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The Three Global Superpowers

While America thus spends itself into becoming increasingly a third-world country, China and Russia pursue different objectives.

Eric Zuesse

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There are currently three global superpowers, three nations that lead the world: China, Russia, and US.

After World War II, until recently, the US clearly dominated the world, not only culturally, with more influence over the world’s other cultures than any other single nation possessed, but also economically, with product-dominance throughout the world, and also militarily tied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and, then, after the Cold War, still possessing such military dominance, so that in 2006, America’s billionaires — as represented by the most-prestigious two agencies that represent their collective interests against the public, the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard University — were actively promoting, broadly amongst foreign-policy academics, the idea that the US should seek to occupy a position of such extreme military superiority over Russia, so that since 2006 the concept of “Nuclear Primacy” is reflected, by America’s power-centers, as being the correct goal for America, going forward, replacing the prior nuclear-strategic paradigm (since the 1950s) of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or “M.A.D.,” in which nuclear weapons were (and, by Russia, still are) seen as purely defensive strategic military assets between the two nuclear superpowers, weapons whose only actual purpose, for either country, is to ward off a WW III — no usefulness at all in an actual aggressive military context.

Thus, M.A.D. became replaced in America by Nuclear Primacy, nuclear weapons that are put in place to serve not only to ward off a nuclear attack, but also, ultimately, to win a nuclear war against the other nuclear super-power, Russia — nukes as aggressive weapons, by which the US will (it has been expected, ever since 2006) soon be able to demand, and to receive, Russia’s capitulation, surrender, or else Russia will be destroyed by a US nuclear first-strike, while US casualties, from any presumably few Russian weapons that might make it through this ABM-BMD shield, will be kept to an “acceptably low” level, by virtue of that then-functioning ABM-BMD system, combined with increases in US nuclear striking-power. This nuclear-primacy paradigm aims for America (its billionaires) to take over the entire world, including ultimately the world’s largest land-mass: Russia.

But, now, twelve years later, America’s presumed early lead in such ‘defensive’ strategic weaponry has become, instead, ever more clearly, just a figment of America’s military-industrial complex’s (MIC’s) fervid marketing-campaign for the development and sale of such weapons, ever since US President Ronald Reagan’s promised “Star Wars” program during the 1980s got the effort, toward a winnable nuclear war, started, as an alleged ‘defensive’ measure — not yet overtly the end of M.A.D.

Soon after Reagan, the Soviet Union, and its communism, and its Warsaw Pact counter to America’s NATO military alliance, all simultaneously ended, in 1991, as a consequence of which, the US military-industrial complex (MIC), and especially the large US manufacturers of nuclear-weapons systems, the companies that dominate the MIC, were becoming stranded, because the market for their costliest wares was now in limbo.

Though elimination of the Cold War wouldn’t have been an existential threat to these manufacturers, an end to the Cold War on the US side would have threatened the market-values of those US companies, which are controlled by US billionaires, who have lots of clout in Congress. Thus, though the Cold War ended in 1991 on the Russian side, it secretly continued on the US side (that is, amongst America’s super-wealthy, the people who control the US Government — the main market for the MIC); and America’s strategic switch, away from M.A.D. to Nuclear Primacy (so as to unshackle their market from the prior politically imposed demand to maintain a nuclear balance between the two sides), has been a significant part of this secret continuation, by America, of the Cold War, while Russia’s Government continued instead to think in terms of the M.A.D. paradigm. (Russia’s weapons-manufacturers are still owned by the Government — socialized — so, there’s no need to grow their ‘market value’.)

In a strictly capitalist country, weapons-manufacturing is a major area of investment for billionaires, whose fortunes there rise to the extent that governments are buying their planes and bombs and missiles, especially those of the most sophisticated types, which are strategic weaponry, such as nuclear systems, which are the most profitable ones of all. Growth-at-all-costs has meant (and means) that the MIC is a cancer upon the entire world. (Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, on 17 January 1961, understated the problem.)

Either the entire military will be a public entity, or else there will be (because of its privatized weapons-manufacturing) a tendency for the military to destroy everything else in order to continue to grow, like investors expect and demand — grow like cancer.

A major source of America’s decline was US President George W. Bush, who came into office in 2001 when the Cold War could no longer excite the American public as being a threat (since the Soviet Union and its communism and its military alliance were now long gone), and a new demon thus needed to be brought before the American people, as warranting increased ‘defense’ expenditures.

9/11 came along just in time to fill this interim lack of a cause de guerre, to attack now Al Qaeda and other (as today’s US President famously tags it) “radical Islamic terrorists.”However, America’s spending on strategic weaponry requires instead focus against the other nuclear super-power as being the ‘enemy’, and this is what the end of M.A.D. and the start of Nuclear Primacy (which is manna from heaven for the ‘Defense’ contractors) have been all about: re-defining ‘the enemy’, from being a country with which peace must be maintained (M.A.D.), to becoming instead a country that should be outright conquered. And, amongst the lies which are necessary in order to sustain this switch (from M.A.D. to Nuclear Primacy), is the lie that ABMs have no aggressive function, but are ‘purely for defense’.

This lie will enable the public to accept the spending of trillions of dollars of federal money on weapons whose sole real use will be conquering Russia — or, at least, the attempt to do so.

Nobody makes public the identities of the individuals, in the US and in its allied countries, who comprise the suddenly booming market for luxurious nuclear-proof deep-underground bunkers. But whomever these owners are, three things about them are obvious: they’ve got lots of money; they think that the prospect of a nuclear war is very real — worth their pre-paying for suitably luxurious long-term temporary accommodations deep underground; and they aren’t themselves one of the high government officials for whom the government’s taxpayers have already built such bunkers. (Or, perhaps, some of them do belong to the last of those three categories, but they’ve got so much extra money that they can easily afford to pay for more luxurious quarters than the taxpayers have already supplied them with.)

Quite similar to Donald Trump, but far more overtly faith-based than the hyper-secular former Miss Universe Pageant owner Trump, George W. Bush had a confidence like the Taliban and Al Qaeda do, that “God is on our side”, and so Bush acted as if he had no reason to test-out America’s ABM weapons before ordering and buying them (at the public taxpayer’s expense, and private billionaires’ profits, of course). Or, perhaps alternatively, Bush didn’t even care whether these weapons would work, but only whether the owners of the companies that would be manufacturing them would be satisfied with their profits, from the decisions that he was making, which so powerfully affected their profits.

In any case, Bush’s focus on rushing forward with a US ABM system demonstrated his strong commitment to the replacement of M.A.D., by Nuclear Primacy. The whole idea of Nuclear Primacy rests upon there being an effective US ABM system installed so as to make the enemy’s retaliatory weapons ineffective. Bush pushed the ABM into production even before there was any indication that it would work. He did this even before the very concept of “Nuclear Primacy” was publicly introduced by the two chief agents for America’s aristocracy in 2006. What Harvard and the CFR promoted, was already the Government’s policy. While there were criticisms of Bush’s execution of the plan, there was no significant scholarly opposition against the Nuclear Primacy concept itself.

All subject-areas of expertise (and this refers to scientists, not to scholars) despised the religious faith-based President George W. Bush, much like they despise the secular faith-based President Donald Trump. For example, everyone knows that Trump has great difficulty finding experts who are willing to serve in his Administration. Similarly, in the October 2004 “Poll of Academic Economists” by the Economist, 59% of them answered “no” when asked “If you had a chance to work in a policy job in Washington, would you take it?” And when queried “For whom would you rather work?” Bush or his then electoral opponent Senator John Kerry, 81% chose Kerry — notwithstanding that, as a predominantly conservative lot, the economists did like one thing about George W. Bush: “Outsourcing of jobs overseas,” which 86% of them rated to be either good or very good. (Of course, Trump claims to oppose that; so, in this regard, he’s even less acceptable to economists than Bush was.)

Under Bush, experts were even trying, with no success, to inform this conservative faith-based President about areas in the federal budget where substantial funds were being simply wasted, but his blind faith caused him to ignore such scientific warnings, and enormous federal waste resulted.

For example, the science reporter William Broad headlined in The New York Times on 24 September 2003, “Report Sees Risks in Push for Missile Defense”, and opened, “The Bush administration’s push to deploy a $22 billion missile defense system by this time next year could lead to unforeseen cost increases and technical failures that will have to be fixed before it can hope to stop enemy warheads, Congressional investigators said yesterday.

The General Accounting Office, in a 40-page report, said the Pentagon was combining 10 crucial technologies into a missile defense system without knowing if they can handle the task [and subsequently the same thing happened in order to produce the scandalously overpriced and insanely multi-functional F-35 jets], often described as trying to hit a bullet with a bullet.”

The article quoted a former Pentagon weapons testing chief, who said that to deploy such an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system just a year hence as planned, would be to deploy “no more than a scarecrow, not a real defense” — in other words, a system that would almost certainly fail in any actual use — because so many parts of the system wouldn’t have been tested sufficiently to be designed functionally that soon.

The prior (Bill Clinton) Administration, more attentive to such concerns, had established a schedule for testing the various parts of this complex system prior to any possible deployment. However, one of G.W. Bush’s first actions coming into office was to deploy an ABM system, even if it might not work, and to do the testing afterward. Bush, it seems, possessed the faith that if science were to fail to supply the system’s functionality, then God would certainly do so, for the benefit of “God’s People.”

Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post thus headlined on 26 April 2004, “Dubious Threat, Expensive Defense” and closed: “Bush would spend twice as much on missile defense as on customs and border protection,” yet gain only “a rudimentary and uncertain defense against an unlikely long-range missile attack.” Diehl opined that, despite the transformed defense needs after 9/11, “The president who never admits error will stay the course.”

Bush did stay the course: by the time of 14 February 2005, as The New York Times reported the next day, “The nation’s fledgling missile defense system suffered its third straight test failure.” Commented one scientist there, “It’s as if Henry Ford started up his automobile production line and began selling cars without ever taking one for a test drive.” But not quite: Bush had now taken his third ‘test drive’ — and all three failed.

On 4 April 2005, the AP reported, “Congress is weighing how much to invest in the fledgling ballistic missile defense system, which has suffered setbacks and whose cost could easily top the $150 billion partial price tag the Bush administration has estimated.” Some congressional proponents of the ABM system were even quoted as saying that it had to be deployed in order to prevent future terrorist attacks, such as had occurred on 9/11.

Of course, that allegation is absurd — 9/11 couldn’t have been stopped by an anti-missile defense system. But members of Congress aren’s so stupid as not to know this. That allegation was probably just a marketing-ploy sponsored in back-rooms by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, who might reflect their satisfaction with the statement, by donating to the ‘appropriate’ PACS.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress were financially shortchanging many of the nation’s authentic anti-terrorist needs. This $150 billion+ could have gone a long way toward achieving real protection (and/or toward serving non-defense needs), if it had been scientifically allocated.

Were Al Qaeda to have been voting directly in the US Congress, the ABM system would have had an easier time passing unchanged, exactly as Bush wanted. Al Qaeda would have been fervent Republicans — they were just as religious, and just as faith-obsessed, though in a different ‘inerrant Scripture’. If Donald Trump has faith in any ‘inerrant Scripture’, nobody knows what it is. But, he seems to have lots of faith in himself, even if experts in the respective subject-fields don’t.

By the present time, the failure of America’s entire ABM-BMD gamble — which was started under Reagan, begun being operationalized under G.W. Bush, and finally being installed by Barack Obama and now under Trump — is painfully clear. But success was never its actual goal: restoring the government’s growth in ‘defense’ spending (even while cutting now the government’s non-‘defense’ spending) is its real purpose.

Those billionaires and centi-millionaires must be served, or else Congress-members will lose their seats to well-funded competitors in their own Party’s next primary. The system succeeds marvelously at doing what it’s intended to do: to serve the people who buy the Government — to serve the actual patrons of this ‘democracy’. Instead of being a democracy, it’s a government that’s bought and sold.

While America thus spends itself into becoming increasingly a third-world country, China and Russia pursue different objectives. Specifically in the case of Russia, its military spending is one-tenth of America’s, but, because Russia cannot afford to allow billionaires’ demands for private profit to constitute the incentive-system that drives the Russian Government’s military decisions, Russia has gone militarily from strength to strength, while post-WW-II America (spending ten times as much) has gone from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria, and yet America’s ‘news’ media have cheered all of these evil billionaires’ invasions of those countries we wrecked, as if companies such as General Dynamics owned companies such as the Washington Post, and thus (with all that propaganda) the American public continue to respect America’s military higher than any other US institution — despite such a long string of military failures by this country, despite spending ten times what Russia does on its military, and despite America’s military being the most corrupt part of the US federal Government.

But, actually, America’s military spending is probably much higher than just ten times Russia’s, because America’s official figures — what SIPRI and others use, which is just the ‘Defense’ Department — excludes much of America’s military expenses, as a consequence of which, America’s official $617.1 billion FY 2019 expenditure for the Department of ‘Defense’ masks an actual annual military expense of $1,135.7 billion. That’s $1.36 trillion per year, to do things such as destroy Afghanistan, destroy Iraq, destroy Syria, destroy Libya, perpetrate coups such as in Ukraine, assist coups such as in Honduras, etc.

But even that’s not the total ‘defense’ expenditure which taxpayers have bought for the billionaires, because, throughout its existence, the US CIA has been getting unrecorded off-the-books billions from the international narcotics trade, starting in 1948, when it perpetrated a coup in Thailand and installed there a brutal regime that helped establish the CIA’s off-the-books funding-system, as I had mentioned in a prior article, where I discussed US relations with Syria, in broader histrical context,

starting in 1949, when the US CIA, under President Harry S. Truman, did its second coup d’etat, overthrowing a democratically elected progressive Government (the first having been Thailand 1948, where the CIA had installed an extremely barbaric dictator replacing the democratically elected government that had been headed by a staunch anti-fascist, and simultaneously set up the CIA’s off-the-books supplementary funding mechanism from the international narcotics-trade — a CIA practice which has continued till perhaps the present; and, furthermore, the infamous Nugan-Hand affair, which involved Thailand, definitely involved the CIA’s Michael Hand and William Colby; so, clearly, the CIA is funded off-the-books from the narcotics business, and America’s anti-narcotics laws thus are actually keeping narcotics-drug prices and resultant burglaries and CIA profits artificially high, funneling that illicit money into CIA coffers; and any method to defund the CIA down to its core intelligence-gathering function and to eliminate its coup-function, which is the function that took control in Thailand and Syria and then Iran and many more, would need to regulate — instead of to continue outlawing — drugs, which might be the main reason why it hasn’t yet been done: illegal drugs provide wealth to the CIA and other gang-lords, including some US Government officials).

Another significant milestone in the development of the American elite’s plan to conquer Russia has been the overwhelming — more than 90% of the votes in both the US Senate and House — support for the imposition in 2012 of economic sanctions against Russia, to punish the Russian Government for the alleged 2009 murder of one alleged anti-corruption whistleblower in a Russian prison, Sergei Magnitsky — the Magnitsky Act was passed, and was the first set of economic sanctions against Russia. (The evidence that Magnitsky had been a ‘whistleblower’, and the evidence that he was ‘tortured’ in prison, and the evidence that he wasn’t instead the American Bill Browder’s tax-accountant who had helped Browder in a complex tax-evasion scheme that had defrauded the Russian Government of $232 million, are all themselves fraudulent, and even are easily verified as being fraudulent, but both the US Government, and the EU, ignored and continue to ignore all of it.)

In order to have a ‘justification’ to attack Russia, an excuse is needed; and, since the ideological one — communism — ended in 1991, Russia needs to be at least a ‘dictatorship’; so, something such as the Magnitsky Act was necessary in order to get the military-industrial complex’a (MIC’s) PR ball rolling toward even-higher annual US ’defense’ spending. However, that excuse, being a ‘dictatorship’ (with elections that are at least as honest as America’s are), isn’t enough.

Russia also needs to be officially declared to be an ‘aggressor’ — an aggressive dictatorship — such as to have grabbed portions of its adjoining country, Ukraine. So, America’s Obama regime secretly started in 2011 planning, and then in February 2014 it carried out, a coup against and overthrowing the democratically elected and Russia-friendly Government of Ukraine, and installed there a fascist regime to replace the one that had received 75% of the vote in the Crimean region of Ukraine, and 90% of the vote in the Donbass region of Ukraine, so that both regions refused to be ruled by the Obama-installed rabidly anti-Russian Ukrainian regime, and Russia helped both of those two separatist regions on its borders, and even protected and accepted Crimea’s referendum-vote of over 90% to rejoin Russia, of which Crimea had historically been a part until the Soviet dictator in 1954 arbitrarily transferred it to Ukraine.

So, now, the US MIC has the excuses it wants, in order to place — and thus did place — its weapons and troops onto and near Russia’s borders, just a ten-minute missile flight-time to Moscow.

This plan is moving forward, but nobody can yet say whether, or even when, the US regime will invade. However, the US regime and its NATO allies now also have the excuses that Russia has been holding ‘aggressive’ military exercises near its borders ‘threatening’ NATO countries on its border that might invade Russia, and Western ‘news’ media have alarmed their publics against Russia’s ‘aggressive’ moves after its having ‘stolen’ Crimea and ‘attacked’ Ukraine in Donbass. And then there is yet more Russian ‘aggression’ when Syria requested and received Russia’s military assistance against the US-backed jihadists who, since 2012, have poured, by the tens of thousands, from around the world, into Syria, to be led by the US-backed Al Qaeda there, to overthrow the Syrian Government, which is allied with Russia.

So, that too (the Syrian war) could produce a war between the US and Russia; it could start over Syrian territory, where the US insists on regime-change, but claims only to be ‘fighting terrorists’ there. Of course, regardless of whether the invader of Syria (the US), or else the defender of Syria (Russia), wins, the loser in Syria, especially if it turns out to be the US invader (i.e., if Syria remains one country instead of breaking apart, and if Assad becomes re-elected as President there), could then use that superpower-defeat in Syria, as constituting an excuse to invade the winning superpower there. This would be WW III, starting in Syria, instead of in Ukraine. The US regime has set up those two scenarios.

1984 has come in the real world, but the declining and former leading superpower, America (“Oceania” in George Orwell’s uncannily prophetic description of the future that he prematurely set to occur in 1984), is apparently determined to stay ‘on top’, even if it’s the last thing that anybody does. Can it really be that if the world of the future won’t be led by America’s billionaires, then it won’t exist at all? Do they really demand “My way, or the highway” — really? Are America’s billionaires (despite any ‘humanitarian’ pretenses they individually so often hypocritically express, both in the fictionalized and in the real version) so stunningly united in their actual psychopathy (likewise in both versions — “Big Brother,” and today’s reality)? Thus far, it seems that they are.

None of them — not a one of these people who have the financial resources to bring the world’s most pressing issue honestly to the American public — is speaking out against the others on it, and devoting major funds to exposing the others for their pumping lies against Russia, and to exposing the truths about such things as ABMs and the MIC. And collectively they’ve got the American public fooled into admiring the MIC (“the Military”) above all other US institutions. But whether America’s billionaires will carry their collective evil to the extreme, isn’t yet clear. They are the actual decision-makers regarding US Government policy, but they are playing their cards — as usual — privately and secretly, until their game (whatever it may turn out to be) will already be finished.

Meanwhile, Russia and China each proceeds forward on its own priorities, which aren’t necessarily similar to those of the conquest-obsessed American Government.

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Russia makes MASSIVE progress on its ‘super-weapons’

Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle moves into serial production, nuclear-engine powered cruise missile tests continue, and more as Russia continues to outdo all Western military tech

Seraphim Hanisch

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On July 19th and 20th, The Russian Defense Ministry announced several milestones of progress in its advanced weapons systems programs. These programs were revealed to the world in March of this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the State of the Russian Federation speech.

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While at first the Western onlookers did not believe the amazing announcements of hypersonic weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range, subsequent releases and concurrent observation by the American military experts has shown these developments to be as real as Mr. Putin claimed they are.

TASS, the Russian News Agency, released information on these weapons systems in separate reports:

Kinzhal

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile:

Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

“I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words – at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten,” Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a “good instrument” against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

“We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely,” the expert said.

Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile trials:

The Burevestnik is an entirely new cruise missile, powered by a nuclear engine. This gives the missile unlimited range. In theory, such a missile could be launched at a target and spend days or weeks in hidden flight using advanced guidance systems, and then close on its target at the optimal time to assure destruction of that target with maximum surprise. The TASS piece goes on to say:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile “has already made a flight.”

“Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat – a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general,” [Murakhovsky] said.

Further reporting from TASS had this to add about the Burevestnik program:

Russia is getting ready for flight tests of the Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile, an official at the Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

“The missile’s component makeup is being improved based on clarified requirements, while ground tests continue and preparations are being made for experimental flight tests of the improved missile,” the official said.

According to the Defense Ministry, “work on an unlimited-range missile is going according to plan.”

“In the meantime, launching systems are also being designed, while technological processes to manufacture, assemble and test the missile are being improved. This range of work will make it possible to start designing a totally new sort of weapon – a strategic nuclear complex armed with a nuclear powered missile,” the ministry official noted.

[The head] of the 12th Central Research Institute at Russia’s Defense Ministry Sergey Pertsev, in turn, said that the tests of the new cruise missile equipped with a small nuclear power unit had confirmed the accuracy of the technical decisions that Russian researchers, engineers and designers had made. In addition, the tests enabled the researchers “to receive valuable experimental data necessary for specifying a number of requirements.”

“A low-flying and low-observable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable trajectory and capability to bypass interception lines is invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems,” the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.

A further use of the nuclear engine technology is also expected in the Poseidon underwater drone, Mr. Murakhovsky stated that separate systems for the craft have been successfully tested. He further noted that the next task is to design the entire layout, build a test model and begin testing the whole platform.

The Avangard Hypersonic Missile

While the Kinzhal is a Mach-10 capable hypersonic system that can be launched from a fighter, the Avangard is a Mach-20 capable system that has intercontinental reach. There is almost no footage of this system released to the public, but the concept videos show how the system works. TASS reports this status:

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force is preparing a position area for accepting the Avangard hypersonic missile system for service as part of the efforts to strengthen the country’s military security, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Russian defense industry has completed developing the Avangard missile system with the principally new armament – the gliding cruise warhead. Industrial enterprises have switched to its serial production,” the Defense Ministry said.

“A set of organizational and technical measures is underway in the position area of the Dombarovsky large unit of the Strategic Missile Force to accept the Avangard missile system for operation,” it added.

The development of new strategic weapon systems “is aimed at increasing Russia’s defense capability and preventing any aggression against our country and its allies,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

The infrastructural facilities of the large unit’s position area have already been prepared for the missile system’s operation, the ministry said.

“The position area has been prepared in geodesic and engineering terms to accommodate the missile system. Work is underway to build new and reconstruct old facilities to provide for the operation and the combat use of the system. Technical and utility supply lines are being modernized and electric power, communications and command and control cables are being laid. Work has been arranged to train personnel and prepare armament, military and special hardware,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force for Armament Sergei Poroskun has said that the Avangard hypersonic missile system features combat capabilities that “make it possible to reliably breach any anti-missile defenses.”

The Okhotnik attack drone

The Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone is now being viewed as a prototype for Russia’s “sixth-generation” fighter plane. TASS describes this in more detail:

According to [a defense industry] official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”

“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”

“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he said.

TASS was unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.

Another defense industry source earlier told TASS that the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter) was ready and would start test flights this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014. According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were used to create the Okhotnik. The drone is equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.

Peresvet laser weapons systems

TASS reported that the Russian military forces are now training for the use of the Peresvet combat laser system:

Russian Aerospace Force has accepted for service the laser complexes Peresvet and the military are now taking drills that involve the novel combat technologies, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Peresvet laser complexes have been placed at sites of permanent deployment,” the report said. “Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”

“To ensure their proper functioning, the necessary infrastructures and specialized facilities for housing the complexes and duty crews have been built,” the ministry said.

The crews assigned to the Peresvets have taken upgrader courses at the Alexander Mozhaisky Military-Space Academy in St Petersburg.

The Russian military strategy of “asymmetric response.”

The overall defense strategy is termed an “asymmetric response”, and Mr. Murakhovsky explained the principle in this way:

“This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future],” he said.

The expert described this response as “quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment – all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program.”

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

“The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all,” Murakhovsky added.

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From McCain to Brennan, Deep State soft coup against Trump picks up steam (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 59.

Alex Christoforou

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After Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki, the Deep State smells blood, and is moving quickly to depose of US President Donald Trump.

Government officials and mainstream media puppets from left and right are condemning the US President over his press conference with Vladimir Putin.

Leading the charge are the usual Deep State, suspects, starting with John McCain and ending with the man many believe is behind the entire Trump-Russia collusion hoax, former Obama CIA boss John Brennan.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine the soft coup aimed at removing US President Trump by the November 2018 midterms. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via The Independent

Conservative John McCain, who is facing a rare and terminal brain cancer, unleashed a damning statement against Mr Trump’s conference with Mr Putin, describing it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” he said.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout — as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realise his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbours, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.”

The conservative senator’s comments arrived after the US president declined to name Russia as the adversary behind coordinated attacks on the 2016 presidential election.

While discussing whether he thought Russia was behind hacks against the 2016 election — as the US intelligence community has determined —the president said: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

“Dan Coats [the US Director of National Intelligence] said its Russia. President Putin says its not Russia,” said Mr Trump. “I don’t know why it would be…..I have confidence in both parties. President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

That set off a wave of condemnations from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“President Trump’s press conference with Putin was an embarrassing spectacle,” Bernie Sanders wrote in a tweet. “Rather than make clear that interference in our elections is unacceptable, Trump instead accepted Putin’s denials and cast doubt on the conclusions of our intelligence community. This is not normal.”

Jeff Flake, one of the only frequent Republican critics of Mr Trump in Congress, said the conference was “shameful” in a statement he posted across social media.

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression,” he said. “This is shameful.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan released a statement calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment and describing his comments as “treasonous”.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours,'” Mr Brennan wrote on Twitter. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Elizabeth Warren also slammed the president for failing to hold Mr Putin accountable, writing on Twitter: “Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded.”

“Disgraceful,” she concluded.

However, Mr Trump’s typical roster of critics weren’t the only legislators rebuking his bizarre denials of US intelligence. Lindsey Graham also criticised Mr Trump’s performance, adding that his denial of US intelligence will “be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves”.

“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections,” he said.

The Republican senator added a suggestion to Mr Trump: review the soccer ball Mr Putin gave to him as a gift for “listening devices” and “never allow it in the White House.”

Thomas Pickering, a regarded statesman and the former US ambassador to Russia, told MSNBC that he was in utter disbelief after the press conference was held on Monday.

“It’s a breathtaking denial of something that clearly is so obviously true,” he said. ”it represents the epitome of President Trump’s effort at self-promotion over the notion of defending the national interest of the United States.”

Mark Warner, a Virginia senator, also suggested Mr Trump committed a clear violation of his responsibilities as president.

Mr Trump committed “a breach of his duty to defend our country against its adversaries,” Mr Warner said. ”If the President cannot defend the United States and its interests in public, how can we trust him to stand up for our country in private?”

Meanwhile the latest Deep State leak, via the NYT, claims that US President Trump was told by Obama holdovers that Putin was involved in cyberattacks during the 2016 election. US intelligence told Trump this information days before the inauguration.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The same liberal hacks who illegally leaked this information want Americans to trust them as they continue to destroy this duly elected president.

President Trump on Wednesday told CBS anchor Jeff Glor that he has no confidence in the tainted intelligence by far left hacks Clapper, Brennan and Comey.

And, once again, the timing of this leak is not an accident.

Liberals are outraged that President Trump refused to chest bump Putin in Helsinki.

The deep state leaked this information to pile on the Republican president.

The New York Times reported…

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

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Russia ranks HIGHER than Switzerland in these areas of doing business

Some curious things happened with several businesspeople who attended World Cup events in Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

One of them was a distinctly renewed interest in doing business inside the country, and another was the realization to what extent perceptions have been tainted by media and political rhetoric directed against any real or imagined nastiness attributed to Russia these days.

These past few weeks have been invaluable, at the very least by affording a clear picture of Russia through which almost all anxiety-ridden preconceptions were illuminated and dispelled. More disturbing was the fact that the several businesspeople I was dealing with were furious. They were livid for being played for fools, and felt victimized by the dismally untrue picture painted about Russia and Russians in their home countries, both by their own politicians and the press.

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Most felt that they have been personally sanctioned by their own countries, betrayed through lack of clear unbiased information enabling them to participate and profit from Russia opportunities these past three growth years in spite of “sanctions”.

The door to doing good business in Russia has been and is open, and has been opening wider year after year. That is not just “highly likely”, but fact. Consistently improving structures, means and methods to conduct business in Russia sustainably, transparently and profitably are now part of the country’s DNA. It is a process, which has been worked on in the west for more than a century, and one, which Russia has only started these past 18 years.

True, there are sanctions, counter-sanctions, and regulations governing them that must be studied carefully. However if you are not a bank or doing business with those persons deemed worthy of being blacklisted by some countries “sanctions list”, in reality there are no obstacles that cannot be positively addressed and legally overcome despite the choir of political nay-sayers.

READ MORE: Russia just dumped $80 BILLION in US debt

The days of quickly turning over Russia opportunities into short-term cash are rapidly fading, they are a throwback to the 1990’s. Today the major and open opportunities are in the areas for Foreign Direct Investments. The nature of FDI is long term to make regularly recurring sustainable returns on investment.

Long term, Russia always was and increasingly confirms that it is a vibrant and attractive market. There is a significant consumer market with spending power, a well-educated workforce, a wealth of resources and the list goes on. The economic obstacles encountered have largely been imposed from without, and not from the dynamics and energies of the Russian economy itself.

Eventually sanctions will end, although the timeline is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile business continues, and any long-term engagement within Russia by establishing a working presence will yield both short and long-term investment rewards. These will only be amplified when the sanctions regimes are removed. In any event, these aspects are long-term investment decisions and one of the criteria in any risk assessment.

For some added perspective, Russia is ranked by the Financial Times as the No.2 country in Europe in terms of capital investments into Europe. It has a 2017 market share of 9% (US$ 15.9 billion) and includes 203 business projects. This is 2% higher than 2016 and better that 2014/2015 when sanctions were imposed.

Another item of perspective is the Country Risk Premium. All investors consider this when calculating the scope for long-term return on investments. What may surprise some is that Russia is no longer ranked as a very high-risk country. For comparisons sake: The risk premium for Germany is zero (no extra risk), the risk premium for Italy is 2.19%, and for Russia, it is 2.54%. When compared to politically popular investment destinations like Ukraine the risk premium is 10.4%  – food for thought. Bottom line is that the risks of investing in Russia are a smidge higher than investing in Italy.

Russia is ranked 35 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The ranking of Russia improved to 35 in 2017 from 40 in 2016 and from 124 in 2010. It may also surprise some to learn that as concerns protecting the rights of minority investors, paying taxes, registering property and some other aspects of the World Bank comparisons, Russia comes out better than Switzerland (See: Rankings).

From operational standpoints, establishing an invested presence in Russia does not mean one must adopt Russian managerial methods or practices. The advantages for established foreign companies is that their management culture is readily applied and absorbed by a smart and willing workforce, enabling a seamless integration given the right training and tools.

The trend towards the ultimate globalization of business despite trade wars, tariffs, sanctions and counter-sanctions is clear. The internet of the planet, the blockchain and speed of information exchange makes it so whether we wish it or not. Personally, I hope that political globalization remains stillborn as geopolitics has a historical mandate to tinker with and play havoc with international trade.

Russia occupies a key strategic position between Europe and Asia. The “west” (US/Europe) have long had at times rather turbulent relationships with China. At the same time the Chinese are quite active investors in both the US and Europe, and western companies are often struggling to understand how to deal with China.

The answer to this conundrum is Russia: this is where East and West will ultimately come together with Russia playing a pivotal role in the relations between the west and China. At the end of the day, and taking the strategic long-term economic view, is what both Chinese and Western companies are investing in when they open their activities in Russia.

If long-term commitment and investment in Russia were simply a matter of transferring funds then I would not be bothering with this opinion article. Without a doubt, there are structural issues with investing in Russia. A still evolving and sometimes unclear rule of law, difficulties obtaining finance for investments directed towards Russia, the unique language and culture of business in the country. Nevertheless, companies that have an understanding and vision of global strategy will manage with these issues and have the means to mitigate them.

Money and other invested resources do not and should not play politics; any investment case when evaluated on objective financial criteria will reveal its fit, or lack of, within a company’s global strategic business objectives. The objective criteria for Russia over any long term horizon is both convincing and strong. This has been repeated by all of the businesspeople I have met with these past few weeks. Without doubt we shall see some new companies coming into the Russian market and objectively exploring the gains their playing fair business football here will yield.

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