Today’s Russian State of the Union speech, given by President Vladimir Putin, was perhaps the clearest indication ever that Russia is concerned about the behavior of the United States government. In blistering statements about the US Nuclear Posture Review for 2018, Putin noted the warmongering attitude of the United States, as the defense posture now calls for selected nuclear strikes for causes far less than a nuclear strike.
President Putin particularly pointed out the Review’s assertion that the US claimed the right to use nuclear weapons in the instance of a non-lethal attack, such as a cyber attack. In this, Putin is referring to a part of the Review cited in a New York Times piece that indicated a response to an attack on the nation’s power grid or communications grid. While the Americans have stated non-nuclear provocations that might bring a nuclear response before, this was a new one. Putin responded to this by noting that the US strategy is increasingly aggressive, and he flatly swore that Russia would never deploy a nuclear weapon against anyone unless it was also attacked by the use of one itself.
However, he also noted that Russia believes it is right to protect its own interests from outside agression.
We are greatly concerned by some parts of the new nuclear posture, which reduces the benchmark for the use of nuclear weapons. Whatever soothing words one may try to use behind closed doors, we can read what was written. And it says that these weapons can be used in response to a conventional attack or even a cyber-threat.
“Our nuclear doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons only in response to a nuclear attack or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against her or her allies, or a conventional attack against us that threatens the very existence of the state.
“It is my duty to state this: Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, be it small-scale, medium-scale or any other scale, will be treated as a nuclear attack on our country. The response will be instant and with all the relevant consequences…”
The summary statements provided by Russia Today during his speech give a summary of the President’s thoughts and steps taken about this subject:
Russia is developing strategic missiles in response to the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Putin said. Moscow objected to the US move, but Washington nevertheless went ahead. The ABM Treaty was insurance against a pre-emptive nuclear strike by either side. The US withdrawal in 2002 was a bad move, Putin said, but Russia sought ways to control the damage done by it. The US was unresponsive and all those attempts failed, Putin said.
The US arrogance stemmed from the losses this country suffered with the break-up of the Soviet Union, Putin said. Russia’s position in the 1990’s was so weak that the Americans didn’t believe it could recover anytime soon, so Washington decided to achieve total military superiority, which would allow it to dictate terms in other areas.
The US continues to develop its anti-ballistic missile capabilities, and this undermines the value of the nuclear reduction agreements, like the New START treaty. The US is working hard on its ability to intercept missiles.
Russia’s response to this threat was to develop new and better strategic weapons, with improved counter-measures that make them harder to intercept. Russia has also developed the new heavy ICBM known as Sarmat, which is to replace the aging missiles Russia currently has.
The capability of Sarmat was showcased in a video shown to the audience. The video showed that the missile can attack American territory not only from the north but also from the south, making it a better deterrent to American ambitions.”
There is little doubt that some elements of the American press will spin this story along two lines: that this is proof that Trump is in collusion with the Russians because he will not say anything about this, and also that the Russians are a threat to US interests because they have claimed the right to defend themselves. Both of these narrative attempts are not only wrong, they are absolutely irrational.
While Russia has proved herself a great power, and while she is already a nuclear superpower, the motive and intent of the use of this power is not at all towards expansion or invasion of any sovereign state. The Ukraine matter is not an invasion, nor is Syria. While Russian nationalism has become a very powerful unifying force in the country over the last several years, this nationalism is not about hegemony and conquest. Those two matters seem to be within the American purview, and the thoughts that President Putin referred to above explain some of the background of this.
In the United Nations General Assembly last fall, President Trump himself talked about the nation state as the single most successful form of government in the world. His vision of the UN was expressed as not a “world governing body”, but rather a “brotherhood of sovereign states working together.” His vision is clear and in a very refreshing manner, upholds the right for each nation to be who it is.
Vladimir Putin today said exactly the same thing. So the thing to consider is why is it okay if the American president says it, but not if the Russian one says the same thing. Further, Russia has no military forces interfering all over the world like the United States does. To date, at best Russian forces are operating in Syria and maybe as advisers in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway republics. But the US military is everywhere and in fact has been working steadily over the last several years in a protracted attempt to trap Russia and force her into some sort of submission to the West. And this motive appears to be for no more good purpose other than the domination of the world by the United States, but also the export of non-traditional views and life practices that the conservative Russian people are not interested in taking up again.
It is important to examine this issue honestly and see it for what it truly is. And then, it is important to act in such a way as to correct what is wrong. Right now, elements within the US government are drumming up hysteria over Russia, and there is no reason. If someone goes too far, this could create a shooting war for no reason. And once wars start, they tend not to stop. Since this one has no basis for being fought, all that would happen would surely be a massive loss of life, and for no reason at all.