Mark Esper. Source: profil.ru
Fine political matter
Mark Esper, who became US Secretary of Defense a little less than a year ago, has already managed to become famous for several anti-Russian statements. He did not like the help of Moscow suffering from the coronavirus of Italy: according to the minister, it was a political action with selfish motives. Does Esper know what he is talking about? Despite the fact that he managed to fight in the Persian Gulf (and even received many awards for this) and graduate from West Point, the current US Secretary of Defense is more of a civilian politician than a military politician. He graduated from the School of Public Administration. John F. Kennedy and George Washington University, where he received a doctorate in political science. Actually, he has recently demonstrated good political skills. Esper also studied German and Russian at the university, which sometimes shines at press conferences. So, in November last year, he answered reporters a question whether the military department would pursue Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Windman, who testified in Congress on the impeachment case of Donald Trump, with the words: “No, no, nein. Which language suits you? ”
Talk about deterring Russia when NATO’s main patrimony is restless, at least not timely. Source: cdnimg.rg.ru
In recent weeks, the US media have been discussing news about the alleged involvement of Russia in the killing of American soldiers by the Taliban in Afghanistan. And, despite the denial of this fact by the Pentagon and the terrorists themselves, there are certain reputation losses of the American army. A certain negative background has already formed in society, even taking into account the fact that this is not true. Esper had to make excuses to the journalists, saying that for him all this was unexpected and nothing was reported to him. Therefore, a small, but victory victory was needed.
Summing up the results of his first year in office, Esper on the Pentagon website spoke about the victories over the enemies of the United States: Iran and North Korea, as well as the containment of Russia and China. The Secretary of Defense did not specify where the US military was holding back Russia's aggressive outbursts. In general, Esper’s performance partially solves two problems. The first is to record in the minds of taxpayers the success of the army in protecting the nation from the Russian-Chinese threat. And the second is the justification of the considerable funds spent on “containing” Russia. For example, in Europe, to maintain parity with the Russian threat, it is planned to send at least $ 1 billion in the next fiscal year (starting on October 3,789). All this will be mastered within the framework of the European Initiative of Deterrence program and will be aimed at shipping, satellite communications, submarine forces and anti-submarine defense. It should be noted that the Pentagon’s appetites in this area have decreased: last fiscal year, a record $ 6,5 billion was spent on European containment of Russia. Now the United States plans to ban the financing of any activity that contributes to the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea. It is proposed to “contain” Russia by the termination of military cooperation, except for the sphere of preventing direct conflicts with NATO countries.
What specific threats did Esper manage to cope with in a year in office? In the case of Russia, one can only guess, but an analysis of his early statements allows us to draw some conclusions. As the head of the Pentagon noted earlier, Russia has strong cyber capabilities and regularly "either tries to influence or intervenes in many countries." Here, the US military, according to Esper, successfully confronts Russian hackers from the Main Intelligence Directorate. Displeasure is expressed only by rare US partners. For example, the Georgian Foreign Ministry recently accused Russia of cyber attacks on government services at the end of October last year. In response to this, the Americans seem to be switching to aggressive tactics in exchange for passive defense. At least Esper indicated that position.
Undoubtedly, the American establishment may ascribe to the list of victories in “deterring” Russia the supply of arms to Ukraine for $ 60 million. The notorious and widely publicized anti-tank Javelin appeared in our neighboring country, and Kiev intends to buy them more than once.
Given the decline in funding for Russia's containment program at the European theater of operations, Esper may not have a chance for victory rhetoric in the future. In early July, the Americans made it clear to Georgia that the next money to support "democratization" (read: Russia's confrontation) might not come in full. The money in the United States was not much delayed: about $ 20 million, but for Georgia it is substantial. And the fact itself is already alarming. In the document, the congressmen put forward the following requirements to the Georgian leadership:
“... a) strengthen democratic institutions, as indicated in the accompanying report; b) to fight corruption in the government, including the application of anti-corruption laws and regulations; “(c) Ensure that the rule of law in the private sector complies with internationally recognized standards, including the right of foreign enterprises to work freely and unhindered to fully realize the commercial and financial benefits of investing in Georgia.”
Another thorn in the plans of the head of the Pentagon is President Donald Trump. His unpredictable policies often do not agree with the plans of the military.
At first, Esper defiantly did not support Trump's plans to include the military in suppressing protests, but now he is actually sabotaging the withdrawal of troops from Germany. Trump, incidentally, spoke very soberly about this, pointing out the strange balance of spending in Germany. Why should the US pay to protect the Germans from Russia if Germany itself pays a potential aggressor for hydrocarbons? According to the president, Germany owes at least a trillion dollars to protect the sovereignty of the Americans. As rightly asserted by political scientist Alexander Rar:
“This is a serious enough step to discipline Germany and to split NATO somewhere in order to better manage it.”
What victories in containing Russia can we talk about if there is still no unity in NATO, and even the partners do not always listen to the instructions of the world hegemon? For instance, история with Nord Stream 2, which seems to end soon with the thunderous applause of Germany and Russia. The American leadership failed to convince the countries of Europe that the money in Russia from the sale of natural gas would be spent specifically on arms buildup. Today, Germany buys gas, and tomorrow will face another Russian aggression. Not convinced. The situation with NATO’s partner Turkey also does not inspire confidence in the omnipotence of the United States. No matter how the Americans had to invest money in restraining Erdogan! Perhaps that is why Esper so unexpectedly made triumphant reports? In the future, no reason to foresee?
At the beginning of the year, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabkov commented on numerous attempts by the United States and NATO countries to contain Russia. According to him, "no US programs and financial means aimed at containing Russia will work." At the same time, the Russian leadership adheres to a calm position and offers a mutually beneficial dialogue, emphasizing equal relations. And Russophobic statements to attract the extra attention of politicians and the population of our overseas neighbor have always been and, obviously, will not disappear.