The Jews and Armenians are not the only ones who say 'never again'. So do the Russians, NATO friends. That means never again will Russia allow its territory to be under the boots of an enemy for months, years, for millions to be bombed, starved, shot, and raped by an aggressor -- even if that means much of the Northern Hemisphere goes up in mushroom clouds of radioactive dust before St. Petersburg or Sevastapol are ever besieged again.
Can the trained military professionals, including the Polish pilot who buzzed the Russian Defense Minister's plane en route from Russia to Kaliningrad (another part of the Russian Federation) this week, comprehend what a real war with the Russians would actually mean? First for him and his buddies, much less for the people in Washington, who imagined fighting Russians for Americans would be just like NATO's bombing of the Serbs, or the U.S. taking on Iraqis and Afghans armed with just Kalashnikovs and IEDs?
As a reminder to those eagerly building up the largest military force seen on Russia's western borders since that time: nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten.
NATO Posturing vs. Reality: Why Would Any Sane Russian Leader Start a Potentially Nuclear War 300 Miles West of Moscow, With a Frontline Practically in the St. Petersburg 'Exurbs'?
Reuters reported this week about NATO exercises in the so-called Suwalki gap, a 60 mile wide strip of mostly farms, fields and forests where Poland and the Baltic States meet in Lithuania. Newsy published a video explainer about why this patch of ground would be important in the event of a Russia-NATO confrontation in the region. What's never explained by Western media such as Newsy or Reuters, is why Russia as opposed to NATO would be starting a fight on Moscow's borders.
The emphasis on the distances involved from NATO's exercises to MOSCOW is appropriate, considering the Alliance's so-called front line is now barely 300 miles west of the Russian capitol, whereas during the first Cold War it ran through the heart of Germany, nearly 1,300 from Red Square. Perhaps this is why former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said last summer, in comments that drew the ire of former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, that Estonian territory is practically in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. While Newt's comment was dismissed as a gaffe, which is what happens when a politician says something that happens to be true, the point that Russia would be unlikely to start a war of aggression within long range artillery (much less the new American HIMARS rocket complex) range of its second largest city remains. Not to mention all of the infrastructure of gas export pipelines to Europe the Russian economy relies upon and which keep the heat on in many European cities in winter that is acutely vulnerable to acts of mutually assured economic destruction.
To bring the point back to Russians' collective memory of Barbarossa and centuries of aggression from the West, of the millions of Soviet civilians who died as a result of the Nazi-Finnish siege of what was then called Leningrad was Vladimir Putin's older brother. To insist that Putin would casually forget the effects of war that scarred his own family and nearly every family of his parents generation simply to show up NATO ignores all evidence. The current propaganda campaign warning of the dire threat from 'Russian aggression' also completely omits NATO's own documented history of aggression since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the U.S.-led attacks on not one but two sovereign nations, one of which happened to be Russia's closest Slavic Orthodox Christian ally in the Balkans.
The Problem of Mirror Imaging and Denying that Russia Could Have Any Genuine Fear of NATO Attack
Nonetheless, it is this very modern history of NATO bombing Serbia, then Libya, amidst the U.S. invasion of Iraq and now uninvited occupation of Syria's sovereign territory accompanied by recent weeks illegal acts of aggression against that Russian ally, which fuels Moscow's age old fear of attack. However absurd it may seem to NATO commanders and spokesmen who deny the alliance is preparing to attack Russia, Russian military exercises like the forthcoming Zapad2017 are precisely tailored for such a scenario, including climbing the escalation ladder all the way up to rehearsing use of tactical nuclear weapons (it should also be noted that last year's exercises in the Black Sea around Crimea appeared to simulate a Russian amphibious landing west of Odessa to free a siege of the Transdnistria exclave within Moldova, before the peaceful election of a Russian-friendly Prime Minister in that ex-Soviet country).
Those who scoff that Putin and his clique merely wish to preserve their own power and could not possibly take seriously the notion of a NATO attempt to directly strike Russian forces, first in Syria, and then in Crimea, don't know their (first) Cold War history. In 1983, the ailing and paranoid ex-KGB director Soviet premier Yury Andropov saw NATO's exercise Able Archer as possible preparation for an imminent nuclear attack on the USSR. In the present climate of hysteria over Russia's alleged 'hacking the election' for Donald Trump in the United States, it's not hard to imagine that Putin's more hard line advisers like former KGB/SVR Lt. Gen. Leonid Reshetnikov and deputy prime minister (and former Russian Ambassador to NATO) Dmitry Rogozin viewing 'the Russians are hacking everything!' hysteria as psychologically prepping Western publics for direct confrontation with Moscow. This is precisely what the Russian Analyst has been warning RogueMoney readers about, except for a brief respite following the election of Donald Trump, since 2015.
Why Russian Armed Forces Are Drilling for Scenarios of NATO Aggression Against Russia: Western Fantasies of Revenge Against the Russians and Aiding a Ukrainian Reconquista of Crimea
If 'Putin's puppet' President Donald Trump were replaced, particularly in a JFK-type scenario, by an American chief executive determined to confront Moscow, it isn't hard to imagine various ways NATO could cross Russia's red lines. With the present Kiev regime buoyant despite a tepid meeting between Petro Poroshenko and Trump, with the Ukrainian President boasting of military technical cooperation if not a permanent American troop presence on its soil, it isn't that difficult to imagine some damn fool U.S.-backed moves in eastern Ukraine. Starting with the Ukrainian military aiming to repeat the 'success' of Croatia's ethnic cleansing of the Serbian Krajina regions of Bosnia in 1995. A 'friend of Ukraine' and former NSA analyst whose writings and tweets are widely cited by pro-NATO social media active think tankists named John R. Schindler (aka @20Committee) has promoted an imagined blitz of the pro-Russian breakaway Donbass republics on his blog.
The fact that the situations in the Donbass of 2017 and Bosnia of 1995 are not remotely comparable, and that nearby Russian armed forces are more than capable of directly intervening to crush a Ukrainian offensive against Donetsk and Lugansk, is omitted from Schindler's writings. Wishful thinking about 'the Russians tiring of their noxious proxies' in the Donbass prevails, over the reality that German, Italian and numerous other European industrialists are weary of sacrificing their considerable trade with Russia for the sake of Washington-Brussels dictated sanctions over Ukraine and a conflict they know Kiev can't win in Donbass. Another problem complicating support for Kiev's open ended campaign to grind down the Donbass through seemingly endless shelling of the civilian population -- the growing anger among many Polish nationalists regarding the Stepan Bandera/UPA cult praising WWII era mass murderers of Poles indoctrinated in young Ukrainians by the Kiev government. For all the seeming generalizations about Poles which may offend some in this essay, many would be quite angry to find out Warsaw's denials of sending soldiers or mercenaries to covertly fight in eastern Ukraine were false -- and even more upset to know Polish patriots fell in battle alongside 'Banderites' from Kiev's radical volunteer battalions. And there are quite a few Ukrainians, with their livelihoods suffering from the collapse in trade with Russia, who are taking advantage of the new bez-vis (visa free) regime with the EU to find work in Poland -- away from the worst of their countrymen:
Suffice to say that a sense of personal humiliation at the hands of Putin, and a thirst for revenge against pro-Russians in the Donbass civilian and combatants alike, leads both armchair and more professionally experienced military analysts down imagined paths of escalation wherein Russia and its proxies can always be beaten into submission. Another example besides Schindler of such 'analyses' came in the writings of retired U.S. Army Col. Austin Bay, who mused during last summer's Anaconda 2016 exercises simulating a NATO offensive to isolate the Russians' Baltic territory of Kaliningrad that the Alliance should consider forcing Russia to accept the loss of the exclave as a 'fair exchange' for having 'stolen' Crimea from Ukraine:
Anaconda 2016’s conclusive fictional thrust isolates and surrounds Kaliningrad.
NATO officials may deny that the exercise is designed to send that message. Let them do so. However, the maneuver delivers a useful political warning. The Russian exclave can be taken by NATO military forces. So hey there, Vladimir Putin of the tight T-shirts, don’t miscalculate. Putin, you seized the port of Sevastopol in Crimea and then swallowed the entire Crimean peninsula. Would a Polish-controlled Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea be a fair trade? What if NATO donated Kaliningrad to Ukraine?
The fact that American, Polish and other NATO forces attempting to invade Crimea or Kaliningrad by sea or land would be subject to massed artillery/rocket fires, saturation supersonic and hypersonic missile strikes sinking their support ships and destroying logistics, and if no tactical nuclear strikes happened, kill boxes and terrible casualties in urban combat for Sevastapol like the Germans before them was not featured in Col. Bay's 'analysis' of what war with Russia would be like. Retired Army Colonel and former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst Patrick Lang explains where some of this dangerously arrogant, almost Wehrmacht in 1941-esque sense of invincibility comes from in NATO circles:
A pervasive assumption among these young people is the notion that Russia is a "paper tiger" and inevitably an enemy. Some of you will have watched the four part Oliver Stone interview with Vladimir Putin. IMO Putin is not a "paper tiger." The belief that Putin is afraid of the United States and will back away from us to avoid a fight is, I think, badly flawed. There is a pernicious fever of Russophobia that is now wide spread among active and retired officers of the US armed forces. Many officers, however intelligent and well educated are extremely rigid in their thinking. This is a professional defect that was rewarded in the long process of competitive service leading to promotion. It was thought to indicate reliability and firmness of character.
The Army's Russian studies graduate school at Garmisch[-Partenkirschen], Germany has, IMO, contributed to this Russophobia by inculcating an attitude of implacable hostility toward the USSR and now Russia. The officer graduates of that institution have imparted this attitude to many others in the US Army. Retired US Army officers are now heard on Foxnews saying that the Russians must be "pushed into submission." This is crazy. Russia is not a minor power. They spend a tenth of what we do on military forces but their missile silos and submarines are full of weapons.
If you don't believe Col. Lang regarding NATO's simultaneous irrational hyping of Russian 'aggression' while underestimating Moscow's very real ability to counterattack by conventional and electronic/cyber warfare, check out this essay by Andrei Martynov. Far from being just a random blogger who happens to contribute to The Unz Review, Mr. Martynov has been published in The U.S. Naval Institute's respected journal Proceedings. While the U.S. Naval Institute does not necessarily endorse everything it publishes with disclaimers, Mr. Martynov's assessment of Russia's growing arsenal of supersonic and hypersonic missiles and their potentially devastating impact on NATO's supply lines and morale in case of a conflict the Americans start with Russia (which will not spare the American homeland particularly U.S. Navy bases at Pearl Harbor and on the coasts from barrages of incoming Kalibrs) is sobering reading:
Delusion, of course, being the fact of US expecting a decisive tactical and technological superiority on the battlefield. Overwhelming empirical evidence tells a completely different story:
1) United States military in future conflicts will have to deal, in case of conventional conflict against near-peer, let alone peer, with adversary who will have C4ISR capability either approaching that or on par with that of the US. This adversary will have the ability to counter US military decision cycles (OODA loop) with equal frequency and will be able to produce better tactical, operational and strategic decisions.
2) US real and perceived advantage in electronic means of warfare (EW) will be greatly reduced or completely suppressed by present and future EW means of adversary thus forcing US forces fight under the conditions of partial or complete electronic blindness and with partially or completely suppressed communications and computer networks.
3) US will encounter combat technologies not only on par but often better designed and used, from armor to artillery, to hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles, than US military ever encountered.
4) Modern air-forces and complex advanced air defense systems will make the main pillar of US military power—its Air Force—much less effective.
5) Last but not least, today the US military will have to deal with a grim reality of its staging areas, rear supply facilities, lines of communications being the target of massive salvos of long-range high subsonic, supersonic and hyper-sonic missiles. The US military has never encountered such paradigm in its history. Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.
But above all, if to finally name this “peer”, which is Russia, and that is who pre-occupies the minds of former and current Pentagon’s and National Security brass, in case of conventional conflict Russians will be fighting in defense of their motherland. Here Russia has a track record without equals in human history. Meanwhile, if the current military trends continue, and there are no reasons for them to stop, the window of opportunities for the Neocon cabal to attack Russia conventionally and unleash a preventive war is closing really fast (if it ever existed). That is what drives to a large extent an aggressive military rhetoric and plans, such as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s doctrine and war mongering.
By mid 2020s Russia’s rearmament program will be largely complete, which will allow Russia’s Armed Forces to field and float a technology which will completely prevent NATO from exercising any illusions about the outcome of any conventional war in Russia’s geographic vicinity, including her littoral, and that will mark the end of US designs on Eurasia by military means. It wouldn’t matter how many carrier battle groups US will be able to move to forward areas or how many submarines, or how many brigades it will be able to deploy around Russia it will not be able to defeat Russia conventionally. With that, especially when one considers China’s growing military potential, comes the end of Pax-Bellum Americana, the one we all hoped for this election cycle.At this point, the only locality where the US can hope to “defeat” Russia is in Syria, to reassert, even if for a little while longer, itself as “greatest military in history”. But even there the window of opportunities is closing fast since the Russian conventional response in Europe would be devastating. As Colonel Pat Lang’s blog noted: “If Russia decides to call our bluff and escalate things Trump will likely preside over a public humiliation that will explode America’s military delusions of grandeur”.
The Suwalki Gap and the Crazy U.S./Poland Going Full Kamikaze vs. Kaliningrad Scenario
Setting aside the fact Russian parliamentarians if not generals have already vowed to defend Crimea if necessary via the use of tactical nuclear weapons, a key deterrent against NATO attempting any stupid moves during the peninsula's secession from Kiev and plebiscite to join Russia, let's look at the scenario for which Russian armed forces rehearse of breaking a siege directed against Kaliningrad.
In a near-Armageddon scenario whereby all appeals for sanity to the United Nations Security Council and individual NATO member states failed (despite the Greeks, Hungarians, Italians and numerous others if not the Franco-German core of the EU publically opting out of the new Barbarossa), it is possible Russian ground forces would contemplate breaking through the Suwaki gap with massed fires and armor. But for reasons already stated above of Russia having so much to lose, that would happen if and only after the Americans, Poles and Balts would take the insane course of blockading Kaliningrad by sea -- a clear act of war. And a violation of the late British Marshall Sir Bernard Law Montgomery's first law of war, which is never, ever march on Russia. Just ask the empires of the Swedes, the French under Napoleon, the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburgs or the Nazis that bled to death on the Russian steppe.
NATO Pushes 'Hybrid Warfare' 'Russian Propaganda' as Black Magic to Explain Away Millions of Ukrainians Voting with Their Ballots, Bullets or Feet to Be Russian After a U.S.-Backed Coup
Once again, the question one is never supposed to ask what exactly would be the point of Russia invading the Baltics, much less non-NATO member EU states Finland and Sweden? Moscow does not need any more land with birch trees or Baltic coastline, or to rule over millions of pissed off Nordics, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians -- with tens of thousands waging a guerrilla war from the forests against the occupiers. Anyway you look at it, it's an asinine scenario, even with all those imaginary uprisings of ethnic Russians in the Baltic states egged on by 'little green men' depicted on BBC2 docudramas. Scenarios that are invoked by so-called experts in part, to blame 'Russian hybrid warfare/propaganda' for the overwhelming rejection by the Crimean people of a U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev...or the humiliating failure of NATO-trained Ukrainian armed forces to crush the Russian-backed breakaway republics in the Donbass. The assistance of a few Canadian, Polish, Croat or other recently discharged or active duty 'vacationing' NATO mercenaries has not been sufficient to push the low-morale conscripts of the UAF into Donetsk. Any direct hands on guidance for the hitherto incompetent Ukrainian armed forces in encircling the breakaway statelets capitals would necessitate a price in Polish, Canadian or other NATO servicemen's blood the Alliance has not shown any willingness to pay.
Last but not least on this chain of logic, if 'breaking NATO' through some demonstration that the Americans will not risk New York for Narva to uphold the Washington Treaty's Article V is the objective, aren't there safer, non-nuclear holocaust risking methods Moscow would try first? The Russian Analyst can think of many Russian gambits that don't involve firing a shot off the top of his head, including bribing the Greeks to tell Washington and Brussels (both that city's NATO and EU headquarters) to go screw themselves. Ditto for three other NATO member countries that, according to American funded polling firm Gallup, by pluralities believe that Russia is more likely or better positioned to protect them from aggression than the USA -- Turkey, Slovenia, and Bulgaria. The latter two nations, in the Balkans, have experienced alongside Greece a flood of humanity from the Mideast, Central Asia and even Africa that NATO has been mostly useless in stopping.
Any other scenario, in which Russia aggressively invades an entire Alliance that outspends it seven, eight or nine to one, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said to Italian newspaper journalists and repeated to film maker Oliver Stone, is ludicrous. But Putin also asked, in his interviews shown recently on the U.S. based cable network Showtime, what the U.S. spends so much on military for, and who is it being prepared to attack?
One Estonian general famously said in 2015, after the Russian spring in Crimea and Donbass war began that the way to stop 'little green men' tactics is simple: shoot the infiltrators. What that same general and NATO commanders should understand, is that somewhere his counterpart in Russia had a similar idea: the way you stop a Ukrainian offensive that NATO or its private military contractors aren't officially participating in against Donetsk or Lugansk is to have pro-Russian locals ID the Polish, Serbo-Croat or English speakers in the rear, triangulate their positions via electronic emissions on the battlefield, and then fire for effect. U.S. and NATO commanders' vow is 'no more Georgias or Ukraines'. The Russians is 'no more free Kosovos or Libyas'. Which society or set of societies is more unified, and supportive of its government enforcing those propositions?