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Russia: Homicidal Maniacs With Delusions Of Grandeur And Selective Memories
   Next Article → ARTILLERY: The Future Gets Mugged By Reality
February 9, 2009: The global recession has hit Russia hard, so now the Russians are eager to have NATO and U.S. supplies (no explosives or weapons, though) shipped to Afghanistan via Russia. That means millions of dollars of much needed business for Russian railroads.

Another mutually beneficial financial deal with the West includes retiring more nuclear weapons. Russia wants to proceed with deals made in the last five years, that call for Russia and the U.S. dismantling most of their remaining nukes (each nation has about 6,000). Russia apparently wants the number reduced to a thousand, rather than the current 2,000. This would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year in maintenance and security costs.

The government has again warned neighboring countries (like Estonia and Ukraine) to stop being ungrateful for what Russia did for them during World War II. This is a long standing sore point. The Baltic Countries and Ukraine consider themselves forcibly made a part of the Soviet Union. All four nations contributed troops to the Nazi war effort against the Soviet Union. Although reviled in Russia and the West, these troops are local heroes, for having fought against the hated Russians (not for supporting the Nazis.) The Russians don't get it, ignoring the fact that Russian secret police and death camps killed millions of people from the Baltic States and Ukraine. Russia considers these dead to be criminals, while the countrymen of the victims consider Russians homicidal maniacs, with delusions of grandeur and selective memories.

Speaking of delusions, hundreds of Russian MiG-29 fighters remain grounded after one of these aircraft crashed last December 5th. The cause was structural failure (the tail separated, in flight, from the rest of the aircraft). The Russian Air Force has been investigating, but has not announced anything yet. It's believed that poor maintenance and a shortage of spare parts is the main cause.

It's gets worse. Russian arms exporters see sales to China falling up to 40 percent this year. The reason is partly the poor quality of Russian weapons, and partly Chinese theft of Russian technology to build their own versions of Russian weapons (complete with flaws, but the Chinese don't seem to mind as long as they save lots of money).

Russia is proposing a new treaty between itself and the West. The main idea is that the West would promise not to invade Russia, or mess with Russian internal affairs (which tend to get messy). Russia, in turn, would stop acting like a paranoid bully.

NATO has told Russia that it is not happy with the way Russia has absorbed two portions (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) of neighboring Georgia, and is building a military base in Abkhazia. Russia ignored the criticism. Meanwhile, Russia continues to have problems governing some of its border areas, that would rather be independent. Mainly, it's the Caucasus provinces of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. Long unstable because of clan and ethnic differences, the situation has been made worse by Russian economic mismanagement, and the appointment of corrupt provincial officials. The national government  has sent in special police units, but that has done nothing for the unemployment and corrupt officials that anger the locals the most. The violence (weekly assassinations and raids on police stations) is spreading to Moscow, where in one recent week, there were four Caucasus related murders. The northern Caucasus has been a headache like this, for centuries. No one has ever come up with a lasting solution.

Russia has restored aid to Cuba, but at only a tenth of the Soviet era largess (which amounted to over a billion dollars a year), which ended in the early 1990s (and had been declining through the 1980s). Russia is doing this mainly to annoy the United States.

January 28, 2009:  A DDOS attack coming from Russia, temporarily shut down Internet access in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. This was apparently the Russian government using its unofficial Cyber War militia to help shut down critics of a new cooperation deal between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Russia is paying Kyrgyzstan a bunch of money ($180 million in forgiven debts, a $150 million loan that doesn’t have to be paid back, and $2 billion that does) to follow the party (Russian) line, and shut down the American air base there.

January 27, 2009:  A Coast Guard patrol boat seized a Japanese fishing boat off the Pacific coast, in disputed waters. The ten man crew was arrested. It's been three years since Russia has done this, although the last time they also shot a Japanese fisherman. This time, the boat and crew were held for 11 days and then freed.

January 23, 2009: The sharp drop in raw materials prices (especially oil) has hit the Russian economy hard. The global recession has further depressed demand for Russian raw materials. Thus unemployment shot up by a million, to six million, in December. This has caused dozens of public demonstrations, which the police declared illegal, and the state controlled mass media ignored. Many people were arrested. But the Internet is not state controlled (despite attempts) and the word got around that the economy is not well all over. People blame the government, because the government has been taking over everything in sight, and there doesn't appear to be anyone else to blame. It is the governments fault, if only because government policy has made it difficult to make needed reforms (like rebuilding Soviet era infrastructure and obsolete factories). Instead, the government spent billions of dollars trying to prop up the stock market (which lost over 70 percent of its value last year.)

Next Article → ARTILLERY: The Future Gets Mugged By Reality
  
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jak267       2/9/2009 2:16:17 PM
Cold War II ended on January 20th, 2009 and we lost. Do you really think any country in Eastern Europe is going to trust OBie to come to their aid? Do you really think that any country in Western Europe is going to risk losing Russian oil and gas?
 
It took 45 years to win the first Cold War - it only took one clown and a 30-second swearing-in ceremony to lose the second.
 
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razputin       2/9/2009 3:06:17 PM
If "OBie" gives us (evil russkies) START II and the so called sphere of influence that includes georgia ukraine and the baltics then we can claim victory in round two in Cold War II ))
 
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Lance Blade       2/9/2009 7:48:58 PM

If "OBie" gives us (evil russkies) START II and the so called sphere of influence that includes georgia ukraine and the baltics then we can claim victory in round two in Cold War II ))
Ukraine and the Baltics can give us Ukraine and the Baltics. And they probably will, with time. What Russia wants with the Baltics though, I have no idea. They're a part of the European Union and their economies are in pieces. Nord Stream aside, where are Russian interests in the Baltics? It's the EU Russia needs to talk to now, not the Baltics.
 
As for Georgia, I can see a Turkey-Cyprus scenario going on there. In which case, nothing's gonna change for a long time. Also US needs Georgia. It's the best place to attack Iran from. 
 
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WarNerd       2/10/2009 4:58:14 AM

Also US needs Georgia. It's the best place to attack Iran from. 

Mind explaining this?  Georgia is over 200 miles from Iran at the closest point.
 
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RL_CA       2/10/2009 5:18:47 AM

 

I think the truth is that Russia doesn?t need Baltics or Ukraine. Crimea and Sevastopol (Black Sea Base) ? yes.

Crimea, Abhazia and Ossetia used to be Russian till they became part of Ukraine (Crimea) and Georgia (Abhazia, Ossetia). Abhazia and Ossetia have 90% russian population. Ukraine was part of Russia since 18th century. 

But Baltics and Ukraine have zero resources and no real GDP, mostly consumer population. Why would you want more population and no real GDP? Just need to feed more people.

Russia was fighting on its borders through all its history, well before US was learned about democracy. Russia mostly cares about trouble of some rogue activity near its borders. Alliance ? against whom if USSR and communism in Europe is gone? Radar on its borders against Iran?s ICBMs?      

Baltic states joined NATO, but their armies don?t have much by NATO standards, just paper membership. Ukraine tried to secure $5b loan from Russia recently. All that Russians may be interested in is pipelines and Sevastopol base, which Ukraine got as a gift when USSR fell apart in 1991. About Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO, USSR defense were not designed to counter threats on its borders. Russia ? Ukraine border essentially didn?t exist in USSR. It?s a lot of money to put systems (air defense, etc.) to cover Russia?s huge border. It?s probably the last thing Russia wants to spend money on.

       

 

 
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Lance Blade       2/10/2009 5:33:15 AM



Also US needs Georgia. It's the best place to attack Iran from. 



Mind explaining this?  Georgia is over 200 miles from Iran at the closest point.
But the mountainous terrain that lies between Georgia and Iran is perfect for an air strike. Iranian SAMs just won't see the incoming fighters. I admit I'm no expert, but it seems like a very good place to plant a base.
 
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WarNerd       2/10/2009 4:40:09 PM

But the mountainous terrain that lies between Georgia and Iran is perfect for an air strike. Iranian SAMs just won't see the incoming fighters. I admit I'm no expert, but it seems like a very good place to plant a base.
 
The extra distance will seriously limit the areas you can hit inside Iran and the bomb loads you can carry.
 
The mountain ranges run in the wrong directions.  The fighters will be crossing ridge lines which will make them easier to detect, not flying up the valleys between ridges to stay below the radar.
 
You will have to negotiate for the use of a flight path over at least one additional country to get to Iran.  This will seriously restrict the area Iran has to cover to spot incoming strikes.

 
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afrc       2/14/2009 9:51:10 AM


But the mountainous terrain that lies between Georgia and Iran is perfect for an air strike. Iranian SAMs just won't see the incoming fighters. I admit I'm no expert, but it seems like a very good place to plant a base.

The extra distance will seriously limit the areas you can hit inside Iran and the bomb loads you can carry.

The mountain ranges run in the wrong directions.  The fighters will be crossing ridge lines which will make them easier to detect, not flying up the valleys between ridges to stay below the radar.
 
You will have to negotiate for the use of a flight path over at least one additional country to get to Iran.  This will seriously restrict the area Iran has to cover to spot incoming strikes.

Pure and simple logistics and common sense. It is very likely (virtual certainty) that Middle East countries will not let US use their territory to strike Iran. It's also possible that many if not all of them will restrict air space. Then US will be out of options - they will have to fly from Europe and carriers to strike Iran. I am pretty sure that it's way more than 200 miles. If US persuades Georgia to let them establish a base then US can fly through Armenia (or Turkey) to strike, or cross Azerbaijan and strike from the Caspian Sea. It's about 100mi to the sea and Tehran is not that far away from the coast... and US can have air tankers above the sea to refuel the planes. My guess that Armenia (or Turkey) will freely open air space and Azerbaijan does not have a very tough air defense system to pass through. No need to use the mountains because US can mostly use stealth planes and UCAV's at least initially to clear out Iranian air defenses. One way or another it is a better option than Europe. Don't you think?
 
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willkill4rice       2/16/2009 11:27:28 AM
It's [sic] gets worse. Russian arms exporters see sales to China falling up to 40 percent this year. The reason is partly the poor quality of Russian weapons, and partly Chinese theft of Russian technology to build their own versions of Russian weapons (complete with flaws, but the Chinese don't seem to mind as long as they save lots of money).
 
Isnt it also largely because the Russians dont want the Chinese getting too cocky or capable? There's a lot of valuable stuff under the ice in the Russian Far East & Siberia that a lot of resource starved countries are eyeing.
 
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Alan Kellogg    Armenia on Who's Side?   2/16/2009 2:44:39 PM
In any war with Iran I'd sooner trust Azerbaijan. Here's why.
 
Russia will back Iran, Armenia will side with Russia. Azerbaijan is already having problems with Iran and Armenia, and is only getting any real help from the United States. And let's not forget Iraq.
 
Iraq sits next door to Iran. Iraq has caught Iranian agents working with and supplying terrorists and insurgents. Sadr's
militia got a lot of its support from Iran. The Iraqi military has gotten a lot better since we started rebuilding it. Don't be surprised when the Iraqi army shows itself far more capable than you think.
 
Scenario: The U.S. expands forces in Afghanistan. Iran expands their supply and training efforts for the Taliban. The U.S. captures Iranian supplies and personnel and exposes Iranian complicity. Iran denies the charges, lays counter charges, then further expands her efforts.

At the same time Iran increases her efforts in Iraq, leading to action by the Iraqi government. Baghdad starts pushing for a joint American-Iraqi invasion of Iran to halt Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs and overthrow the current Iranian government. The Iranians force the issue when a Revolutionary Guard unit intervenes in an Iraqi army sweep of insurgents in an Iraqi border province. The Iranians are soundly defeated and sent back across the border, with no American involvement. Iran screams bloody murder, Iraq prepares for war.
 
Iran falls to American forces attacking from Afghanistan, American and Iraqi forces invading from Iraq. Azerbaijan and Iranian rebels act in support.
 
 Now convince me that the Iranian government is not that incompetent.

 
 
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