23 December, 2018

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

Rusty museum antiques or the Star War’s Death Star?

Remember what happened when the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier sailed around Europe to reach the eastern Mediterranean?  NATO leaders were making fun of the black smoke coming out of the ship’s engine while at the same time shadowing the Kuznetsov as if it was the Death Star from the Star Wars series and as if it’s final goal was to obliterate the British Isles.  Frankly, this is nothing new.  Even during the Cold War, western propagandists liked to dismiss all Soviet weapons systems as junk while at the same time declaring that they were the terrifying weapons of a Mordor-like Evil Empire set to destroy the Entire Free World.  This time around, we are seeing exactly the same pattern yet again:
NATO is busy intercepting “museum pieces”
The US Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker declared that these aircraft were so old that they were “museum pieces.”
Mike Pompeo (who makes even Nikki Haley look almost smart and almost sweet!) angrily declared that this was a case of “two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.”
Diego Moya-Ocampos, a senior analyst for IHS Markit Ltd, a London-based global information provider, declared that “This is Russia trying to force the U.S. to say, ‘listen if you withdraw from this and if you make these moves in Europe, we will make these moves as well.'” He also added that a “Russian base would represent a much larger investment in Venezuela than Russia has signaled it’s willing to make, as well as a larger provocation to the United States.”
There is so much military illiteracy in the AngloZionist Empire that, once again, I decided to engage in some much needed LikBez to try to set the record straight.
First, the basics: the Tu-160 is, indeed, a supersonic heavy strategic bomber, meaning that they have the speed and range to strike targets at long distance (how far depends on the load, the availability of in-flight refueling and flight profile; usually a max range of 12’000km is quoted). While the Tu-160 can carry regular (“dumb”) bombs, it’s primary weapons are cruise missiles, specifically six Raduga Kh-55SM/101/102/555 missiles or twelve AS-16 Kickbackmissiles. The former has a range of about 4,500–5,000–5,500 km (2,800–3,100–3,400 mi; some sources even claim as much as 10,000 km (6,200 mi) range with a flight endurance of 10 hours. The AS-16 is a short range weapon with a range of 300 km (160 nmi) which can fly at 40,000 m (130,000 ft) and then dive at a speed of Mach 5. Both of these missiles have a low radar cross-section, advanced guidance (including terminal), onboard electronic warfare kit and maneuvering capabilities. Finally, these missiles exist in various variants including conventional, nuclear and anti-ship. The first conclusion, these figures suggest, is that Russia does not need to send her bombers anywhere near the USA to deliver a powerful conventional or nuclear strike: with a range anywhere between 4500km and 10000km the main missile armament of the Tu-160 does not require this bomber to be anywhere near the target at the moment of launch of the missile.  Instead of attacking from Venezuela, the Tu-160 can fire its missiles from over the polar cap and still strike the continental USA.
This is true for bombers, but this is even more true of ship or submarine-based ballistic and cruise missiles.
Second, this is hardly the first time the Russian military paid a visit to Venezuela: Russian Aerospace bombers visited the country in 2013, and Russian Navy ships did so in 2008. Nothing happened then, and nothing happened now.
I will admit, this is a scary looking “strateg” (as these supersonic heavy strategic bombers are called by their crews)
So what’s all the hysterics all about?
I think that this is all about internal US politics and, shall we say, “information management”: every time the Russian military visits Venezuela, the US public comes dangerously close to finding out three things the Neocons and their Deep State desperately want to keep a secret from the US public:
  1. The US mainland is completely undefended for the very simple reason that (almost!) nobody is threatening it.
  2. Russia has the means to deliver conventional and nuclear strikes anywhere in the USA.
  3. We have never been as close to a full-scale conventional and nuclear war as we are today.
Let’s look at each one of these statements one by one.

The USA is totally undefended because nobody threatens it.

True, Russia and (to a lesser degree) China, can strike the USA.  But since they could only do that at the cost of a terrible counter-strike by US conventional and nuclear forces, US force planners and analysts are pretty darn confident that neither Russia nor China will initiate such a strike.  Besides, unlike the AngloZionist Empire, neither the Soviet Union nor Russia has ever planned for an attack on the US or Europe.
[Sidebar: quick reminder for the believers in “western values” – this is what the wonderful western allies had in store for the Soviet Union by the end of WWII:
Plan Totality (1945): earmarked 20 Soviet cities for obliteration in a first strike: Moscow, Gorki, Kuybyshev, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Saratov, Kazan, Leningrad, Baku, Tashkent, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Tagil, Magnitogorsk, Molotov, Tbilisi, Stalinsk, Grozny, Irkutsk, and Yaroslavl.
Operation Unthinkable (1945) assumed a surprise attack by up to 47 British and American divisions in the area of Dresden, in the middle of Soviet lines. This represented almost half of roughly 100 divisions (ca. 2.5 million men) available to the British, American and Canadian headquarters at that time. (…) The majority of any offensive operation would have been undertaken by American and British forces, as well as Polish forces and up to 100,000 German Wehrmacht soldiers.
Operation Dropshot (1949): included mission profiles that would have used 300 nuclear bombs and 29,000 high-explosive bombs on 200 targets in 100 cities and towns to wipe out 85% of the Soviet Union’s industrial potential at a single stroke. Between 75 and 100 of the 300 nuclear weapons were targeted to destroy Soviet combat aircraft on the ground.
But the biggest proof is, I think, the fact that none of these plans was executed, even though at the time the Anglosphere was safely hidden behind its monopoly on nuclear weapons (and were Hiroshima and Nagasaki not destroyed in part to “scare the Russians”?) See here for more details]
However, if the people of the USA realize that they don’t have any credible enemy, they might wonder why their country spends more on “defense” than the rest of the planet combined.  They might even get angrier if they came to realize that even though their country spends more on “defense” than the rest of the planet combined, they remain entirely unprotected.

Russia can wipe out the United States

During the Cold War, the vast majority of US Americans knew that the USSR could wipe out the USA in a massive nuclear strike. However, since the end of the Cold War, this fact has been somewhat pushed back away from the awareness of most US decision makers (hence their frankly suicidal rhetoric and policies).  Nowadays the big difference with the Cold War is that Russia can strike anywhere inside the United States using only conventional weapons.  Two years ago I wrote a detailed analysis on how Russia is preparing for WWIII so I won’t go into all the details here, but just mention one excellent example of this new conventional capability of the Russian military:
Take the Kalibr cruise-missile recently seen in the war in Syria. Did you know that it can be shot from a typical commercial container, like the ones you will find on trucks, trains or ships? Check out this excellent video which explains this:
Just remember that the Kalibr has a range of anywhere between 50km to 4000km and that it can carry a nuclear warhead. How hard would it be for Russia to deploy these cruise missiles right off the US coast in regular container ships? Or just keep a few containers in Cuba or Venezuela? This is a system which is so undetectable that the Russians could deploy it off the coast of Australia to hit the NSA station in Alice Springs if they wanted, a nobody would even see it coming.
And keep in mind that the Kalibr is not the only conventional/nuclear-capable missile (ballistic or cruise) which Russia can unleash against US military targets worldwide, including inside the USA. The weapons systems listed by Putin in his now famous speech are all formidable weapons in their own right (see Andrei Martynov’s excellent analysis of the military implication of these new weapon systems and my own analysis of their political implications).  Some readers might mistakenly think that Russian conventional missiles are somehow less of a threat than nuclear ones, but that would be a major mistake.  In deterrence and escalation theory it is crucial for each side to have what is called “escalation dominance” at all levels of the retaliatory spectrum.  Simply put, the so-called “Mutually Assured Destruction” (or MAD) is a very weak posture because of its very low first-strike stability (due to the “use them or lose them” force structure) and because using nuclear weapons is, under a MAD posture, equivalent to suicide.  However, having small tactical nukes and, even more so, conventional strategic weapons gives Russia a significant escalation dominance advantage which the USA cannot match.  In a 2017 article I debunked in some details the two crucial US American myths about the US military posture; the first myth is the myth of the US military superiority and the second myth is the myth about the US invulnerability, so I will just repeat here that these two myths are total bunk. The reality is that the USA is *extremely* vulnerable to Russian conventional strikes (see the article I mention for all the details): Russia has a wide choice of conventional weapons, ranging from hypersonic ballistic missiles to long-range cruise missiles. Furthermore, Russia has absolutely no need at all to send two Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela to somehow increase that capability.

A war between the USA and Russia will probably happen soon unless the USA changes its suicidal political course

One truth which is never mentioned by the AngloZionist propaganda is that Russia has retreated as far as she can and that there is a broad consensus in Russia among both the political elites and the people that Russia cannot retreat any further. God knows that even if all the “Putin caved in” propaganda is nonsense, it remains nonetheless true that the perception of the western elites is usually a strange mix of dismissing Russia while, at the same time, presenting Russia as the number one enemy on the planet.  I don’t know whether the people making these statements really believe them or not, but the resulting policy is one of a total and never-ending hostility mixed in with a quasi-religious belief in the superiority and even invulnerability of the “collective West.” And this is precisely the kind of mindset which results in stupid and bloody wars! Let me repeat this again: Russia has already done all she can to avoid a war with the USA, and there is nothing else she can do; in contrast, every single US policy towards Russia is bringing us one step closer to an almost inevitable war.

The two Tu-160’s in this context: think of it as a *gentle* wake-up call

4 Russian aircraft in Venezuela is all it took to freak out the Empire :-)
The importance of the visit of the two Tu-160’s to Venezuela is not military, but psychological: by showing up so near the USA in such a highly visible manner, the Russians are not threatening the USA or sending some kind of message to the US military. What they are doing is trying to gently wake up the media-zombified US population by showing it that yes, the “evil Putin” has the means to “reach” as far as the USA if needed. This, while hardly any big news to the US military, seems to be coming like somewhat of a shock to a lot of folks in the USA. The reality is that a single modern Russian SSBN in port in Russia is a far more formidable threat to the USA than these two bombers, but that is not something that anybody is willing to admit to the people of the USA, so Russia sent her two bombers in a clearly visible way to force even the corporate Ziomedia to mention it.
In case of a shooting war between Russia and the USA, a couple of Russian bombers won’t make much of a difference, but if they can act as the proverbial tip of the iceberg and, maybe, finally get the US public (or, at least some of its representatives) to wake up to the real threat and demand that the USA pull-back from its current full-scale confrontation with Russia, then this would be a good result.
A much more serious threat: A Borei-class SSBN docking in its home port of Severodvinsk in northern Russia
If not, then at least the Kremlin has shown support for the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan people by proving to the world that the famous “Monroe Doctrine” is long dead and that the putatively “sole superpower on the planet” can do absolutely nothing to prevent Russia (or any other country for that matter) from openly thumbing a collective nose at Uncle Shmuel.
Will that be enough?
I doubt it. But nothing is preventing Russia from trying other, possibly more explicit, “wake-up calls.” For example, a Russian Borei-class SSBN could fire a few of its SLBMs in a ripple-launch and have them land somewhere close enough to the USA to force the US media to pay attention (usually the Russians use the Kura missile test range in the Russian Far East, but these launches are entirely ignored in the West). So why not strike some target in, say, Venezuela? Of course, before any such launch, Russia would fully inform all the countries affected, especially, the USA and use either a dummy or a conventional warhead. And, of course, these missiles would be fired from the submarine’s dock, without even leaving port, not necessarily the main dock, but one situated further out on the Kola Peninsula would be an option. Heck, the Russians could even invite the foreign press corps, and the military attaches accredited in Russia and transmit the full thing on TV. This kind of demonstration runs very much against the Russian military culture and its maniacal obsession with secrecy (such a launch would not be without risks), but surely it is worth taking such a risk if that can bring the AngloZionist leaders and the population they rule over to their senses. Okay, maybe my idea is far-fetched, but you get the idea. Russia needs to not only talk but actually *show* that her weapons can reach well-inside the USA (and anywhere along the extremely fragile US coastline) and then wait and see whether the Americans want to engage in serious, meaningful, talks finally (as opposed to the ridiculous short chats Trump’s handlers allow him to have with Putin when they meet at some kind of summit; apparently “tweeting” is an accurate representation on how Trump’s brain works…).

Conclusion: All wars eventually end. The critical question is “how?”

Russia and the Empire have been at war since at least 2014. This has been an 80% informational war, 15% economic war and only 5% (or less) a kinetic one. But the Empire is running out of stupid accusations and hollow threats, its economic warfare has been a dismal failure, and all that’s left is to “go kinetic” which would be a disaster for all parties.  Bottom line:
The US dream of subduing Russia is long dead.
The US dream of threatening Russia is long dead.
The US dream of remaining the sole superpower (aka “World Hegemon”) is long dead.
What can the US do in this situation?
To trigger a kinetic war would be suicidal.  Bullying Russia with threats does not work.  Pretending like reality is not happening is the current US strategy, but it is clearly unsustainable (and every Tu-160 visit to Venezuela further undermines it).
I don’t see any other solution than to put an end to this war and (finally!) negotiate a global peace plan with Russia.
If not, expect many more Russian military hardware getting closer to the US borders.
The Saker