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Russia can fully maintain its defence spending; here’s why.

Contrary to certain claims Russia’s finances are fully adequate for it to sustain the level of defence spending it needs to maintain itself as one of the world’s leading military powers.

Alexander Mercouris

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Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov on Thursday let slip some information about ongoing Russian weapons programmes.

There has been some discussion in the West and even in Russia about whether Russia can afford to maintain its current pace of defence spending for much longer, with certain commentators highlighting falls in budget spending for the military over the coming years, and with defence spending set to fall as a proportion of GDP.

Russian President Putin provided the actual figures during his recent press conference.

National defence is the biggest spending item in the budget. In 2011, we spent 2.7 percent of our GDP on defence. This year, and over the last five years, we have substantially increased defence spending. This year’s figure will come to 4.7 percent of GDP. Next year, the figure will be 3.3 percent, and in 2019, 2.8 percent. We will arrive at this level of 2.8 and maintain it there over the several years to follow. This will not affect out plans to strengthen our country’s defence capability because, as I said, we have invested substantial funds in this sector over the last five years. What is very important is that we will pay off all debts to defence companies this year, and this makes it possible for us to programme the financing levels I just mentioned.

This explanation is perfectly clear, but has been widely misunderstood.  What Putin is saying is that after 2011 Russia embarked on a major programme to renew its armed forces, which had been severely degraded during the long post Soviet years.  The result was a sharp but temporary increase in defence spending to 4.7% of GDP in 2016.  With Russia’s armed forces now substantially re-equipped, and with the defence factories refurbished, defence spending as a proportion of GDP is set to fall to a fully sustainable level of 2.8% of GDP.

As to Russia running out of money, including to maintain its military – as it did in the 1990s – I have previously discussed at length why this is not the case (see for example here and here).

In the event Russia’s budget deficit in 2016 turned out to be just 3.5% of GDP, low for a country exiting recession though higher than anticipated in the economic forecasts prepared during 2015 because of the unanticipated sharp fall in oil prices at the start of 2016, but still lower than predicted at the start of 2016, or even a few weeks ago.

Russia is fully capable of financing a budget deficit of just 3.5% of GDP, besides which, because of the ongoing recovery and the likely higher oil price this year, the size of the budget deficit is anyway going to fall, even if no retrenchment on spending takes place.

Ultimately, with a government debt to GDP ratio of just 17.7% – as compared to 71.8% in the US, 70.1% in Germany, 89.1% in the United Kingdom, 98.2% in France and 135.5% in Italy – Russia would have no difficulty sustaining even higher levels of defence spending if it wanted to.

In any event, not only is Russia fully able to afford its ongoing conventional military programmes – the Armata tank, the SU-T50 fighter, the Kurganets and Bumerang fighting vehicles, the Yasen class submarines etc – whilst maintaining and even upgrading its nuclear strategic forces – but as Borisov has said, it is also able to fund ongoing programmes into new types of weapons

Coming next are hypersonic weapons, which require the use of principally new materials and control systems that operate in a completely different medium, in plasma [and] completely new principles of troop operations’ control, because today one who learns to detect the enemy quicker and give the target designation – and all this has to be done in real time – is the one who actually wins.

Interaction between the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Defence Ministry has specific goals, first of all, in developing the scientific and technical potential. We expect an especially serious breakthrough in the field of laser issues, electromagnetic weapons and so on.

We [the Defence Ministry and the Russian Academy of Sciences] have mapped out a plan of action. On the one hand, our officers are learning in the direct meaning of this word – special courses are being organised for them. On the other hand, we have kindled academic institutes with our ideas to some extent and they are beginning to think about new approaches to modelling serious operations.

In his press conference of 16th December 2016 US President Obama admitted that Russia is a military superpower.  In terms of the range of capabilities of its military – exceeded only by that of the US – that is true, though as The Saker has written, it is a mistake to think of the Russian military as simply a smaller version of the military of the US.  Borisov’s comments show that the Russians intend to keep it that way, and the economic facts show they can do so.

 

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Surprise, Surprise! Another Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegation! (Video)

Democrats will use this Social Justice tactic on every nomination and election.

The Duran

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Via Stefan Molyneux


Surprise, Surprise! Fresh off the spineless Republicans delaying the confirmation vote for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh – the Judge has been accused of yet another sexual assault claim of questionable authenticity. Apparently during the 1983-84 academic school year, Kavanaugh ‘exposed himself’ to classmate Deborah Ramirez while she was heavily intoxicated – or so she thinks so, despite admitted gaps in her memory and no additional eyewitnesses.

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White House Releases Late Night Push Back to New Yorker Hit on Kavanaugh

Ramirez recalls “a penis being in front of my face,” and that despite being incredibly drunk, someone encouraging her to “kiss it.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit


The White House released a late night response to the New Yorker hit piece by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in which a Yale classmate alleged, without eyewitness corroboration, that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her face at a drunken college dorm party decades ago. Kavanaugh issued a statement denying the accusation.

Latest Kavanaugh accuser, Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez.

The White House statement highlights multiple details from the article that undermine the accusation.

Reporters have posted a copy to Twitter, one of them CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Full image and text posted below.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALLEGATIONS MADE IN THE NEW YORKER ARTICLE ON JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH

“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations.” – Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The accuser, Deborah Ramirez, admits in The New Yorker’s piece that there were “significant gaps” in her memories about the event. 

  • “She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident.”
  • “Ramirez acknowledged that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening…”

By The New Yorker’s own admission, Ramirez was reluctant to speak with certainty on the allegation. 

  • “In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty.”

It took six days of “assessing her memories” for Ramirez to say she recalled Kavanaugh committing the alleged incident, and that came only after consulting with an attorney provided by the Democrats. 

  • “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections…”
  • “Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, who currently represents her.”

The New Yorker admits it has not confirmed through eyewitnesses Kavanaugh was even present at the party and other students who knew Kavanaugh said they never heard of the incident. 

  • The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.”
  • “In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events…”
  • “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place.”
  • “Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not.”

Further, those classmates said that the allegations in the story would be completely out of character for Kavanaugh.  

  • “The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett.”

A former student who was best friends with Ramirez said she never told her about the incident despite how close they were. 

  • “The former friend who was married to the male classmate alleged to be involved, and who signed the statement, said of Ramirez, ‘This is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.’”

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US Will Be “Defenseless” Against New Russian Nuclear Sub Equipped With Hypersonic Missiles

The hypersonic nuclear submarine is not the only super-weapon that Russia is preparing to add to its arsenal.

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Via Zerohedge


The Soviet-era arms race between the US and Russia is officially back on.

To wit, Moscow is reportedly building a fleet of nuclear submarines armed with hypersonic ICBMs capable of delivering a nuclear payload ten times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to CNBC, which cited a US intelligence report on the new weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted at six new super weapons during a speech back in March where he also revealed that Russia is working on a nuclear missile capable of evading NATO’s ring of ABM defenses.

The new Borei II submarine, also known as the Borei-A, is a fourth-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that will reportedly join the Russian Navy’s Northern and Pacific Fleets once it’s completed in 2024, according to the report. Each sub can carry up to 20 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can deliver a nuclear payload of 100 to 150 kilotons. The sub will be the first new Russian sub developed in the post-Soviet era.

What’s worse is that, as of now, the US doesn’t possess adequate defenses to protect against Bulava missiles.

What’s more, unlike a traditional missile, which carries one warhead, the Bulava missile is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear and hypersonic weapons on its tip. That means one Borei II submarine could potentially launch 200 hypersonic weapons, a threat the U.S. is currently unable to defend against.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at Mach 5 or higher, which is at least five times faster than the speed of sound. This means that a hypersonic threat can travel about one mile per second.

Back in March, Putin showed a digital representation of how one of Russia’s new weapons could evade ABM defenses by traveling high into the stratosphere. The Russian president also criticized the US and NATO for forcing Russia to resort to these weapons. He also dared any of Russia’s geopolitical rivals to call the country weak.

“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: You have failed to contain Russia,” Putin said during his March national address.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at Mach five or faster, which means it is five times faster than the speed of sound, traveling at about one mile per second.

And the new sub isn’t the only super-weapon that Russia is preparing to add to its arsenal. Of the six weapons Putin unveiled at his speech earlier this year, CNBC reported that two of them will be ready for war by 2020.

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, following Putin’s comments.

With this in mind, perhaps Democrats in Congress can stop complaining about the ostensibly friendly relationship between President Trump and Putin and also stop agitating against Trump’s plans to allocate more money to the military.

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