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Russia vs. U.S. – who has the stronger military?

Whilst the US vastly outspends Russia on defence, neither the US nor Russia can defeat the other in war because Russia’s asymmetrical advantages cancel out the US’s advantage in numbers. However claims Russia poses a military threat to NATO are absurd.

Angela Borozna

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It is unquestionable that the United States’ military power is dominant, but just as an illustration, consider these numbers:

Military Spending

Russia’s military budget at $67 billion is tiny, compared to the United States’ $594 billion (bigger than the military budget of the next nine countries with largest military budgets combined).

T-15 Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Active Military Personnel

The United States has 1,492,200 military personnel vs. Russia’s 845,000.

Military Bases

There are around 800 U.S. bases in 80 foreign countries, with 174 U.S. “base sites” in Germany alone.  As of 2016, Russia has 12 military bases outside of its border: 10 of them on the territory of the former Soviet Union, in close proximity to Russia’s borders, two others in Syria and Vietnam

russia-vs-nato_07

Map source: businessinsider.com

Nuclear Weapons

Both sides have more than enough to completely destroy each other several times. According to the Arms Control Association, Russia has 1,735 strategic warheads deployed on 521 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers, and 2,700 non-deployed strategic and deployed and non-deployed tactical warheads, and 3,200 additional warheads are awaiting dismantlement.

The United States has 1,481 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 741 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers, and 2,570 non-deployed strategic warheads, and roughly 500 deployed and non-deployed tactical warheads, and approximately 2,500 warheads retired and awaiting dismantlement.

Irrelevance of Hard Numbers in “Asymmetric Response”

Whilst the overall defence numbers look favourable to the United States, the Russians can compensate for their numerical inferiority by deploying high-end systems for which the US has no real equivalent or good countermeasures.

Since 2012, when the U.S. announced its plans to proceed with building the Missile Defence System in Eastern Europe, Russia has warned of its asymmetric response to US threats:

“Russia will strengthen its air defence capabilities, including air defence systems around Moscow and in strategic forces, build new tracking stations in addition to three existing ones, and create such systems for which missile defence will not be an obstacle”.

Four years later, in summer 2016, Russian representative at NATO, Alexander Grushko reiterated: “Certainly, we’ll respond totally asymmetrically,” and that this response “would not be extremely expensive, but also highly effective.”

Russia’s Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, responded to the U.S. State Department’s threats that “Russians will be going home in body bags,” and that Russian cities will become targets of terrorist attacks:

“I would say that we know exactly where and how many “unofficial specialists” operate in Syria and in the Aleppo province and we know that they are involved in the operational planning and that they supervise the operations of the militants. Of course, one can continue to insist that they are unsuccessfully involved in trying to separate the al-Nusra terrorists from the “opposition” forces. But if somebody tries to implement these threats, it is by no means certain that these militants will have no time to get the hell out of there.”

Konashenkov warned Washington against a possible attack against Russian military personnel in Syria, as the “radius of the new Russian systems implemented in Syria might surprise our colleagues.”

Hard numbers might be irrelevant when it comes to threats of cyber-attacks.

In retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, “the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging ‘clandestine’ cyber operation designed to harass and ‘embarrass’ the Kremlin leadership,” according to NBC.

Russian president Putin responded that cyber-attacks or other types of interference in other countries’ internal affairs were intolerable and ridiculed the accusations of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential elections as a distraction from the multitude of unresolved domestic problems  “pointing instead to supposed Russian hackers, spies, agents of influence and so forth. Does anyone seriously imagine that Russia can somehow influence the American people’s choice? America is not some kind of ‘banana republic’, after all, but is a great power. Do correct me if I am wrong.”

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Wesa F.
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Wesa F.

To me it’s not the budget that you spend but the value you get for that budget. 30 yrs ago I was involved in the purchase of Russian made machinery, and yes it was pretty rough gear,now this was my first impression but when you thought about it for what it had to do and the conditions it had to work in well it was the machine for the job,and the cost was spot on. To buy a machine equivalent would cost you 3 times as much and wouldn’t do any more work and still wore out just the same.… Read more »

Dan Kuhn
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Dan Kuhn

For me,, the Russians have it spot on. They are working within their own country and spending money ion real time defence. Everytime NATO ( US ) does something they come up with the answer. It is a cost effective way to keep a supposedly superior military power at bay. They are not blowing trilllions of dollars on useless military equipment like the F35 and F22. They also use their nuclear deterrent correctly stating that if attacked they will resort to it´s use. That means that if Russia is attacked the Continental US will either cease to exist or it… Read more »

JT
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JT

Notwithstanding the above – Russia is like he ugly girl at the prom that no one wants to date. Trust me, no one is interested in invading Russia, occupying or having anything to do with that dump of a country.

mikeemac
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mikeemac

Dan. Its exactly that sort of attitude thats going to bring America to its knees within the next decade

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

Has anyone bothered to try and find out what China would do??? I doubt that, in case of major conflict, China would just stand by and do nothing. And my guess would be, it would side with Russia.

enviropal99
Guest
enviropal99

The US could stop buying anything Chinese and China would collapse. They can’t even feed themselves!

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

Your notions are rather antiquated…you should update. It is the West that has made Chine what it is today – cheap labour to produce all kinds of products, to be sold in the West at huge profits from which companies such as Wal-Mart, etc. profit. See pictures of China lately? A very modern infrastructure, compared with the US’, that is falling apart no matter where one looks. As for feeding themselves…haven’t seen a hungry, skinny Chinese yet.

Tyrantsbleedtoo
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Tyrantsbleedtoo

We can fall apart for another century and still blow them back to the Golden Horde.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Another typical American…settle problems with violence. Way to go…keep going.

Tyrantsbleedtoo
Guest
Tyrantsbleedtoo

Right. And the perfect, all-loving Muscovites have never engaged in violence. Such delusion.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

How ignorant you are!!! Compare all the daily shootings in the US with hardly any shootings in Russia. You poor soul…brainwashed by a MSM that doesn’t know one end from the other.

Tyrantsbleedtoo
Guest
Tyrantsbleedtoo

I see you did not refute my statement, this proving you truly believe Russia is perfect. All nations are corrupt, to an extent. All people are flawed and born wicked. Russia is not heaven on earth. Putin is not Messiah. Wake up.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Correct you are…no one country, no one person (and no one religion) is perfect…so why then does the US keep bragging, to the point of nausea, how “perfect’ it is?

Robert Matlock
Guest
Robert Matlock

No one in the US except the elderly brags about how perfect this country is. Don’t know what kind of media you ingest, but the US is at an all time low for nationalism. As for economical dependency, the US relies on China, and China heavily relies on the US. That isn’t an argument to be had, it’s just fact, a fact stated and agreed on by both countries. Do your research and learn some basic economics. As for violence, Russia has more murders than the US every year, despite the fact that the US has over twice it’s population.… Read more »

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, fire bombing of Tokyo, Chile, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia…and not forgetting the countless despots and dictators the US has put in government and support/ed. Stop excusing your countries nefarious behaviour.

Le Ruscino
Guest
Le Ruscino

NATO is US & US is NATO – Anyone who doesn’t get that needs to go back to school. Comparing Russian Military Tech with US Military is very difficult but from what we do know in a conflict today in 2016 we go know that the US has an awful lot of knives for a gun fight with Russia that will be won electronically in ways that US knows very well which is why its blustering & will do nothing when push comes to shove. I personally remember UK military laughter when they learned the Russians had removed transistors from… Read more »

MH
Guest
MH

The point is, who’s going to be crazy enough to start it? Get a map of the world, pour gasoline on it and set it on fire. That’ll be the strategy and history of WWIII. That’s who has the “stronger” military.

Robert Melvin
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Robert Melvin

Killary and her neocon zionist asshat buddies seem think its “on the table”!

MH
Guest
MH

I think they’re hoping for a group inside Russia to neutralize the military and the leadership by convincing them that any military action is unthinkable and unwinnable. So that when they begin or threaten a war Russia will be collapsed from within like the SU. And when Russia is broken up and it’s memory erased; all of eastern Europe will meet the same fate and the goal of 70 years ago will be realized. It seems insane, but Russia has to make them understand that if Russia does go down – everyone goes down. No deals, just the match will… Read more »

Robert Melvin
Guest
Robert Melvin

Could be right… “Just hoping”! But, I don’t think they’re that smart. The neocons zionist that control US gov and media think a nuclear war is winnable.. They ARE actually that fucked up! They’ve said as much and are in the process of trying to convince the rest in the gov, our allies, and the amurikan public, that thats the rout we may need to explore. Jew neocon, (ex CIA) mike (I’m a dweeb) morrel said we need to “bomb Assad, bomb Iran, and bomb Russia” to send a message to Putin that “we’re not gonna stand for this”.. Knowing… Read more »

enviropal99
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enviropal99

The US (Truman) was stupid! We could have destroyed Russia in early 1949 before they perfected their A-bomb and we had more than enough to wipe out every major city in Russia along with all their armies along the borders of Western Europe.

Tecumseh1768
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Tecumseh1768

Fortunately Russia caught on to the NGOs in time.

MH
Guest
MH

Yes , the leadership understood the threat and defused it, but I was also thinking of home-grown threats , such as the liberals, those with stars still in their eyes even after what happened during the 90’s and who want to grow up and be just like the Americans. Maybe elements in things like the Valdai group with American contacts who lose sight of other people’s true motivations in urging co-operation with America or who are being made to doubt Russia’s ability to fight and win wars, conventional or nuclear. They used to be called “defeatists” or 5th column. I… Read more »

Bill Rood
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Bill Rood

Notwithstanding the references to an “asymmetric” response, this article does not sufficiently take into account the huge edge Russia holds in the quality of its weapons, from the Kalashnikov all the way to electronic warfare. The Soviet system of competing “design bureaus” always produced weapons every bit as good as those in the west. T-34s and YAK fighters were superior to most German or Western weapons, and that tradition seems to have been restored since the dismal Yeltsin years. I recall seeing one or two isolated reports in the late summer of 2013 that a missile launched somewhere in the… Read more »

Robert Melvin
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Robert Melvin

Not sure about the yaks superiority tho.. Especially at the outset of the war.
Russians also had the digs on who ‘really’ used the nerve gas. Which the UN later seemed to support. And you’re correct, (((they))) dam sure didn’t care about the amurkican public’s push back to another conflict.. Def the other factors….

Doug Retter
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Doug Retter

Bill, you’re just plain stupid. Still trolling for Putin or did you ever get a real job?

Bill Rood
Guest
Bill Rood

Just now getting around to this empty ad hominem after 5 mos? You’d better get on the stick or your CIA handlers will take note of your inefficiency and stop funding you.

Doug Retter
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Doug Retter

…ok…still trolling for Putin!

Ernest Langa
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Ernest Langa

Bill Rood, I like your attitude in having a mutual respect dialogue. Let them vormit and release diarrhea. When a person like Dough Retter and Ajac09 fail to produce meaningful​ information they opt for emotional and eventually playing man instead of showing skill on the ball. Please Bill keep that IQ up.

Robert Miller
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Robert Miller

Doug, he’s got yellowcake! Yellowcake and aluminum tubes! You’ve got to watch out for aluminum tubes. And he’s hiding in a cave in Afghanistan, that’s why we have stayed in Afghanistan for sixteen years, never mind the 1000% increase in opium production. And his emissaries met with al Qaeda in Vienna. And they attacked our navy in the Gulf of Tonkin! We must rescue our medical students in Grenada.

Doug, did you know that Nicaragua is just a leisurely two-day drive to the Rio Grande? The Sandinistas could be attacking Austin by Monday!

Fabrizio Brader
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Fabrizio Brader

Very good analysis, I agree with it.

Bill Rood
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Bill Rood

Well, I certainly hope I was correct, because the attack today on Syria was a test of the Russian technology. I believe the US military was trying to get Russia to “light up” its S-400s. I’m seeing allegations on syrianperspective.com that the S-400s were not used, yet reports that only 23/59 Tomahawks hit their targets. Tomahawks don’t just malfunction, so some AA defense must have been used. I hope they’re correct at syrianperspective.com that it was an inferior technology, in which case it was amazingly effective. I hope that’s what really happened, in which case it should be a sobering… Read more »

AdeliousPat
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AdeliousPat

Russia always produced interesting technology in the Cold War, but it in nearly every regard the Soviet Union was always a step behind. Sure it beat the US into space, but it’s manned moon program failed. The USSR also failed in the later years with the admittedly very cool Buran program. The aircraft from the USSR have always been “a day late and a dollar short.” The MIG 25 and later 31 were fantastically fast, but could only run at those speeds for minutes with the goal of intercepting the SR-71 which was actually most efficient at those speeds (mach… Read more »

Mark J McGinty
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Mark J McGinty

You seem to be forgetting or ignoring the incident in the Black Sea, in 2014, the USS Donald Cook, Russian jamming technology completely shut down AEGIS, rendering the ship helpless and at their mercy. You also make no mention of the F-35, which, even when it does not catch fire on the runway, is easily out-maneuvered by 20 year old Russian fighters, and is generally a laughing stock that makes military pilots cringe when ordered to fly. Yes we out-spend Russia militarily by an order of magnitude, but how much of that do we piss away? The assumption that the… Read more »

ajac09
Guest
ajac09

Stop drinking the Putin Kool aide. Yaks were no where near as good as anything the US deployed in ww2 and the t-34 was beat by shermans in the Korean war…Russia has ALWAYS been behind the US in quality of weaponry. If nukes are off the table US could easily invade and destroy the Russia military. US has much more combat experience then Russia. battle tested weapons and is in a better position then Russia to attempt an invasion. US navy would decimate the Russia navy in its first encounter. US airforce larger and better would destroy the Russian air… Read more »

Bill Rood
Guest
Bill Rood

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakovlev_Yak-3 says different: Marcel Albert, World War II French ace, who flew the Yak in USSR with the Normandie-Niémen Group, considered it a superior aircraft when compared to the P-51D Mustang and the Supermarine Spitfire.[ So, yeah maybe I was wrong. I only said it was better than “most.” It sounds like Albert thought Yak-3 was better than the best. Be that as it may, to what do you attribute that only 23/59 Tomahawks hit their mark on April 6? Did 39 of them all decide to malfunction at the same time? Quite a coincidence, wasn’t it? I didn’t speculate… Read more »

ajac09
Guest
ajac09

ONE Person thinks so and you go with it? Putin kool aide FTW. and you used wikipedia as a reference that kills your argument immediately.

Sean Glennie
Guest
Sean Glennie

Hi ajac09, please stop being this kind of person: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-02/government-trolls-are-using-psychology-based-influence-techniques-youtube-facebook-a [Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll? Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using “psychology-based influence techniques” on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Documents leaked by Snowden also reveal that government agents have been conducting denial-of-service attacks, flooding social media websites with thinly veiled propaganda and have been purposely attempting to warp public discourse online.… Read more »

Sean Glennie
Guest
Sean Glennie

In other words, the US and other Western globalist vassal states do exactly everything what they accuse Russia and a few other countries of doing.

Sean Glennie
Guest
Sean Glennie

These plutocrats and their puppets in politics, NGOs, and the mainstream media deserve to be shot, but only after being exposed to the world for the immoral freaks they are.

ajac09
Guest
ajac09

Why dont you stop kissing Putins ass and come back to reality. You think trolling because you disagree when your just angry that your wrong. History proves me right and continues to.

Sean Glennie
Guest
Sean Glennie

Reliable open source material contradicts your claims, apparently you should read up more history. Also try reading up on the most current weapons both in use and in development around the world and compare them to their US counterparts.

RussG
Guest
RussG

The map needs some corrections. Crimea is part of Russia, so please delete outside-Russia base #3 and re-color Crimea to light pink like the rest of Russia.

M Masek
Guest
M Masek

Angela Borozna, correct me if I’m wrong, I thought Crimea was Russian territory. I didn’t know it was a separatist region. So a Russian military base in Crimea would reflect as in Russia.

Mike from Ramsbottom
Guest
Mike from Ramsbottom

On that map — You can take Crimea out of ‘Russia supported separatist regions’. Crimea is Russia.

murtazabhai008@gmail.com
Guest

Putin wants peace in syria but western countries want pieces by supporting Saudis Wahabis. Wahabis are the worst human on earth. World’s largest terrorism are funded by Saudi Kuwait and all wahabi dominated countries.

Tecumseh1768
Guest
Tecumseh1768

Yes the Saudis are terrorist scum but by God they are OUR terrorist scum.

enviropal99
Guest
enviropal99

Russia wants the destruction of the rebels in Syria that are fighting the dictator Assad. Russia doesn’t believe in human rights. They just want the oil and the military bases.

murtazabhai008@gmail.com
Guest

Putin is a hero. Russia is defeating terrorism while America supports terrorism by helping Saudis.

Mark J McGinty
Guest
Mark J McGinty

This comparison fails to consider that Russia has technical/electronic superiority, the 2014 incident involving the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea proved that Russia has it, hands down. The US may spend 10x more, but it wastes a metric shit ton of that budget, clearly. This superiority skews the numbers by a very substantial factor.

AleonisSprak
Guest
AleonisSprak

Russia has technical/electronic superiority? This is the opposite of what is true. This is the one thing Russia lacks.

America holds private contracts with the companies that are the unquestioned world leaders in electronics/chip design. Raytheon and Honeywell are essentially components of the US defense department. Intel and IBM are direct suppliers of the US government. These companies design the chips that everything else runs off of. Russia has no capacity to approximate US tech. Its a matter of fact and not debate.

Mark J McGinty
Guest
Mark J McGinty

Are you familiar with the USS Donald Cook incident, in even the least way? If you were you would know that AEGIS, the ostensible cream of the US technology crop, was shut down and rendered useless by Russian jamming technology, the ONLY reason that ship isn’t a living reef at the bottom of the Black Sea, is that Russia chose not to sink it. The US military industrial complex is the world leader in extracting wealth from the middle class, look at the F-35, poster child for the phrase “cut your losses” and then talk about world leadership. The only… Read more »

Robert Matlock
Guest
Robert Matlock

The ability to jam does not signify technological dominance, you’re essentially mixing apples and oranges with your argument. If you do not fully understand the technology, do not comment on the matter. American Exceptionalism isn’t a tag for someone stating proven facts, do your research.

Mark J McGinty
Guest
Mark J McGinty

This is a clip from an article on vetranstoday.com: “Russia sent an unarmed bomber Su- 24 to fly around the U.S. destroyer. However, experts say that this plane was equipped with the latest Russian electronic warfare complex. According to this version, “Aegis” spotted from afar the approaching aircraft, and sounded alarm. Everything went normally, American radars calculated the speed of the approaching target. And suddenly all the screens went blank. “Aegis” was not working any more, and the rockets could not get target information. Meanwhile, Su-24 flew over the deck of the destroyer, did battle turn and simulated missile attack… Read more »

Mark J McGinty
Guest
Mark J McGinty

The ability to shut down our targeting/firing systems and force onboard computer systems into a cyclic rebooting condition absolutely shows superiority, do you even know what you’re saying? WTF is wrong with you? When you can render your enemy defenseless — yes, a ship that’s unable to deploy ANY weapons system, besides officers’ side-arms, is by definition, defenseless — then you win. I worked as a programmer for a DoD contractor, developing mission planning software, but this discussion isn’t really all that technical, and you obviously either don’t get it or are in denial. Your inability to be objective turns… Read more »

Doug Retter
Guest
Doug Retter

Have any of you ever been in a Russian tank and then in an American tank? Clearly not!!! The US fields about 8800 Abrams tanks; Russia claims to have over 15,000. The difference is, Russia’s failed infrastructure requires active service tanks to be stripped of parts to keep the rest running. In combat, there will be few spare parts. It is estimated that as much as 30% of Russia’s tanks are not in service as a result….however, would not matter, if they were. Russian tanks are vastly inferior; American crews are vastly over-trained. Most American tank crews have vastly more… Read more »

mikeemac
Guest
mikeemac

The US would be operating far from its resources and extremely over stretched supply lines. Their carrier groups would be toast in weeks due to their total dependance on electronics and satellites. This effectively ends any cover that your amazing tanks would have. The US has made far to many enemies, Russia, most of the middle east, China and even support in Europe is waning. It’s the beginning of the end. Look at the fall of empires in history and it always begins with a over inflated ego, a delusional idea of self importance, too many enemies, 0 ability to… Read more »

enviropal99
Guest
enviropal99

That was the sentiment in 1941. Japan expected the US to surrender or at least just let Japan take over China. Look how that turned out.

Doug Retter
Guest
Doug Retter

…says Putin’s retarded, trained chimp. Bring it, silly boy!

Doug Retter
Guest
Doug Retter

With stupid people on the wrong side of the argument, shouldn’t be too hard.

JT
Guest
JT

I really don’t know why Russia is so paranoid about being invaded – Russia is like he ugly girl at the prom that no one wants to date. Trust me, no one is interested in invading or occupying that dump of a country.

Tierney Simmons
Guest
Tierney Simmons

I know some one in the white house has to know America is Babylon. ‘..’And if a war starts America will lose. Its already written. In the end of the bible the Russian bear is there. But the egal is not. Even the dragon ”The egal is America. Dragon china. Bear Russia. But the people will cry out oh great Babylon the great has fallen.’.. ‘So trump sends 56 cruse missils to Syria. Russia has now cut sky comunication increasing an accident in the sky’s. Why the runway is back up back running already! In less then 24hours .. Now… Read more »

enviropal99
Guest
enviropal99

If we want to destroy Russia all we need to do is drill all of the oil wells we can and become completely self sufficient in oil. The excess capacity worldwide caused by the additional US production will reduce the price of oil below $25.00 per barrel. Russia depends upon oil revenues to survive. With $25.00 oil Russia will make zero money and will have no money to spend on military equipment or even for importing food.

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

The Duran

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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