The main factors that can decide the outcome in favor of Russia, if a global war begins
In June 2014, the Pentagon held a "staff" exercises - a kind of war game between Russia and NATO. The scenario was that Russia was putting pressure on NATO members Estonia and Latvia. Will NATO be able to protect these countries?
“The results were depressing,” writes Julia Ioffe in Foreign Policy. Even if all US and NATO troops stationed in Europe are deployed to the Baltic Sea - including the 82 I Airborne Division, which is believed to be ready to speak during the 24 hours - the US will lose.
“We simply do not have such forces in Europe,” explained one of the highest ranks, the US Army General. “Then, it’s also a matter of the fact that Russians have the best ground-to-air missiles in the world, and they are not afraid to use heavy artillery.”
Russia's victory was not the first and not the only one. Americans conducted such exercises 16 times, with different scenarios, favorable for NATO, and always with the same conclusion. Russians turned out to be simply invincible.
Against this background, hasty Turkish actions, when they shot down a Russian combat aircraft, carry the grim news for NATO. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, if the Russian VKS embed a clear understanding of the situation in the heads of the Turks, at least in theory, all other members of the US-led military bloc under the treaty are obliged to come to the aid of the Turks.
Although the chances that the Americans will risk New York for the sake of Istanbul are less than small - which leaves Turkey extremely nervous in a position of its own - you should never eliminate the possibility that hotheads in NATO will want to attack Russia.
An exchange of nuclear strikes without any doubt will have disastrous consequences for both sides - and, probably, for the entire planet - but there are certain factors that can shift the situation on the battlefield in favor of Russia.
Judging by the data exchange between Moscow and Washington 1 in October 2014, Russia has 1643 deployed strategic warheads, and the US has 1642. The minimum difference is in quantity, but Russian ground-based strategic forces have a TNT equivalent, which is an order of magnitude greater than everything the United States has at its disposal.
Main weapon Moscow’s containment is powerful SS-18, one can destroy an area the size of New York — not only the city, but also the state. To realize the destructive force of the SS-18, one has only to look at the nuclear weapons that the US used to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the 1945 year. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a primitive charge in 15 kilotons and in a few seconds wiped out a city with a population of 70 000 from the face of the earth. SS-18 - “Satan” by NATO classification - carries 10 warheads, each 750-1000 kilotons. Some of these missiles carry only one warhead in 20 000 kilotons - this is 1333 Hiroshima.
At the same time, 80% of the American population lives on the east and west coast, so well-targeted missiles can destroy their entire lives on these densely populated coastal stripes. The population of Russia is only half American, but it is scattered throughout the vast territory, so that areas where people live can survive during the first and the second strike.
And Russia still has a trump card up its sleeve - its fleet of supersonic Tupolev Tu-160 bomber. These aircraft with a maximum speed of more than 2M can take off from well-protected air bases located in the heart of Russia, fly over the North Pole, launch nuclear cruise missiles from a safe distance over the Atlantic and return home to have time to see the destruction on CNN.
This is if CNN will be there. After all, the Russian strategic fleet of bombers can single-handedly wipe out any large city in the United States.
Precisely because the Americans know the capabilities of the Russian nuclear forces, they made every effort to destroy the Doomsday weapons, such as SS-18, through arms limitation talks.
Prior to the use of strategic weapons, Russia could damage NATO’s advanced bases with tactical - or front - line nuclear weapons. The Russian military doctrine highlights the use of small nuclear weapons as an element of warfare at the initial stage of the conflict in order to stun and confuse NATO forces, affecting their ability to think and act in an appropriate way.
After tactical nuclear artillery has destroyed the NATO-based NATO troops, Russia could strike with small warheads using medium-range missiles that would destroy the next line of military bases with a limited number of civilian casualties. At this point, the United States would face the option of retaliation with strategic weapons and bump into the crushing response of Moscow. Surely this option would not have taken advantage.
After all, no American president will risk even a single US city for a dozen European. It was precisely for this reason that John F. Kennedy in 1962 did not risk it: the loss of even one city was too high a price.
The state of US strategic forces
How reliable is the US Strategic Nuclear Command *? If you are an American, you wouldn’t be sure of this by reading that Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were both “reportedly losing launch passwords that presidents should have at any time; Clinton - for months, according to the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And Carter seemed to have sent a password card with the suit for cleaning. ”
In any conflict — especially at high stakes in a nuclear standoff — morale, preparation, and discipline are key factors. Russian officers who make decisions when and where to send nuclear missiles have advanced degrees and decisive action is required of them. On the other hand, American personnel with the same tasks are covered by alcoholism, depression and fraud.
Nothing can hide the crisis that engulfed the US strategic forces. In October, Major General Michael Carey, responsible for 2013 nuclear missiles, was dismissed for drunkenness during a visit to Russia. A few days earlier, Vice Admiral Tim Giardin, who is responsible for high level responsibility for the country's nuclear arsenal, was relieved of his duties after he was caught with fake gaming chips at a casino in Iowa.
Think it's scary? Take a look here. The US Air Force General, who was conducting a mission to provide nuclear forces for the US Strategic Command, was an alcoholic. General David K. Urih kept a bottle of vodka in the table and constantly drank on duty so that another officer told the investigators that "if he didn’t have alcohol, he would have blown the roof off."
Among the missilemen of the United States, rot has spread, they cheat on checks of competence, endangering the readiness of American ICBMs. Again, in February 2014, the US Navy reported that they were checking statements that contract sailors had cheated on inspections related to nuclear reactors of submarines and aircraft carriers.
US strategic forces also suffer from systemic neglect, with "leaking roofs" reported from ICBM bases in North Dakota and Montana. Rocket workers operating in explosion-proof bunkers located in 60 feet below the surface of the earth are forced to defecate into buckets and urinate in jugs, and take it all with them after 24 hours of work. What will be the readiness of this staff when they have to respond to the missile attacks of Russia is a big question.
On the other hand, the Russian strategic forces are considered the most elite troops. The quality of the Russian personnel can be assessed by the actions of a lieutenant colonel of the Russian strategic forces ** Stanislav Petrov. 26 September 1983 Russian satellite early warning system identified the launch of five US nuclear missiles. The tension between Washington and Moscow, after the South Korean plane was shot down, was extremely high, and Petrov had only a few minutes to react. With very little information coming in, he considered the alarm false, justifying it like this: “when people start a war, they will not start it with just five missiles.”
This is the highly qualified staff. When you are right at the sight of enemy nuclear missiles, trapped in a bunker at 60 feet below the surface of the earth, then nervousness, insomnia and depression become part of your daily life. Unable to cope with this, less educated personnel will abuse alcohol and drugs and even demonstrate criminal behavior. On the other hand, educated and motivated officers will keep cool even in the case of a thermonuclear duel.
Nuclear war does not necessarily involve the rapid exchange of ballistic missiles. According to the author of Fear of War: Russia and America on the Nuclear Edge, Peter Vincent Praia, director of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum, the Russian strategic forces are prepared to “preempt or retaliate nuclear strikes, survive the crushing blow of a massive nuclear attack of the enemy, conduct subsequent nuclear strikes and to control hostilities in a long nuclear war that can drag on for weeks or months. ”
In such a long, painful scenario, Russian nuclear warfare experts clearly have the advantage.
Reflexive control: the ultimate weapon
Misinformation, camouflage and military tricks - these are some of the methods that can affect the outcome of the war. The Russians raised this ancient art to a different level with the help of the theory of “reflexive control” (RU).
Developed by Russian military strategists in 1960, RU is aimed at transferring to the enemy such information that would influence him so that he voluntarily makes decisions that are desirable for the initiators of actions. This can be used both against people and against decisions made on the basis of computer calculations. Russia applies this not only at the strategic and tactical levels in the war, but also in the sphere of geopolitics.
Major General of the Russian Army M. D. Ionov was among the very first supporters of the RU, following this concept from the 1970's. In the 1995 article of the year, he noted that the goal of reflexive control was to force the enemy to make decisions that would lead him to defeat, influencing or controlling his decision-making process.
Ionov considers this to be a form of high art, based on the need for a deep knowledge of human thinking and psychology, military stories, the roots of a separate conflict and the capabilities of competing combat forces and assets.
Timothy L. Thomas wrote in the Journal of Slavic Studies: “In a war where reflexive control is applied, the side with the highest level of reflection (capable of best simulating the other side’s thinking or predicting its behavior) has the best chances of winning. The level of reflection depends on many factors, the most important of which are analytical skills, general erudition and the experience and scale of knowledge about the enemy. ”
If he is successfully achieved, then the reflexive control of the enemy makes it possible to influence his combat plans, his vision of the situation and how he will fight. RP methods are diverse and include camouflage (at all levels), misinformation, stimulation, force blackmail and the compromise of various officials and officers.
According to Robert K. Rasmussen from the Center for International Maritime Security, "this type of application of reflexive management was studied by Vladimir Putin during his initial work at the 401 School of the KGB and during the career of the KGB / FSB officer."
Since each battle is first conducted mentally before the first shot, the long experience of Russia in the Republic of Uzbekistan would be a key factor in its struggle with the United States for survival.
* - we are talking about the Joint Strategic Command of the US Armed Forces (USC).
** - during the events described, S. Petrov served in the anti-missile and anti-space defense forces of the USSR Defense Ministry.