The Christian Science Monitor: How big is the military threat from Russia?

In recent years, the idea of ​​the Russian threat has been actively promoted in foreign countries. Events in the international arena are presented in such a way as to convince the audience of a certain threat from Russia. Such actions allow politicians to receive public support, and the media - an additional rating. However, some experts, politicians and the media are not inclined to harsh statements, and also try to understand the situation.

29 August proposed the international online publication The Christian Science Monitor (CSM), which published an article by Anna Groeb, “How big is military threat is Russia, really?” (“How big is the military threat from Russia?”). The task of the author of this publication was to determine the characteristics of the current situation and to study the reality of the “Russian threat”, which is one of the main themes of recent times. The result of this study was the publication, which can be attributed to the preferred CSM "not hysterical journalism."

The Christian Science Monitor: How big is the military threat from Russia?

In a brief annotation to the article, it is noted that the generals of the United States tend to perceive differently the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin concerning Ukraine and Syria. Some generals see them as dangerously aggressive, while others do not consider them a direct challenge to the United States, although they also admit that they are focused on reducing American influence in certain regions.

One of the latest cases of mentioning the “Russian threat” by officials, as A. Groub reminds, occurred not so long ago. A high-ranking US commander during a speech at the main US military college warned future defenders of the country that there was a threat from Russia. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, during his speech, recalled the Russian “annexation of the Crimea”, Moscow’s interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, as well as assistance to the Syrian authorities. According to the general, even under the conditions of serious economic pressure, the Russians "modernize their nuclear facilities and modernize their submarine forces." Such warnings are increasingly heard in the higher echelons of American power.

Recalling the statements of the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the author of the CSM asks the question: does Russia really pose such a serious military threat as they say?

Many analysts who study Russia agree on current Russian actions and their consequences. They believe that Moscow is indeed stepping up efforts in the military field. At the same time, experts do not agree that this problem really deserves the attention that it managed to attract.

A. Groub quotes Olga Oliker, Program Director for Russia and Eurasia, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington). She notes that the Russian president clearly showed his intentions. V. Putin made it clear that he is not interested in creating challenges for American security in areas where the United States has clearly ensured the inadmissibility of such actions. In addition, O. Oliker draws attention to another interesting feature of the relationship between the two countries. In her opinion, the Russian side itself is afraid of the United States. The Russians believe that they are opposing the hegemony of the United States, and are taking appropriate steps. In this case, the statements of Russia are not an ordinary rhetoric. As a result, the opposition of the American expansion leads to the strengthening of its own armed forces.

It is precisely in connection with the need to confront the United States and their policies that Russia is increasing its conventional arsenals, developing hypersonic missiles, and also building new submarines.

Further, the author of The Christian Science Monitor quotes the publication of Foreign Affairs for the authorship of former CIA chief David Petraeus and military analyst at the Brookings Institution Michael O'Hanlon, published in the latest issue of the publication. According to the authors of the publication, the steps of the Russian authorities remain well selected and calibrated. In addition, they recall that the Crimea has historically been Russian. The majority of the population of the peninsula speaks Russian, and the only Russian naval base on the Black Sea is also located on it.

Also D. Petraeus and M. O'Henlon touched upon the Russian operation in Syria, as well as its prerequisites and consequences. They write that Mr. Putin began the Syrian operation last fall only after it was determined that the Barack Obama administration adheres to a policy of limited intervention. Perhaps these actions were cynical or reprehensible, but they cannot be considered reckless, accidental, or particularly violent for a military conflict. In general, the former head of the CIA and a military analyst come to the conclusion that Russia does not represent a real threat to the basic interests of NATO.

A. Groub notes, against the background of what events the current discussion is going on. Both the West as a whole, and the USA in particular, are attempting to work out a common tactic to counter the new steps of Russia. Moscow, in turn, resorts to more and more courageous and impudent steps in various areas.

Conventional threat weapons

An important factor affecting the current situation is conventional weapons. Not so long ago, Major-General David Ellwin, Director for Strategy at NATO's European Command, said that conventional weapons are rapidly becoming the force that has to restrain Russian aggression.

Such a warning from the commander, as often happens, was accompanied by the demand for additional funding. The military is demanding that the new military budget provide for additional spending in the amount of 3,4 billion, which is necessary for the implementation of the European Reassurance Initiative program. This money should go to various projects within the framework of the “European Security Initiative”, including the maintenance of an increased group of troops in European countries.

The CMS author writes that not all opinions about the current situation are particularly popular. Thus, the view that the US should not do anything in the circumstances, finds only minimal support among experts. The main discussions concern a different question: what should be the reaction of the United States to Russia's “aggressive” actions? D. Petraeus and M. O'Hanlon write that after the recent reduction of the US contingent in Europe to 30 thousand people, a logical step would be a new group reinforcement. However, the placement of large connections in the Baltic countries, in their opinion, can not be a solution. Such actions are not necessary, and besides, they may not become a means of deterrence and only provoke V. Putin to new actions. According to experts, such a development of events can contribute to the temperament of the Russian president and his desire to revive Russia as a powerful superpower.

O. Oliker believes that there is no reason for Russia to demonstrate some specific opinions. For example, the Russian side should not think that the United States does not intend to intercede for its allies in Europe in the event of a real conflict.

Also in the current situation should consider a possible nuclear threat. President of the Institute for the Study of War (Washington) Kim Kagan believes that V. Putin will not challenge the United States in the form of the threat of the use of nuclear weapons in regions that are in the sphere of Russian interests. Nevertheless, the threat of nuclear weapons does exist. K. Kagan urges those responsible to remember this and take this issue seriously.

Also, experts recall some other manifestations of "Russian aggression." According to O. Oliker, unfriendly plans of Moscow can not only concern the military-political sphere, but also be realized in the “gray zone”. Attempts can be made to intervene in domestic politics or campaigns. Conventional weapons or, for example, the navy, are not very suitable for such actions. As D. Petraeus and M. O'Hanlon wrote in Foreign Affairs, such features of different methods lead to an increase in funding for activities in the “gray zone”.

Between war and peace

Confronting actions in the “gray zone” is a very difficult task for the American side. K. Kagan notes that Washington in general and the Pentagon in particular tend to clearly distinguish between a phase of peace and a phase of war. American specialists developed a conflict model suitable for the Cold War or for the first period after it ended. However, this technique cannot cope with the current "era of fierce competition."

Part of the Pentagon’s attempts to resist V. Putin concerns the so-called. information warfare or simply propaganda. In this area, words and phrases play a crucial role. Some analysts, considering the situation in the field of propaganda, express concern that the possibility of provoking V. Putin by the actions of the American military may have unpleasant consequences. Wrong actions may be useful to the Russian president, as well as help promote the ideas of Moscow.

The ratio of political positions and propaganda in an interesting way comments on K. Kagan. She understands the position of D. Petraeus and M. O'Hanlon, expressed in the pages of Foreign Affairs magazine and implying a refusal to provoke Moscow. However, the expert has a different opinion. If the USA changes its policy due to the fact that V. Putin can call them an aggressor, then this will lead to serious restrictions. Washington’s capabilities and their use will decline dramatically. In such a situation, there are hardly any actions that the United States will be able to take and not get accusations of aggression from the Russian president.

K. Kagan believes that prudence is useful for politics. Therefore, she believes that V. Putin is trying to find the "red lines", and has already found some.

In the context of the possible actions of the Russian leadership, A. Groub cites the words of former acting security adviser to US Vice President Joe Biden Julianne Smith. The question of the “red lines” and V. Putin, in her opinion, among other things, is what the Russian answer will be. J. Smith is worried that in a certain situation Moscow may react in an unpleasant or dangerous way, “like a cat driven into a corner.” J. Smith notes that this question was not considered in detail by D. Petraeus and M. O'Hanlon. However, it is necessary to take into account the risks that a minor incident will quickly get out of control.

Now the former. Advisor to the Vice-President is Director of the Strategic and Management Programs of the Center for New American Security (Washington). Recently, J. Smith conducted several war games, in which some relevant scenarios of possible developments were considered. In particular, one of the scenarios implied an unacceptable development of Russian actions that quickly went out of control.

J. Smith recalls that Russia often conducts sudden checks of the combat readiness of the armed forces. In addition, "on Putin's orders," fighters approach a dangerous distance to key infrastructure, civilian aircraft, or American ships in the Black Sea. The expert believes that these incidents are only attempts to show their strength and intimidate the United States. However, they have a dangerous potential: under certain circumstances they can lead to the most unpleasant consequences.


As the article “How big a military threat is Russia, really?” By The Christian Science Monitor shows, not all American specialists agree that Russia is indeed a serious military and political threat to the United States. In addition, even those representatives of the expert community who see Russia as a threat can argue among themselves about the size and nature of risks. As a result, such disputes lead to controversy over the issue of confronting the “Russian aggression”. It should also be noted that some methods of such confrontation are regarded as things that could provoke an additional deterioration in the relations of countries.

Nevertheless, official Washington, as the current situation shows, is inclined to listen to other experts, who, unlike their colleagues, see Russia as a real threat and hindrance in promoting their own interests. Because of this, an alternative opinion can be heard, but is unlikely to be taken as a guideline. As a result, it’s not yet possible to count on improving the international situation and improving relations between countries.

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  1. +5
    12 September 2016 07: 12
    J. Smith recalls that Russia often carries out sudden checks of the combat readiness of the armed forces. In addition, “at the direction of Putin,” fighters approach a dangerous distance to key infrastructure, civilian airliners, or American ships in the Black Sea. The expert believes these incidents are merely attempts to show their strength and intimidate the United States. However, they have dangerous potential: under certain circumstances, they can lead to the most unpleasant consequences.

    With such "partners" as the US and NATO, the gunpowder must be kept dry. And since when are the Americans allowed to violate our borders with impunity, even in the air, even at sea?
  2. +6
    12 September 2016 07: 57
    Key phrase from the entire article.

    additional spending of $ 3,4 billion

    Eisenhower also called on the nation to fear their own defense industry.
  3. cap
    12 September 2016 08: 35
    "J. Smith recalls that Russia often conducts surprise checks on the combat readiness of the armed forces. In addition," at Putin's direction "fighters are approaching dangerous distances to key infrastructure, to civilian airliners or to American ships in the Black Sea."

    I don’t want to list where the "partners" submarines and their aircraft sail.
    From "mountains and steppes of Ukraine, to the coast of the Belarusian Sea" further everywhere.
    Here "... someone's cow would bellow, and NATO's one was silent."
    The activity of Russia worries - "don't scratch, you won't bother," as the doctor says.
    Listen and read, well, just tiring. hi
  4. +6
    12 September 2016 08: 48
    The "screams" about the Soviet (Russian) military threat should be treated with "understanding" as something inevitable. Do we not react to the regularly blowing winds? So it is here. After all, the military-industrial complex and the generals of the United States and the USSR (Russia), although they have significant differences, in fact are not particularly different from each other. Both the one and the other military-industrial complex are trying to snatch as much as possible for their products. To a certain extent, the military-industrial complex is trying to "give hands" to both in order to reduce the price.
    Both those and other generals have talked, are talking and will talk about the threat from another country, especially from a country that is in the military aspect of the same weight category. As soon as it is necessary to "knock out the grandmother" for a new, more expensive "toy" they immediately recall the "threat".

    A small digression into history.
    1. Air parade in Moscow, which demonstrated the M-4. In the amount of 3 pieces. But ours decided to "deceive" the foe, and this trio went around in a circle several times. The Americans have already flown their B-52, but the generals started talking about the threat of lagging in bombers. And what is the result? They knocked out money not only to increase the production of the B-52, but also to deploy the B-58, having released only about 52 B-700s. Everything has stalled for us at a hundred pieces
    2. Talk about the missile threat. In the mid-50s, the United States, like the USSR, is developing its own ICBMs. Not feeling a particular threat from the USSR, the development went "not shaky, not roll." But as soon as we tested our R-1957 ICBM in 7, the Americans immediately started talking about the missile lag. And we got the money. As a result, we met the Cuban missile crisis with about three times less strategic intercontinental missiles than the United States.

    There are hundreds of examples. That's life. A person, let alone a military man, cannot be changed. He will always see the enemy in the military from the other side of the ocean. In a period of warming relations, rhetoric changes. Instead of the name "enemy" or "enemy # 1", terms such as "partners" appear. But the essence does not change from this.
    Summary. Such statements in the press should be treated calmly, without emotion, philosophically. This is my IMHO
    1. +2
      12 September 2016 14: 15
      Man, let alone a military man, cannot be changed. He will always see the enemy in the military on the other side of the ocean.

      It would not hurt our country in the least if not only the military were seen on the "other side" of the enemy. If only because on the "other side" there is one goal - that we did not have, from the word "in general".
  5. 0
    12 September 2016 08: 56
    ANALYTICS experts damn, anyhow blurt out, someone in the woods who for firewood. Do not forget these specialists only one thing, RUSSIA has been free for centuries and will remain so.
  6. +1
    12 September 2016 10: 40
    Quote: YURMIX
    ANALYTICS experts damn, anyhow blurt out, someone in the woods who for firewood. Do not forget these specialists only one thing, RUSSIA has been free for centuries and will remain so.

    Free from whom, from what? And in what centuries was it? About 70 years in the twentieth century, we know, perhaps in the pre-Christian period, and even when?
  7. +2
    12 September 2016 10: 59
    "not all American experts agree that Russia does pose a serious military and political threat to the United States"...

    The article is a sane person ... It’s even nice to read that in the USA not all politicians share the opinion of hawk generals ...

    "As a result, the opposition to American expansion leads to the strengthening of Russia's own armed forces.
    It is in connection with the need to confront the United States and its policies that Russia is increasing its usual arsenals

    That's it ... And it’s not a secret for anyone that Russia is not going to attack someone and take something away ... Crimea was ours, dear ...
    It’s also not a secret for anyone that, cynically speaking, Russia now is not up to the confrontation of the USA separately and NATO in general ...
    They kept them from the attack and are holding it back in the 90s, and now only the nuclear missile shield of the Russian Federation ...
    If it weren’t for him, a global blow to Russia would have long been carried out and it would have been finished ...
    It is this shield that allows - under its protection - to carry out the state armament program, and yet otherwise - who would give Russia every year to increase its defenses?

    So all attacks of US generals lead to only one banal request - give money, and - as much as possible ...
    1. +1
      12 September 2016 14: 58
      I agree, but not in everything. I came here only because I saw a submarine, I thought he ... nya is written
      (judging by the headline), but forced to agree, not everyone is in the pin ... dosii are stupid. They also have smart people.
  8. 0
    12 September 2016 11: 49
    "fighters approach dangerous distances to key infrastructure, civilian airliners or American ships in the Black Sea"

    And what, in fact, did American ships (military) forget in the Black Sea?
    And how do you order us to behave when more and more troops of "partners" become near our borders? What should a sane person do in such a situation?
  9. +1
    12 September 2016 12: 06
    The most sensible thought is to stop orally provoking Russia, in particular, by the forces of all sorts of Gribauskaitev, Maklarenov, Poroshenko and other coprolizunov.

    Because the real outcome of any direct military confrontation is a little obvious and predictable.

    The military threat from Russia stems only with respect to the aggressors.
    The political threat is with respect to exporters of democracy.
    And the economic threat exists permanently, regardless of the political and military confrontation.
    1. 0
      12 September 2016 15: 12
      As for oral- this is the most working part of the body in relation to pin ... dos in them. And you want them to switch to the brain?
      As for the Baltic countries, there is one old joke that reminded:
      A very bearded joke

      The girl comes to get a job as a secretary. A fashionable office, all the business, she comes in, the director sits there, all of himself busy, businesslike. Director: So, you are about work, right? I do not have much time. Sit down, I read your resume, you fit us. Take a pen, a piece of paper, write down your duties and daily routine. I am a very busy person, I rarely visit the office, I will need you by my side all the time. So this is: morning, breakfast in a Japanese restaurant or office, bacon, 2 eggs, coffee, blow job. Girl (Outraged ooh ..): Excuse me please, I didn't think ... Director (interrupting): Girl, write-write, we'll figure it out. Lunch at a Georgian restaurant with business partners, soup, second, fresh juice, blowjob. Girl (even more ooh ..): No, you will forgive me of course, but ... Director: Write, I tell you, we'll talk about it later. So, dinner at an Italian restaurant, with partners, but already "without ties". Maybe a little wine, a blow job. Girl: You know, I didn't think I would need to ... Director: Girl, let me finish. I am a very busy person, constantly traveling, my company is very large. I need a secretary who will always be there, so I will have to buy you a car. The salary, of course, is decent. I myself live in the city center, so of course I will have to buy you an apartment nearby. You have to travel a lot abroad, I don't know any languages, but you know, judging by your resume, I will take you with me. You have to travel mainly to the northern countries, to Norway, Finland, so we will buy you a good mink coat instead of your light coat ...

      From under the table: YUM-YUM ... and a hat ...
  10. 0
    12 September 2016 15: 12
    I was especially touched by the revelation of this analyst: “Kim Kagan believes that V. Putin will not challenge the United States in the form of the threat of the use of nuclear weapons in regions that are in the sphere of Russian interests.” The fact that a soulless person argues between glasses about the fate of American pawns, substituted by a-mers for Russian warheads - we are used to this. But how the Yuesei analytical brotherhood has degraded if they seriously believe that someone will launch nuclear strikes on territories where they have their own interests. It seems that there is not even a game here, it is the dull dullness of the analytecs-Dryopithecus, climbing outward. The Americans divorced parasites, well done. More of them.
  11. +1
    12 September 2016 19: 41
    Quote: trantor
    Man, let alone a military man, cannot be changed. He will always see the enemy in the military on the other side of the ocean.

    It would not hurt our country in the least if not only the military were seen on the "other side" of the enemy. If only because on the "other side" there is one goal - that we did not have, from the word "in general".

    Do you need it? I had to work with people from NASA for a while. Quite adequate people who do not consider us enemies. A classmate has been living in the North American continent for 25 years (the first 5-7 years in the USA, the rest in Canada). According to him, there are no people among normal people who see Russians exclusively as enemies. Of course, propaganda works, but we should not assume that we are "enemies" for the bulk of the US population. And I had to talk to other people. Why should normal people see exclusively enemies from the other side? Where it leads? Again, to consider everyone in the world as enemies? There is no need for this
  12. 0
    13 September 2016 04: 07
    It should be understood that all US actions are aimed at peace (Yugoslavia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., etc.), and Russia is a potential aggressor. Well, isn’t you insanity?
  13. 0
    14 September 2016 11: 59
    those. objections of the Iranians with the threat of knocking down about the pendo-scouts plying their borders are "unprofessional" actions of the Iranians, but if ours forced them to cheat Donald Cook, this is our unprofessionalism ...
  14. 0
    14 September 2016 16: 51
    Yes, the Americans will not fight with anyone, because they do not know how. They will decide everything through banks and dollars. They have already decided that our money is all somewhere in their papers, China is also under the thumb, all of them goods or are bought by them (iPhones, computers, operating systems, cinema, music, food, art, architecture, that's all, and if you send me to the site "Made by us", then I'll tell you that these are all our versions of what they have done, and it has always been like this (here Buran, Su-27, Ruslan, Tu-144, it is not clear what, not like the Chinese, we did everything, but the idea was taken from them, and then our developments) Kalashnikov only here, but constructivist architects, whom everyone does not like

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