Tom is a regular contributor not only here at Russia Insider but also at Seeking Alpha and Newsmax Media. Check out his blog, Gold Goats 'n Guns and please support his work through his Patreon where he also publishes his monthly investment newsletter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s State of the Union address may be the most important speech since his address to the U.N. in September 2015 on the eve of Russia’s intervening in the War on Syria.
Putin’s sober analysis and admission of demographic constraints on the Russian economy’s growth was welcome. It highlights the real challenges for Russia over the next fifteen years. The shift for those of us analyzing the Russian economy is to look at it purely in terms of per capita growth, not absolute growth.
But, that admission of Putin’s highlights the backdrop of his publicly outing Russia’s new and formidable weapons technology.
That he did this during the height of his re-election campaign should bring a smile to the cynic’s face. Well played, sir.
Now, about those new weapons. I defer to Alex Mercouris at The Duran for the only in-depth look at these new weapons. The Saker, who is absolutely one of the best analysts of Russia’s military capabilities, considers these new weapons, “Game, set, match for The Empire.”
No More Parallel Aggression
Putin has played the game very well over the past few years. Employing the strategy of ‘parallel aggression’ when responding to a U.S. escalation, he’s kept a lid on hostilities in Syria and Ukraine, while grinding out small victories, playing for time.
The announcement of these new weapons, however, change that game plan. Putin is now going on the attack.
Here are some early thoughts on this implies:
- Announcing these weapons begs the question, “What is Putin not telling us about?” That should scare many in the Pentagon and civilians who believe the U.S.’s response should be to escalate.
- Arming Ukraine with more heavy weapons to take back the Donbass will be countered because there is no reason not to.
- Now we know (versus suspect) why the U.S. Deep State has been so adamant about pushing an anti-Russian narrative now. The window has closed on any potential regime change in Russia.
- U.S. forward deployments in Afghanistan and Syria and backing proxy armies such as ISIS and the Kurds is part of a subversion strategy to soften the underbelly of Russia forcing them to fight expensive, conventional warfare while extending U.S. logistical supply lines, its core competency in warfare.
These new weapons represent a state change in weapons technology but, at the same time, are cheap deterrents to further escalation. They fit within Russia’s budget, again limited by demographic and, as I pointed out in a recent article, domestic realities.
The Narrative Quagmire
And it’s why point #4 above is the most important. We’re not winning in technology. So, all we can do it employ meat-grinder policies and force Russia and her allies to spend money countering the money we spend.
It’s a game that hollows everyone out. And it’s easier for Putin to sell the defensive nature of his position to Russians than it is to sell our backing Al-Qaeda and ISIS to defeat them. Because that reality has broken through the barrier to it.
Trump’s fighting the RussiaGate narrative domestically dovetails with exposing our duplicity in Syria. The important point of the Urainium One scandal is not that Hillary Clinton the gutting of our uranium reserves. No, the important point is that the the very people screaming out Russia today were cutting deals with them yesterday.
Even the dumbest American sees the hypocrisy in that.
Putin coming forward now with this announcement puts a halt to the political games being played in the media and at the U.N. to hang onto a failing narrative of Russian and Syrian malfeasance in the war.
You can only scream about the chemical weapons wolf so many times before no one believes it any more.
Don’t Get M.A.D.
The U.S. knew about all of these systems. If we didn’t then what are we truly spending all this money on spycraft for. We also know first-hand how good Russian electronic warfare (EW) is, c.f. the airstrike on Al-Shairat last April where less than 40% of those Tomahawks hit their intended targets.
The Saker has made the point many times that Russia’s armed forces, up to this point, are designed around rapid response within 1000 kilometers of Russia’s borders. It is not designed around global force projection.
These new weapons fundamentally change that stance. And much of the current geopolitical knife-fighting will come to a rapid close because of it.
Russian diplomacy has stymied U.S. attempts to game the geopolitical landscape for the past four and a half years (since Putin beat Obama over the false flag chemical weapons attack in 2013). Now he’s given everyone another thing to consider, Russia’s Big Stick.
And I invoke Teddy Roosevelt here on purpose. Putin’s foreign policy has morphed into that. This is his ‘walk softly and carry a big stick’ moment. He’s been building to this point for fourteen years, since Bush the Lesser pulled the U.S. out of the ABM Treaty.
Now it’s here and we have no reasonable response. The Defense Department’s statement was laughable. All we can do it try and put inferior weapons closer to Russia’s borders to approximate M.A.D., a situation I feel we haven’t been at for quite a while now.
Putin just red-pilled the world on this subject.
The current hot-spots will begin resolving themselves over the next year.
Escalation by the U.S. in Ukraine is simply a way to empower Putin’s hardline critics on the eve of an election. The cries of “Putin is a traitor” or “Putin is a Zionist shill” have been growing louder in the fringes of the Russian-centric commentariat.
He just ended them by changing the rules of engagement completely. If Putin was truly that guy, a weak-handed fool secretly working for Zionists, then he would have left Russia defenseless and would not have announced on the eve of his re-election after playing ‘possum for months the hammers Russia needs to secure her future.
In the broader sense, Putin has now put all of his allies under the same nuclear umbrella. And it should give everyone running their mouth about going to war, from Hezbollah to Israel, from Turkey to Iran pause.
Syria is now a game of attrition which Damascus and Moscow will win.
With Trump’s massive win at CPAC and the mid-term elections on the horizon, expect a major summit between Trump and Putin this year. Trump cannot hide behind the Democrats’ lunacy in the face of what Putin just announced.
They have to talk formally about how to pull the world back from what appears to be the brink of war.
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