27 December 2015

A striking example of how dangerously Americans are misinformed and misled by the war party was featured in a major article in 24 December, New York Times.

In “Russia Rearms for a New Era,” the authors assert Russian military spending is growing and has risen $11 billion from 2014 to 2015. Lurid maps and diagrams of weapons make it seem that Stalin’s 210-division Red Army is again on the march – and headed into Europe.

A professor at Columbia’s Harriman Institute was actually quoted claiming that President Vladimir Putin is trying to “provoke the US and NATO into military action” to bolster his popularity.

What unbelievable rubbish. This dimwitted lady believes that Putin, whose popularity ratings rise over 82% in Russia, needs to court nuclear war to gain a few more points? Shame on the NY Times.

Let’s look at the true figures. The US so-called “defense budget”(it should be called “offense budget”) is in the range of $600 billion, 37% of total world military spending by a nation that only 5% of world population.
Some studies put the true figure at $700 billion.

Not included in this figure are “black” projects, a lot of handouts to foreign military forces, and secret slush funds for waging small wars in Afghanistan, the Mideast, Africa and Asia. The US has over 700 military bases around the globe, with new ones opening all the time.

The US spends more on its armed forces than the next nine military powers – combined. America’s wealthy allies in Europe and Japan add important power to America’s global military domination.

Russia defense spending is roughly $70 billion, and this in spite of plunging oil prices and US-led sanctions. France and Britain each spend almost as much; Saudi Arabia spends more. A French admiral ruefully told me the US Navy’s budget alone exceeded that of France’s total armed forces.

Russia is a vast nation with very difficult geography that limits its different military regions from supporting one another – a problem from which Russia has suffered since its 1904 war with Japan. Moscow needs large, often redundant armed forces to cover its immensity. This includes the warming Arctic, where Russia, like other coastal nations, is asserting its sovereignty. And Russia must also keep a watchful eye on neighboring China.

The Kremlin’s view is that America is trying to tear down what’s left of the post-Soviet Russian Federation by subversion (see regime changes in Georgia, Ukraine) and by stirring up Muslim independence movements in the Caucasus and Central Asia. That’s why Russian military forces are fighting in Syria.

After the total collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s economy and its once potent military fell to ruin. For two decades, Russia military was starved of men and money, and allowed to rust. Putin has been playing catch-up for the past decade to rebuild his nation’s great power status and defend against what Russians see a constant western plots.

Memories are still raw of how Russia’s most secret military technologies were sold to the US during the ultra-corrupt Yeltsin era.

Russia’s relatively modest military budget is hardly a threat to the mighty United States. In fact, the only real Russia threat we face is the danger of blundering into a potential nuclear confrontation with Russia in Ukraine, the Black Sea, Syria or Iraq. Great, nuclear-armed powers should never…repeat, never…engage in direct confrontations.

It appalls and mystifies me that otherwise smart, world-wise people at the NY Times and the anti-Russian Council on Foreign Relations would even contemplate military conflict with Russia – for what? Mariupol Ukraine or Idlib, Syria, places no one has ever heard of.

We have been closer to blundering into nuclear war with Russia than any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Or worse, 1983, when a NATO military exercise codenamed Able Archer was misinterpreted by the Soviet military as an incoming attack by NATO.

This ultimately terrifying crisis was played against the background of intense anti-Soviet propaganda by the West, crowned by Ronald Reagan’s fulminations against the “Evil Empire,” which convinced the Kremlin a western attack was coming. Nuclear war was just averted thanks to a few courageous officers in the Soviet Air Defense Command.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2015


This post is in: Russia, Soviet Union, USA


  1. margolian_plot says:

    America is entering its Soviet era in which fundamental contradictions open it up to a whirlwind of challenges from which it will not emerge intact. The situation in Syria underlines how irrational American foreign policy has become. Hersh’s reporting about the Joint Chief’s of Staff suggest subtly fragmentation at the highest levels, or a psychological operation to prepare Americans for a full retreat from its current Syrian policy, by for example pretending that after all it was some far-sighted American military officers who paved the way for Russian involvement in Syria. American media, American politicians, American intelligence, and now even the American military can’t be trusted. Not only because they have played a duplicitous game for so long, but because the American system itself has become irrational.

    And that is dangerous, and why I support Putin’s efforts. I believe Putin is not only pursuing what he sees as Russia’s fundamental interests, but he is also showing the world that Russia is willing to serve as a backbone to a global movement of non-alliance to the United States. This is the most important thing, because alone Russia cannot withstand for long America’s aggression. But with friends, many things can be undone.

    Syria has proven that we need multi-polarity in global affairs, not only the rule of one nation which authors or signs for humanitarian catastrophe while claiming to protect human rights. We can no longer accept this.

    Thank you for being critical. This is what we need today.

  2. It seems to me a fair assumption, that whoever runs the Federal reserve, also runs the American foreign policy and warmachine, neither of whom have any interest in the wellbeing of the American public beyond its usefulness for that entity. With so many virtual American dollars floating around the globe, that have no basis in real value, the scam has to end sooner or later and the later it gets, the greater the danger of a nuclear exchange, in which all living things on the planet may be erased for thousands of years if not longer or forever, because the capitalist system has managed to destroy half of the earth`s natural resources and evolution may be impossible to recreate, what we have reached so far. And if there were any humans left, they would most likely envy the dead.

  3. Another very informative column. Americans’ ignorance about world affairs is just what US political leaders and war-mongers otherwise really want, because it’s so much easier for them to manipulate ignorant people. (It sort of reminds me of one of Mao Tse-tung’s sayings in his Little Red Book. Here I paraphrase, but I recall he said that on a clean, blank sheet of paper, one can draw the most beautiful characters.) When politicians and others loudly beat the war drums, it’s always a ruse to divert the masses’ attention from the domestic problems that they can’t or don’t want to address, but also a way of justifying the country’s colossal military-industrial machine, which is so essential to the survival of the US economy.

  4. Evil Ronnie’s dead… a good place for him; I hope he’s nice and warm.
    I was a teenager at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, and people were ‘really scared’; they thought the end was rapidly approaching.
    I was really happy when Mr. K. ‘backed down’… and it wasn’t for years afterwards that I realised that he hadn’t backed down, but, had, singlehandedly, saved the world from mass distruction.

  5. The irony is how America is committing suicide while screaming how it will be destroyed by terrorism. Yeah it actually is the terrorists are the media an the politicians both of whom are owned by the ar contractors.

  6. “The US has over 70 military bases around the globe, with new ones opening all the time.”

    Closer to 700 isn’t it?

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