Dan Robitzski in Hard Science Russia is preparing to test launch its powerful new RS-28 Sarmat hypersonic nuke, which has been given the appropriate nickname “Satan II.”
Son of Satan The Russian military is prepared to launch three tests of its powerful new nuclear weapon, the RS-28 Sarmat, which has earned the nickname “Satan II.”
Tests for the new intercontinental ballistic missile will begin within the next few months, military insiders told TASS, a news outlet owned by the Russian government that refers to the weapon as “invulnerable.” That’s alarming news — while the Sarmat has been under development for years, the fact that it’s now ready for test launches brings us into a dangerous new era of ultra-powerful nuclear weapons.
“The first launch of the Sarmat ICBM within the framework of flight development tests will be carried out tentatively in the third quarter of 2021, a field at the Kura testing range on Kamchatka will be a target,” a military source told TASS.
Global Reach The Satan II missile is meant to replace, well, the “Satan,” Russia’s R-36M2 Voevoda, which were first developed in the 1970s, according to TASS. In other words, Russia’s nuclear arsenal is getting a significant upgrade. And if these upcoming tests go well, the Russian military may start to deploy the weapons by the end of next year.
The Sarmat reportedly has a range of 18,000 kilometers — meaning it’s just shy of being able to reach anywhere on the Earth — and can carry a payload of up to ten tons. That means the missile is capable of launching multiple warheads and a hypersonic vehicle, making it exceptionally difficult for any of Russia’s theoretical targets to detect, let along stop, the nuke before it hits.
Even more alarming is that Russia designed the Satan II specifically to avoid any form of missile defense, according to TASS. That includes both speeding up its acceleration so it can launch itself out of range of defense systems before finding its ultimate trajectory as well as using its extremely long-range to fly over the North or South poles, evading more heavily defended areas.
“Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order” By Kathryn E. Stoner Oxford University Press, February 2021Russia Rescurrected by Kathryn Stoner
As the U.S.-Russian relationship has become increasingly adversarial, Russia’s power and behavior have drawn increasing attention from policymakers, journalists and scholars. This has in turn fueled discussion and debate surrounding Russia’s capabilities and its government’s aims. Stanford University scholar Kathryn E. Stoner seeks to contribute to this important national conversation in her new book “Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order.” Notwithstanding useful contributions to understanding Russia’s new strength, the book falls short in explaining when and why Russia employs its power.
Stoner contends that Russia is in fact more powerful than it may appear if one relies on what she terms “traditional means of power”—counts of “men, money and material”—and that the principal driver of Russia’s foreign policy is “a patronalist autocracy that has an interest in maintaining the domestic status quo.” First, Stoner asserts, power is relational; it depends on the state exercising power and its target. Second, she adds, to measure power, analysts must assess it across three dimensions: policy scope (specific issues across which Russia’s behavior affects others), geographic domain (specific places where Russia seeks to exercise its power) and means (specific capabilities available to Russia). She overlays two cross-cutting factors onto policy scope and geographic domain: the concepts of weight (the likely effectiveness of Russian efforts) and costs (to Russia, and to its target in complying or resisting). Finally, Stoner notes, power can be actual or potential. For example, she describes nuclear weapons as an example of “power in potential.”
Stoner assesses policy scope and geographic domain—as well as weight and costs—in qualitative terms but applies quantitative measures to means, with some supporting qualitative evaluation. While engaging, the scope and domain narrative can make it difficult for the reader to draw systematic conclusions about Russia’s relative power or priorities across issues and regions. The book’s survey of Russia’s means has some shortcomings too, most notably in providing international context for Moscow’s rearmament.
Examining Russia’s motives, Stoner writes that the country’s national interests are less important in understanding its conduct than are the domestic political needs of its corrupt authoritarian government. “Under Vladimir Putin’s regime,” she states, “Russian power has been used not merely or even primarily in the service of national interests…but also in service of preserving his own corrupt regime. That is, in order to continue to govern at home, the regime that has developed under Vladimir Putin has needed to project its power abroad.” “Russia Resurrected” defines public opposition to Putin’s third presidential term (2012-2018) as a primary force behind this. While Stoner devotes considerably less space to this argument, which she introduces in the book’s first chapter and articulates fully in the final chapter, it is more consequential for analysts and policymakers. Her case relies substantially on a flawed and incomplete account of Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and subsequent military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Stoner’s effort to measure Russia’s power comprises the bulk of “Russia Resurrected” and provides a generally helpful overview of the country’s capabilities despite its limitations. (Russia Matters produced a useful quantitative assessment of Russian power in 2018.) Though Russia’s seizure of Crimea, its intervention in Syria and its interference in America’s and other countries’ political systems forced observers to reassess Moscow’s geopolitical heft several years ago, Stoner’s analytical framework for evaluating Russian power is logical and coherent.
Two limitations in Stoner’s six chapters on Russia’s power are an occasional tendency toward inflating the dangers that Russia poses and some significant omissions related to Russia’s nuclear weapons and conventional military. In the former category, for example, Stoner closes a short section on Latin America with a somewhat alarmist 2018 statement by the commander of the U.S. military’s Southern Command—someone with a demonstrable bureaucratic and budgetary incentive to express such worries. The extensive discussion of nuclear weapons and some of Russia’s new weapons systems does not adequately pursue Russia’s stated concerns about U.S. missile defense and global strike capabilities (which are critical in understanding Russia’s perspective on the U.S.-Russian nuclear deterrence relationship) or the manner in which Russia’s nuclear deterrence of the United States both guarantees the country’s security and facilitates its assertive use of its conventional armed forces.
Similarly, Russia’s far-reaching conventional military modernization has not occurred in a vacuum but in the context of NATO’s eastward expansion and the rapid growth and transformation of China’s military. In this context, Stoner’s presentation of total active and reserve military personnel in Russia, the United States and other countries is somewhat misleading; setting aside the relative quality of their equipment and training, America has employed its reserves and National Guard extensively over the last two decades. Russia’s reserves are far less capable than its active duty troops or their U.S. counterparts.
Despite its contributions in measuring Russia’s power, “Russia Resurrected” has two critical flaws in explaining its uses. The first is its concentration on academic rather than practical debates regarding Russia’s motives; the second is a selective reading of history in attempting to marshal evidence for its argument that the needs of Russia’s patronalist political system explain its foreign policy more accurately than “national interests.”
First, in pursuing theoretical explanations for Russia’s foreign policy, Stoner focuses excessively on a critique of realist international relations scholars like John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. This limits the value of Stoner’s argument, in that many non-academic realists (and some academic realists) readily acknowledge that Russia’s corrupt political system affects how top leaders define the country’s national interests and that senior officials often pursue private rather than public interests.
More seriously, even as Stoner advances a sophisticated multi-dimensional framework for measuring Russia’s power, calling on others to consider policy scope, geographic domain and means, she fails to address whether a similar multi-dimensional framework could be appropriate in measuring inputs into the country’s foreign policy decision-making. Might national interests have greater influence over policy in some geographic and functional areas while the needs of Russia’s leaders and elites more influential, or more easily pursued, in others? What factors could contribute to or weaken these two drivers as Vladimir Putin makes concrete decisions? Do non-patronalist domestic goals shape Russian foreign policy decisions, such as efforts to save or protect jobs? Or do such concerns matter strictly for their political effects, with no little or no separate role for economic imperatives beyond personal enrichment?
Rather than trying to answer harder questions like these, Stoner sets herself an easy task in stating that her final chapter argues that “it is unlikely that another leader [other than Putin] would have responded to the set of problems facing the country in precisely the same way.” Who could possibly disagree with the assertion that another leader would not handle Russia’s foreign policy exactly as Russia’s current president has? Only Putin is Putin.
The second flaw in the book’s attempt to explain Russian conduct is that Stoner privileges some historical events and misses others or, alternatively, avoids key aspects of the events she describes. This is especially problematic in the book’s limited exploration of the 1990s and in its discussion of NATO enlargement and Russia’s policy toward Ukraine, including its seizure of Crimea and later intervention.
Stoner does not explore Boris Yeltsin’s growing authoritarianism and patronalism or his turn toward an increasingly assertive foreign policy during the late 1990s. Indeed, “Russia Resurrected” explicitly refers to the Russian president’s powers under the country’s constitution and Yeltsin’s political battles with Russia’s parliament without acknowledging that Yeltsin rewrote the constitution to secure those powers after forcibly disbanding the Supreme Soviet in October 1993. This was a decisive event not only in showing Yeltsin’s authoritarian side, but in facilitating Russia’s corrupt privatization processes and empowering Yetsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin. Yeltsin simultaneously created public demand for a war on Russia’s oligarchs and gave Putin the tools to wage it. Some expressed concern about Putin’s handling of corruption when he became acting president following Yeltsin’s resignation.
Stoner likewise does not study events signaling Yeltsin’s frustration with Russian-Western relations. Two notable developments were his decision to fire Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev and to appoint the harder-line Yevgeny Primakov, whom he eventually made prime minister, and his disagreements with the United States and its allies over the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. These omissions are especially unusual in that someone less determined to establish Vladimir Putin’s uniqueness, and that Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012 was a turning point, could have used them to argue that an authoritarian and corrupt Yeltsin responded to flagging public support with a less vigorous version of Putin’s later hard line.
The book’s discussion of NATO enlargement and its connection to Russia’s 2014 occupation of Crimea and semi-covert war in eastern Ukraine is similarly selective. With respect to NATO enlargement, “Russia Resurrected” evades the fact that Central European nations (including Ukraine) sought NATO membership largely due to their historically justifiable fear of Russia, and that the United States and other NATO members used this fear as leverage to press governments to liberalize their political systems as a prerequisite to and step toward membership. Washington’s well-established aims in this were to consolidate its Cold War triumph, to expand democratic governance in Europe and to hedge against Russia’s uncertain trajectory. This U.S. and NATO approach has worked less well in Ukraine because it had a large Russian minority that did not fear Moscow in the way that other regional populations did and thereby weakened efforts to define a national consensus favoring membership. More important for Stoner’s argument, untangling Russia’s opposition to NATO enlargement from its efforts to undermine democratization is not as easy as she suggests.
Stoner’s search for a defining moment in Putin’s 2012 return to the presidency—which was an important event, to be sure—is also a problem in her arguments about NATO enlargement. She appropriately cites NATO’s 2008 Budapest Summit declaration, which said that Georgia and Ukraine “will become” NATO members, as a source of concern to Russia. Yet Stoner later asserts that because Medvedev was able to cooperate with Obama on some issues, no new countries joined NATO between 2009 (Albania and Croatia) and 2014, and NATO membership had not been “a politically palatable subject in Ukraine…for a number of years,” Russia’s “grievance narrative” around Ukraine’s potential alliance membership could not be a valid explanation for Moscow’s behavior. This argument ignores both that NATO membership remained stated U.S. and NATO policy as well as the 2014 revolution in Ukraine, which most reasonable observers expected could change Kyiv’s politics, government and policy.
“Russia Resurrected” seems to argue that since Russia’s Ukraine policy didn’t work in pursuing realist objectives but did work to get Putin re-elected in 2018, the latter must be a superior explanation of Putin’s aim. This fails to account for three important (non-exclusive) possibilities: that Putin had realist objectives other than those Stoner formulates, that he underestimated the costs of his policy and overestimated what was possible in the Donbass and that domestic political gains were an expected benefit rather than a driver of policy.
For example, on the first point, Stoner claims that “if we had understood Ukraine purely as a reactive move in defense of national interests, designed to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and the EU, then it could be considered an abject failure.” Yet Ukraine has not joined the EU—it is associated, not a member, and seems unlikely to satisfy EU membership criteria while engaged in an ongoing (or frozen) conflict. Ukraine likewise appears further from NATO membership today than in 2014, in that it is a party to an unresolved territorial dispute with Russia over Crimea. The alliance has insisted that other post-Cold War aspirants resolve such disputes prior to membership, something that seems implausible so long as Putin remains in office and that is likely to be quite difficult afterward. More important for Alliance politics, those disputes were primarily among aspiring members (like Hungary and Romania) rather than with Russia.
The fundamental weakness in Stoner’s argument is that “Russia Resurrected” does not articulate a persuasive mechanism that requires Putin to select an aggressive foreign policy among his available responses to the 2012 protests or other domestic political problems.
One alternative option in 2012 could have been Putin’s approach to consolidating power in the early 2000s, that is, to wage internal political battles against unpopular opponents. Stoner refers to the Russian government’s energetic prosecution of Pussy Riot following the group’s controversial 2012 protest in Moscow’s Orthodox Church of Christ the Savior; why did Putin not do more of that, without the risks of armed conflict and Western sanctions? In a variant of this, Putin could have pursued populist economic policies and targeted pressure on Russia’s oligarchs to do more for workers, in the spirit of his public humiliation of Oleg Deripaska in 2009 following protests over unpaid wages. “Russia Resurrected” ultimately fails because it attempts to explain Russia’s behavior without setting out a rigorous model of leadership decision-making. The book works backward from outcomes to explanation rather than forward from drivers (whether political or otherwise) to decisions.
Understanding Russia’s power and the Russian leadership’s goals is a necessary task in formulating effective policy. Moreover, as Russia has become considerably more powerful over the last two decades, the stakes in accurately discerning the Kremlin’s motives have become commensurately higher. If “Russia Resurrected” approached these challenges with more care, discipline and nuance, it could have been an important work.
Nick Parker 22:35, 2 May 2021Updated: 22:35, 2 May 2021 Share
VLADIMIR Putin has ramped up Russia’s bid to build an “unstoppable” arsenal of superfast missiles – goading Britain into a terrifying new nuclear arms race.
The ruthless strongman has personally overseen the development of an array of hypersonic weapons which fly at up to 20 times the speed of sound.
And rising tensions stoked by his sabre-rattling bullying in Ukraine have forced Boris Johnson to U-turn on long-standing disarmament pledges for the first time in more than 30 years.
Britain’s limit on stocks of our ageing Trident nuclear warheads are to be ramped up from 180 to 260.
But experts say the planned £10billion rearmament – ordered as 10,000 UK troops are set to be axed to the lowest manpower levels in 300 years – will do nothing to deter Putin.
And his weaponry appears to be light years ahead of his rivals’ amid soaring tension and uncertainty in the face of the Covid crisis and vicious trade wars.
Here is a terrifying snapshot of the latest additions to Russia’s awesome armoury.
The Avangard missile system can strike any target in the world in less than 30 minutes The Avangard missile system can strike any target in the world in less than 30 minutes Missile system with a hypersonic glide vehicle which strikes “like a meteorite” and is said to be unstoppable.
It moves at 20 times the speed of sound and can strike any target in the world in less than 30 minutes.
Burevestnik can deliver nuclear warheads anywhere around the globe Burevestnik can deliver nuclear warheads anywhere around the globe THIS low-flying stealth cruise missile is said to be incapable of interception and can deliver nuclear warheads anywhere around the globe.
Putin says it has “unlimited range”.
Its name means “Storm-bringer.”
The Uran-9 unmanned tank is designed for destroying enemy vehicles and features rocket flame throwers The Uran-9 unmanned tank is designed for destroying enemy vehicles and features rocket flame throwers WAR-TESTED in Syria, the Uran-9 unmanned tank is remote-controlled with a 30mm cannon and anti-tank guided missiles.
It is designed for destroying enemy vehicles and also features rocket flame throwers.
The Zircon missile is Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out American cities in a nuclear war The Zircon missile is Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out American cities in a nuclear war MISSILE with a top speed of more than 6,100mph is Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out American cities in a nuclear war.
He saw one tested for him at a launch laid on for him “as a birthday treat ”.
The Kinzhal missile flies at ten times the speed of sound The Kinzhal missile flies at ten times the speed of sound THE name means dagger.
The missile flies at ten times the speed of sound, has a range of 1,250 miles and Moscow boasts it has no match in the West.
Ten aircraft with Kinzhals have been on duty in southern Russia.
Poseidon is an atomic-powered underwater drone deployed as a giant nuclear-capable torpedo Poseidon is an atomic-powered underwater drone deployed as a giant nuclear-capable torpedo AN atomic-powered underwater drone deployed as a giant nuclear-capable torpedo.
It moves through the sea at 125mph using a top secret propulsion system and is said to be lethal against aircraft carriers.
Satan 2 is the biggest beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal Satan 2 is the biggest beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal BIGGEST beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
188-tonne missile has an 11,000-mile range, can evade the United States’ defence shield and is capable of destroying an area the size of England and Wales.
Kalashnikov guided missile
The new Kalashnikov guided missile destroys low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones The new Kalashnikov guided missile destroys low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones THE new 9M333 guided missile destroys low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones.
It finds targets without additional missile guidance after launch or being in their line of sight.
Russia’s unique ‘flying and swimming tank’ is undergoing tests Russia’s unique ‘flying and swimming tank’ is undergoing tests RUSSIA’S unique ‘flying and swimming tank’ is undergoing tests.
Video shows the lightweight vehicle blasting targets from the water, giving Russian forces a key edge on Nato rivals in Europe.
Stealth drone Okhotnik can fly from Moscow to London and back on a single mission Stealth drone Okhotnik can fly from Moscow to London and back on a single mission THE Okhotnik – meaning Hunter – is said to be virtually undetectable and can fly from Moscow to London and back on a single mission.
It can be a spy in the sky or fire missiles working with an Su-30SM fighter jet.
Chemical experts are developing a more deadly form of Novichok Chemical experts are developing a more deadly form of Novichok CHEMICAL experts are developing a more deadly form of Novichok.
Putin was said to have been furious that the nerve agent failed to kill Sergei Skripal in the 2018 Salisbury poisoning.
Russia’s newest fifth generation Su-57 stealth fighter is viewed as one of the most lethal warplanes ever built Russia’s newest fifth generation Su-57 stealth fighter is viewed as one of the most lethal warplanes ever built Russia’s newest fifth generation Su-57 stealth fighter is designed to carry the Kinzhal hypersonic missile.
Viewed as one of the most lethal warplanes ever built.
A total of 67 Su-57s are due to be delivered by 2028.
China and Russia are the key adversaries when it comes to developing high-tech weaponry over the next 20 years, but while China’s rate of progress is accelerating, Russia is stymied by multiple factors, the defense Intelligence Agency told Congress.
DIA Director Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier said China will have “basically modernized” its military in just six years, and aims to be introducing the most “disruptive” military technologies by 2030-2035, according to prepared testimony for the Senate Armed Services Committee provided April 29.
During the next two decades, any of the three main powers—China, Russia, or the U.S.—may steal the lead “in one or more fields and seek to develop military capabilities and concepts to capitalize on perceived advantages,” Berrier said. Any one of the three could come up with new weapons or concepts that “will change the character of warfare.”
But China’s whole-of-government approach—which Berrier called “military-civil-fusion”—intentionally blurs the lines between civilian and military technology efforts, and its greater investment in these presents “the greatest threat to U.S. technological superiority.” In fact, Berrier said China has “already achieved peer or near-peer levels in many research areas” and has targeted 57 specific technologies in which to outpace and out-field the U.S. military.
Soon, China will “almost certainly be able to hold U.S. and allied forces at risk at far greater distances from the Chinese mainland,” the DIA said, while it enhances its power projection forces. By 2027, China expects to be able to win a small number of brief but high-level military conflicts—“including the forcible unification of Taiwan”—while deterring, dissuading, or defeating any third-party military intervention. By 2050, China plans to be the dominant world military power.
To underscore China’s advance, the DIA noted that China deployed its new J-20 stealth fighters to the border region with India during recent tensions between the two countries.
China did not slow its military modernization at all as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DIA said.
“China is highly advanced in quantum key distribution and is among the leaders” in artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, quantum information sciences, biotechnology, and advanced robotics. Its lead in this area is both due to indigenous capability as well as “licit and illicit foreign technology acquisition.” This has put it “at the forefront of numerous scientific fields.”
Russia, on the other hand, despite having a “massive” military-industrial complex, has adopted a strategy of targeting military technologies to specifically “match, counter, or offset” perceived advantages in U.S. capability, and those of certain other adversaries, rather than pursue its own pioneering efforts.
Russia can produce “large numbers of weapons” and it is trying to increase its indigenous capabilities in cutting-edge technology, but it is “challenged both organizationally and technically” to develop and make the “high-tech subcomponents required for advanced weapons” because of “severe funding, resource, and infrastructure constraints” on that country’s science and technology sector, Berrier wrote.
Because of these different approaches, China “very likely will present the greatest threat to U.S. technology superiority,” he added. The intelligence community has for three years described China as the “pacing threat” to the U.S. military.
To offset its weakness in broad conventional weapons and computing capabilities, Russia is ever-more-reliant on a profusion of new nuclear weapons for which there is no analogy in the West, such as an undersea weapon capable of creating tsunamis that could destroy broad swaths of coastline. This reliance will continue, DIA estimates.
Intelligence estimates of China’s nuclear capabilities have changed from just six months ago, when it was estimated that China would double its nuclear weapons delivery systems from 200 to 400. Rather, it is accelerating that rate of deployment, the DIA said.
China and Russia both have pressed forward with “advances in space and counterspace capabilities, and [are] using cyberspace to increase their operational reach into U.S. infrastructure,” the DIA said. They are also both taking advantage of the COVID-19 environment “to conduct information warfare to undermine Western governments, attack coalitions, and compel economic and political outcomes in their favor.”
By JON GAMBRELL and ISABEL DEBRE , Associated Press April 27, 2021 – 9:50 AM
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A remotely piloted boat packed with explosives targeted the Saudi port of Yanbu in the Red Sea on Tuesday, the kingdom said, with the blast sending black smoke into the sky off the coast.
US President Joe Bidenis currently hosting a two-day climate change summit attended by China, Japan, Russia, Canada, India, Australia, the UK and the EU. Mr Biden, and his western allies, will have the chance to come face-to-face withPresident Xi JinpingandVladimir Putinas experts continue to warn that Beijing could “attack Taiwan” and Moscow could invade Ukraine. On Monday, the US Strategic Command said America must prepare for nuclear war as current conflicts could escalate “very rapidly,” and the US faces “two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time”.
Professor Bruce Cameron Reed has published five textbooks and over 50 journal papers on the Manhattan Project – a top secret research and development project between the US, UK and Canada, that produced the first atomic weapons.
He told Express.co.uk how it “totally changed” the relationship between science and political policy that we still see today.
Prof Reed said: “Suddenly, after the war, a country’s power was going to be based on the strength of its laboratories, universities and scientists – it was traditionally military power.
“It really changed the course of history and thrust scientists into the public sphere like never before.
“We are still living with that legacy 80 years later and I don’t think many people appreciate how many nuclear weapons are still out there.”
CNN)The top US military official who runs the American nuclear arsenal warned that China and Russia aremodernizing their nuclear weaponsand capabilities faster than the US, saying during a congressional hearing on Tuesday that if it does not start investing more in nuclear defense and infrastructure, the US will be “at risk of losing credibility in the eyes of our adversaries.”
Russia is “aggressively engaged” in “conventional nuclear capability development and modernization, and are now roughly 80% complete while we are at zero,” saId Adm. Charles Richard, the head of US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear arsenal.
“It is easier to describe what they are not modernizing — nothing — than what they are, which is pretty much everything,” Richard said
Richard said China is modernizing its nuclear capabilities so quickly that he “can’t get through a week right now without finding out something we didn’t know about China.”
While China’s nuclear stockpile is vastly smaller than the United States’ and Russia’s nuclear arsenals, it is undergoing an “unprecedented expansion,” Richard said in his opening testimony.
Russia and the US are limited to some 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments, according to the latestSTART treaty.
The Biden administration is currently carrying out a nuclear posture review, which is examining the total amount of money invested in the nuclear modernization program. The purpose of the review is to “reduce the goal of nuclear weapons in our defense strategy,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said during the hearing.
“I agree with that goal, and I think it is incompatible with that staggeringly high level of spending. Every administration makes strategic decisions about our force structure and modernization, and when it comes to nuclear weapons, those decisions carry tremendous weight,” Warren said.
Operations, interim upgrades and full modernization of the US nuclear weapons program could cost $1.2 trillion, according to anOctober 2017 reportfrom the Congressional Budget Office.
Two weeks ago, Richard gave an order at US Strategic Command requiring any brief discussing potential threats from China or discussing China in general that is more than a month old be updated because “it’s probably out of date,” he said during the hearing.
Richard warned China is making rapid advances
About a week ago, Richard learned that China now has more fast-breeder nuclear reactors than it previously did, an example of “how rapidly China is changing, or at least how rapidly we are figuring it out,” he said.
“With a fast-breeder reactor you now have a very large source of weapons-grade plutonium available to you,” Richard said. “That will change the upper bounds of what China could choose to do if they wanted to in terms of further expansion of their nuclear capabilities.”
A fast-breeder reactor makes more fissile material than it consumes. The revelation that China has more fast-breeder reactors means it is potentially developing more nuclear material that can be used for nuclear weapons.
Richard also warned that China has moved a portion of its nuclear forces to a “launch on warning” posture and is “adopting a limited ‘high alert duty’ strategy,” meaning it could be ready to launch a retaliatory strike as soon as its sensors detect an incoming threat. It is US policy to ensure it knows the trajectory of a missile if one is detected and to try to assess if it’s nuclear before striking.
The information Richard referred to in the hearing regarding China’s nuclear weapons and their capabilities was gathered by the intelligence community, a spokesperson for US Strategic Command said.
Russia, on the other hand, is “across the board operating new equipment,” Richard said when discussing the country’s nuclear weapons and capabilities.
“They are on the second generation of a new ballistic missile submarine. They have a new ballistic missile for that. It’s quite capable,” Richard said. “They have a very impressive solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile, brand new.
“They have new road mobile missiles. They have up-gunned their bombers. They have new weapons off their bombers.”
Richard warned that while the US has an “adequate missile defense,” right now, “we do need to make sure we pace it into the future against the threats that we’re seeing.”
“Without the recapitalization of the existing weapons we risk obsolescence and irrelevance, and we could reach a point where no amount of money will adequately mitigate the operational risks we’ll be facing,” he said.
Wars often arise from uncertainty. When strong countries appear weak, truly weaker ones take risks they otherwise would not.
Sloppy braggadocio and serial promises of restraint can trigger wars, too. Empty tough talk can needlessly egg on aggressors. But mouthing utopian bromides convinces bullies that their targets are too sophisticated to counter aggression.
Sometimes announcing “a new peace process” without any ability to bring either novel concessions or pressures only raises false hopes — and furor.
Every new American president is tested to determine whether the United States can still protect friends such as Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Israel. And will the new commander in chief deter U.S. enemies Iran and North Korea — and keep China and Russia from absorbing their neighbors?
Joe Biden, and those around him, seem determined to upset the peace they inherited.
Soon after Donald Trump left office, Vladimir Putin began massing troops on the Ukrainian border and threatening to attack.
Putin earlier had concluded that Trump was dangerously unpredictable, and perhaps best not provoked. After all, the Trump administration took out Russian mercenaries in Syria. It beefed up defense spending and upped sanctions.
The Trump administration flooded the world with cheap oil to Russia’s chagrin. It pulled out from asymmetrical missile treaties with Russia. It sold sophisticated arms to the Ukrainians. The Russians concluded that Trump might do anything, and so waited for another president before again testing America.
Unfortunately, Biden’s bombast follows four years of a Russian-collusion hoax, fueled by a concocted dossier paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Biden and others claimed Trump was, in the words of Barack Obama’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, a “Russian asset.”
If Biden is seeking to provoke a nation with more than 6,000 deliverable nuclear weapons, he is certainly not backing up his rhetoric with force.
Biden may well decrease the Pentagon budget. He also seems to have forgotten that Trump was impeached for supposedly imperiling Ukraine, when in fact he sold Ukraine weapons.
While Biden was talking loudly to Putin, his administration was being serially humiliated by China. Chinese diplomats dressed down their American counterparts in a recent meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. They gleefully recycled domestic left-wing boilerplate that a racist America has no moral authority to criticize China.
If Trump was unpredictably blunt, Biden is too often predictably confused. And he appears frail, sending the message to autocracies that America’s commander in chief is not fully in control.
Biden has not, as he promised, demanded from China transparency about the origins of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan. By summer, that plague may have killed 600,000 Americans.
More disturbing, as Russia puts troops on the Ukrainian border, China is flying into Taiwanese airspace, testing its defenses — and the degree to which the United States cares.
For a half-century, American foreign policy sought to ensure that Russia was no closer to China than either was to the United States. Now, the two dictatorships seem almost joined at the hip, as each probes U.S. responses or lack thereof. Not surprisingly, North Korea in late March resumed its firing of missiles over the Sea of Japan.
In the Middle East, Biden inherited a relatively quiet landscape. Arab nations, in historic fashion, were making peace with Israel. Both sides were working to deter Iranian-funded terrorists. Iran itself was staggered by sanctions and recession. Its arch-terrorist mastermind, General Qasem Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike.
Under Trump, the United States left the Iran nuclear deal, which was a prescription for the certain Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon. The theocracy in Tehran, the chief sponsor of terror in the world, was in its most fragile condition in its 40 years of existence.
Now, U.S. diplomats bizarrely express an interest in restoring cordial relations with Iran, rebooting the Iran deal, and dropping sanctions against the regime. If all that happens, Iran will likely get a bomb soon.
More importantly, Iran may conclude that the United States has distanced itself from Israel and moderate Arab regimes. One of two dangers will then arise. Either Iran will feel it can up its aggression, or its enemies will conclude they have no choice but to take out all Iranian nuclear facilities.
Biden would do well to remember old American diplomatic adages about speaking softly while carrying a big stick, keeping China and Russia apart, being no better friend (or worse enemy), and letting sleeping dogs lie.
A screengrab of US Strategic Command’s Twitter post
US Strategic Command issued a posture statement preview on Tuesday, saying “The spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. We must account for the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.” This is not only a warning signal meant for US policymakers, but also a tactic to try to trap its “adversaries,” such as China and Russia, into a nuclear arms race.
This posture statement preview is mainly aimed at Russia because it has updated its nuclear weapons with brand new nuclear strike approaches. For instance, the Petrel, a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile, is claimed to have virtually unlimited range. And Poseidon, a massive nuclear torpedo, can reportedly carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 100 megatons to most parts of the world while remaining extremely deep beneath the surface.
As the US does not possess weapons with such capabilities, it is anxious.
The preview sends two messages. The US hopes to promote its defense capabilities to counter Russia’s new weapons as well as boosting its own innovation in nuclear weapon development. Meanwhile, it shows that the US attaches great significance to its own nuclear power, and it will keep investing in and upgrading its nuclear arsenal. This is a warning toward the outside would.
As a matter of fact, the possibility of an outbreak of direct nuclear conflict between the US and Russia is very low, as both countries have a considerable number of powerful nuclear weapons. If there is a nuclear clash, it will be catastrophic for both countries. Therefore, the US will definitely not make a nuclear threat against a major nuclear power. It might only aim at small- and medium-sized regional military powers. The US will probably use tactical nuclear weapons rather than weapons of mass destruction.
However, the Pentagon, including US Strategic Command, is exaggerating the possibility of a nuclear war with its rivals. They are hyping that such a nuclear war is just around the corner to get more funds to build up the US’ nuclear arsenal and develop new weapons.
Nevertheless, ties between the US and Russia do confront challenges, and the biggest stems from the breakdown in military communication. Washington has withdrawn from agreements such as the Treaty on Open Skies and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. That being said, there is basically no military communication mechanism between Washington and Moscow. As the hostility and suspicion toward each other spirals up, some senior officials from the Pentagon consider Russia to be increasingly dangerous. In their opinion, some of Moscow’s innovations regarding nuclear weapons are directed against Washington, and the weapons may even be used against the US at any time.
So this preview is made based on mistrust and suspicion toward Russia. Such sentiment could lead to a nuclear arms race.
Besides, the US Strategic Command has also been hyping up the possibility of a nuclear war with China. In February, head of the command Charles Richard warned that “there is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons.” As China develops its conventional military power and Moscow restores its, Washington’s conventional forces are losing their overwhelming advantage compared with the other two.
Out of fear that the US could be defeated in a future large-scale conventional war, the country is turning to focus more on nuclear options. This reflects the US’ lack of confidence in its conventional military forces.
The US does want to provoke a nuclear arms race. The cost of a full-scale nuclear upgrade is astronomical. If more advanced nuclear weapons are produced, maintenance and security costs are also high. The US has enough budget, plus it enjoys its dollar hegemony and can print money at any time when needed, so it hopes to provoke the race and draw China and Russia in. Such a race will consume a large proportion of their military spending, and might even undermine their economic strength.
However, China and Russia are not buying it. Taking China as an example, its nuclear weapons are designed for defense. It is not interested in competing with the US in terms of quantity or performance of the nuclear weapons. This US strategy once wore down the Soviet Union during the Cold War. China will not be fooled by the same trick.
The author is a Beijing-based military analyst. email@example.com
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation approved early April the final appearance of the stealth bomber, known as the Advanced Long-range Aviation Complex (PAK DA in Russian codification). It is being developed by Tupolev with the creation priority given to reducing the visibility of the aircraft and the usage of long-range weapons.
At the moment the bureau works on creating the first full-size prototypes of the bomber.
The new bomber will be built according to the “flying wing” aerodynamic scheme. (without the tail unit and a fuselage that is separated from the wings) and will be able to fly at subsonic speeds of up to 1,190 km/h; 740 mph). This is significantly less than the speed of the Tu-160 strategic bomber that the new PAK DA is supposed to replace in Russia’s air force.
The machine will use only intra-fuselage weapons in order to decrease its visibility on radars. These weapon systems include advanced long-range cruise missiles and hypersonic missiles.
‘The onboard equipment of the aircraft is automated as much as possible. Engineers now experiment on using it in unmanned mode. It is also assumed that the bomber will be able to control groups of unmanned aerial vehicles and will be able to use the entire range of air – to-air missiles’ told Russia Beyond Vadim Kozulin, a professor at the Academy of Military Science.
What’s also important is that the priority in the PAK DA concept is given to «stealth» technologies with the appropriate tactics of use including long-range weapons
‘Today, Russia’s air force has received the powerful X-555 and X-101 long-range missiles that can fly 5,000 km (3,106 miles), which is why there is no more need for long-distance bombers. Now the strategic bomber can carry out its mission basically without leaving Russian borders and remaining under the protection of air defense systems’ mentioned Kozulin.
As previously reported by Russian media, special models and individual full-size elements of the bomber were already created and passed a series of bench tests to assess radar visibility.
Russian Defense Ministry
‘In particular, it was confirmed that with the use of certain tactics, the PAK DA will be able to overcome the advanced air defense lines of NATO countries unnoticed’ added Kozulin.
The expert also states that each PAK DA will carry up to 40 tons of ammo, as all other modern strategic bombers. This weaponry consist of all types of modern nuclear and conventional bombs: armor piercing, penetration, cluster and others
Each plane’s minimum service life time is supposed to be no less than 12 years, with prolongation to 21 years after service maintenance procedures.
The new bomber is being developed by Tupolev. It is expected to be put into service until 2027. It is expected that the aircraft will replace the Tu-95MS missile carriers in the Aerospace Forces.