small wacos which we did not have were 04/05 and the big war in 14 or so. Still missed the first marks.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Titor was a hoax.

      The Chinese aren't hoaxing anyone when they say they WILL be at war with the US by 2015.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      The Russian Bear Is Back, The Soviet Union Is Being Revived And The Cold War Is Not Over



      If you believe that the United States is the "sole superpower" in the world, then you really need to read the rest of this article. Most Americans have very little idea what is actually going on in the rest of the world and how the global balance of power is shifting. For example, can you name the country that is the number one oil producer in the world, the number one oil exporter in the world, the number one exporter of natural gas in the world and that also has the second most powerful military in the entire world? In case you need a hint, it is not Saudi Arabia, it is not China and it is not the United States. The correct answer is Russia. The Russian Bear is back in a big way. Did you know that Russia is rapidly becoming one of the top suppliers of oil to the United States? Russia has vast natural resources, a national debt that is very low (ratio of publicly held debt to GDP is less than 10%) and an economy that has boomed over the past decade. Russia is busy flexing its muscles in many different ways. For example, many are pointing out that the "Eurasian economic union" that Russia is putting together is a significant move in the direction of a revival of the Soviet Union. Russia is also rapidly modernizing its military and developing very powerful new weapons systems. Most Americans believe that the Cold War is over and that Russia is a toothless bear that no longer represents a threat. It is difficult to find words to describe how wrong that assessment of the situation is.

      The other night during the Republican debate the candidates said next to nothing about Russia. It was almost as if the second most powerful superpower on the planet did not even exist.

      That debate was yet another example of just how bizarre our foreign policy has become. As you will see below, if there is one country on the face of the planet that could defeat the United States in a war, it is Russia.

      And if you believe that Russia is now our "friend", then you have been seriously deceived.

      The Cold War is not over. In fact, activity by Russian intelligence agents inside the United States and other western nations is now at least at Cold War levels.

      And tensions between the United States and Russia are rising on multiple fronts.

      For instance, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that Russia is going to deploy new nuclear missiles that will be specifically targeted at U.S. missile defense installations if the United States proceeds with plans for a missile defense shield in Europe.

      The following comes from a recent article posted on Yahoo News....
      Medvedev warned that Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea exclave bordering Poland, and place weapons in other areas in Russia's west and south to target U.S. missile defense sites.

      Medvedev added that prospective Russian strategic nuclear missiles will be fitted with systems that would allow them to penetrate prospective missile defenses.
      In addition, we are starting to see some major treaties between the United States and Russia totally break down. For example, the U.S. State Department has announced that the United States will no longer be observing the provisions of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Russia stopped observing the treaty back in 2007.

      The world is changing and the American people need to wake up.

      While the United States spends hundreds of billions of dollars chasing around goat herders in Afghanistan, Russia is preparing for nuclear war with the United States.

      Did you know that Russia has been spending huge amounts of money building a vast system of underground bunkers and shelters?

      In Moscow alone, 5000 new "emergency bomb shelters" are being constructed. The goal is to have enough shelters to hold nearly the entire population of Moscow and the plan calls for all the shelters to be completed by the end of 2012. When construction is finally finished, virtually the entire population of Moscow will be able to reach a bomb shelter within a matter of minutes. You can see a video news report about this development right here.

      So what is the U.S. government doing to prepare all of us?

      Nothing.

      Instead, the Obama administration is doing the best that it can to disarm America.

      In a previous article, I described what the new START Treaty is going to do to the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal....
      The treaty restricts both the United States and Russia to a maximum of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. For the U.S. military this would represent a decline of well over 90% from a peak of approximately 31,255 strategic nuclear warheads in 1967. The treaty would also limit the total number of deployed ballistic missiles or nuclear bombers to 700.
      In that same article, I discussed the fact that this treaty will leave Russia will a significant advantage in nuclear weapons because it does nothing to address their overwhelming superiority in tactical nuclear weapons....
      The treaty completely ignores the very serious imbalance that exists between the U.S. and Russia when is comes to tactical nuclear weapons. Today it is estimated that the Russians have approximately 10,000 tactical nuclear warheads while the U.S. only has a few hundred. These tactical nuclear warheads can be delivered by cruise missiles, long-range artillery or aircraft.

      The treaty does nothing to change those numbers. This would put the United States at a very serious strategic disadvantage.
      Over the last several years, Russia has also been quite busy updating and modernizing their strategic nuclear forces. The United States has not been doing the same. U.S. officials still believe that the U.S. has a technological edge in this area, but everyone agrees that this gap is rapidly narrowing.

      In recent years Russia has also developed submarines that are too "quiet" for us to track and ballistic missiles that can evade all of our missile defense systems.

      While the U.S. has been making strategic mistakes like helping al-Qaeda take over Libya, Russia has been developing devastating new weapons systems. The following are just a couple of examples....

      *In 2010, Russia introduced their new "fourth generation" nuclear submarine to the world, which is apparently quieter than any other submarine in existence.

      *A while back, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin climbed into the cockpit of Russia's new "fifth generation" fighter jet and announced that it was far superior to the F-22 Raptor.

      But most Americans don't know any of this.

      As the United States drowns in debt, Russia is thriving.

      According to an article in Forbes, Moscow is now the third most expensive city in the world in which to live. An article posted by CNN says that Moscow is the fourth most expensive city.

      In fact, the cost of living is higher in Moscow than in any city in the United States.

      Now there are even fears that Russia is trying to put the old Soviet Union back together.

      It didn't get much press in the United States, but the initial members of the "Eurasian Union" were recently announced.

      Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia will be the first three members, and it has been made clear that all of the nations there were formerly part of the Soviet Union will be welcome to join.

      The following comes from a recent AFP article....
      Three ex-Soviet states were Friday to agree the first steps towards creating a Eurasian economic union, a project backed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to bind closer the former USSR.

      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Kazakhstan and Belarus counterparts Nursultan Nazarbayev and Alexander Lukashenko were to sign a declaration on further economic integration at a summit in Moscow, the Kremlin said in a statement.

      "The declaration will set out the ultimate aim (of economic integration) as the creation of a Eurasian economic union," it said.
      So why isn't the U.S. press reporting on this?

      Back when Reagan was president, Russia was the number one foreign policy issue.

      But today nobody wants to talk about Russia.

      Everyone in America so desperately wants to believe that the Cold War is over.

      Everyone in America so desperately wants to believe that Russia is no longer a threat.

      But the truth is that Russia is much stronger politically, economically and militarily right now than the Soviet Union ever was.

      And significant portions of the Russian population have developed a great fondness for Soviet nostalgia. Many of them wish that the Soviet Union was never broken up. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent news report from Australia....
      Mikhail Chernysh, a professor at the Institute of Sociology in Moscow, says constant exposure to a lost country has clearly rubbed off on Russians.

      "What is striking, that there is nostalgia about the Soviet past even among young people who never lived in the Soviet period, who were never part of Soviet history," he said.

      From new retro Soviet-era vending machines to statues of Lenin in central squares, to the ubiquitous hammer and sickle, reminders of the USSR's past glory are everywhere and for many in the new Russia, the past is too good to forget.
      If the United States continues to underestimate Russia it will be a gigantic mistake.

      The Cold War is not over. Anyone that runs around saying that does not know what they are talking about. The top politicians and military leaders in Russia do not view us as a friend at all.

      If Russia was ever able to pull off a successful first strike and take out most of our remaining nuclear warheads (remember, our nuclear arsenal is now less than 10% the size it used to be), it is entirely possible that Russia would be able to totally defeat the United States in a future war - especially if they are allied with China at the time.

      Most people in the U.S. think that this can never happen, but the top brass in Russia and in China spend long hours on exactly such scenarios.

      Sadly, very little about Russia will be said during the entire 2012 election season. Instead, everyone will be focused on the "massive threat" posed by the goat herders that are running around the hills of Afghanistan.

      The blind are leading the blind and meanwhile the world is dramatically changing.

      The Russian Bear is back, and Russia is going to play a huge role in world events in the years to come.

      ***UPDATE***
      During the speech he made to formally launch his campaign to reclaim the Russian presidency, Vladimir Putin made the following statement....

      "In the next five to 10 years we must take our armed forces to a qualitatively new level. Of course, this will require big spending .... but we must do this if we want to defend the dignity of our country"
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      "In the next five to 10 years we must take our armed forces to a qualitatively new level. Of course, this will require big spending .... but we must do this if we want to defend the dignity of our country"
      Isn't going to happen.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      The US isn't going to "take our armed forces to a qualitatively new level." OR do any "big spending"/

      We're just not. The DOD is about to get whacked. We're not going to spend MORE money, we're going to lose positions, personnel, jobs and equipment over the next 5-10 years. Worse than Carter, WORSE than Clinton.

      The DoD is gonna get slashed and burned.

      Then nuked.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Putin May Shift Blame for Vote Setback to ‘Fall-Guy’ Medvedev

      December 05, 2011, 12:25 PM EST By Henry Meyer
      Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Premier Vladimir Putin may be able to insulate himself from his first election setback by shifting the blame to President Dmitry Medvedev, said political scientists and economists from Moscow to London.
      Medvedev, 46, led the campaign of Putin’s United Russia party and is set to switch jobs with him next year. The party won 49.5 percent of yesterday’s vote for the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, preliminary results show. That compares with 64.3 percent four years ago and is the first time the party’s support declined from one nationwide vote to the next since it was set up a decade ago.
      Medvedev, 46, may inherit the day-to-day running of a government that expects the budget to open up a deficit of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product next year after ending 2011 in a surplus of about 0.5 percent. He will also have to contend with a more fractured parliament than during his presidency.
      “It won’t mean anything for Putin, all power will remain in his hands,” Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister under Putin who now opposes the government, said in a telephone interview. “The fact that United Russia under Medvedev got far fewer votes than it did four years ago when it was led by Putin may end up being quite convenient.”
      The Micex Index added 0.8 percent to 1,517.89 at the 6:45 p.m. close in Moscow after falling as much as 0.4 percent earlier. Steelmakers OAO Severstal and OAO Novolipetsk Steel both climbed more than 2.5 percent. The dollar-measured RTS index rose 0.9 percent to 1,559.28. The ruble strengthened 0.1 percent to 30.9046 per dollar.
      Appeal to Voters
      Medvedev was promised the job of premier after he agreed in September to make way for Putin’s return to the Kremlin. While Russia needs to tighten its finances to limit the fallout from the euro zone debt crisis, Putin, 59, who is focused on securing election as president in March, may pump more money toward appealing to voters, according to Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Aberdeen Asset Management.
      Putin would get 31 percent of the vote in a presidential election, compared with 7 percent for Medvedev and 8 percent for Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, according to a Levada Center poll last month. A third said they were undecided. The Nov. 18-21 poll interviewed 1,591 people and had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
      ‘Fall Guy’
      Medvedev may become the “fall guy” for United Russia’s election setback, allowing Putin to appoint former finance minister Alexei Kudrin as prime minister in his place, Tim Ash, head of emerging-markets research at RBS in London, said in an e-mailed research note today.
      The president sacked Kudrin in October after the finance minister, who is well-respected by investors, criticized him for increasing military expenditure, warning that spending was approaching a critical level if global economic conditions sour.
      Medvedev lost political stature after surrendering his chance of a second term to Putin and paid the price in credibility, Lilit Gevorgyan, a London-based analyst at IHS Global Insight, said by e-mail today.
      “Putin is likely to hold his end of the deal and appoint Medvedev as his prime minister once he finalizes his return to the Kremlin,” she said. “But Medvedev’s term in the prime minister’s office is unlikely to be long,”
      After balancing this year’s budget, Russia will probably run a 2012 deficit of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, Putin said Nov. 16. The country, which posted budget surpluses between 2000 and 2008, faces deficits of as much as 3 percent through 2014 as oil prices fall, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said in June.
      ‘Tough Task’
      “The government is going to have a tough task in Russia, as maintaining good debt ratios would require cuts in social spending and pensions over the medium-term, which is politically difficult,” Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital in London, said in an e-mail today. “Any prime minister is going to need support from the president to push through the necessary reforms.”
      The cost of insuring Russian government debt against default over five years with credit default swaps has risen 85 basis points, or 0.85 percentage point, since June 30 to 227, according to data provider CMA, which is owned by CME Group Inc. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market. That compared with an increase of 46 basis points to 156 for Brazil so far this half, the data show.
      The ruble has dropped 9.7 percent against the dollar since the end of June, heading for the worst half-year since the six months through December 2008. The Russian currency gained 0.2 percent to 30.8737 per dollar today.
      ‘Post-Election Hangover’
      A surge in spending on state salaries and social benefits “could well create a large post-election hangover” by increasing the oil price required to balance the budget, said Ash at RBS.
      Russia may need an average oil price of $126 a barrel to balance its budget next year, compared with an earlier forecast for $118, after a bigger-than-estimated increase in military salaries, Alfa Bank said last month. The price of Russia’s main export, Urals crude oil, traded at about $110 a barrel today.
      The budget deficit will widen unless the country continues to benefit from “high oil and gas prices,” European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Thomas Mirow said in a Nov. 30 interview. The world’s largest energy exporter relies on oil and gas revenue to fund 40 percent of its budget.
      While Putin rewarded Medvedev’s loyalty during his four- year term as president, the Russian leader would benefit from replacing him as prime minister with a “strong figure who could manage the government,” Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center, said in a telephone interview today.
      “I can imagine him being pushed aside,” Lipman said, listing possible replacement candidates as Sergei Naryshkin, head of the presidential administration, and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
      --With assistance from Jack Jordan in Moscow. Editors: Balazs Penz, Andrew Langley
      To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net
      To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net