Guest writer Joris De Draeck, creator of Planet News, places Putin’s huge announcements of March 1st in historical perspective.
Putin’s Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1 hit home. American politicians, generals and journos were up in arms crying foul over the provocation the speech allegedly carried. Sheer stupidity quickly exchanged front-pages with blatant displays of fear-mongering. But what brought us here? Why has Russia invested as much R&D effort as was clearly shown? Reading through mainstream you always hear the same mantra: Putin wants Russia’s power expanded, Putin wants expansion, Putin is preparing for WWIII – as if Putin is the only one deciding.
The idea is nonsensical if you read through the transcript linked above. Putin, as is well-known to these having followed him over the years, has no urge for expansion; not even to annex countries of the former Soviet Union. Back in 2005 – although the notorious annual address is best known for another quote mentioned in only the sixth paragraph – he specifically mentioned “Today, with independent countries now formed and developing in the post-Soviet area, we want to work together to correspond to humanistic values, open up broad possibilities for personal and collective success, achieve for ourselves the standards of civilisation we have worked hard for – standards that would emerge as a result of common economic, humanitarian and legal space.”
So Putin is no warmonger, although the frightful capabilities he showed only last week would make him appear so. Where did this drive to develop these advanced weapons come from?
Back in Time
Almost seventeen years ago, on December 13, 2001 George W. Bush announced the US would unilaterally pull out of 1972’s Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty or ABMT. This decision marks the first time the US annuls an important and stabilizing accord. Putin apparently foresaw Bush’s brazen determination already June 11, 2000. In an interview with the Hamburg Welt am Sonntag almost exactly one and a half year before Washington’s official word Putin stated: “People must realize that the mutual reduction of strategic attack weapons — the most dangerous of all nuclear weapons — is possible only when the ABM Treaty continues to hold. Scrapping it would make a further reduction of strategic attack weapons according to START-I impossible. START-II would not come into force either, as it would be impossible to conclude START-III, aimed at talking about the radical reduction of nuclear arsenals.
This blow would also affect other agreements that are of fundamental, global importance: the NPT, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty… Russia will be forced to look for an alternative to end its commitments not only regarding START, but also the agreement on intermediate-range and short-range missiles, the conclusion of which is linked to the legal and military framework of the START-II-ABM process.” The document linked above also clearly mentions that “Russian officials have stated that, if the United States withdraws from the ABM Treaty and deploys an NMD [National Missile Defence], Russia would withdraw from a range of offensive arms control agreements. Furthermore, Russia could deploy multiple warheads on its ICBMs to overcome a U.S. NMD, or deploy new intermediate-range missiles or shorter-range nuclear systems to enhance its military capabilities,” including “that Russia might abrogate the 1987 INF Treaty and deploy new shorter-range and intermediate-range missiles.”
We’ll fast-forward to 2007 when Bush declares the US is looking into building a missile shield in Europe. Another two years later the new American President Obama confirms that intention. Although Obama subsequently flip-flops back and forth when he’s asked about it, by the end of 2013 it’s abundantly clear the NMD installation will be built. Aegis Onshore is about to become one of the most advanced missile installation in the American arsenal and is placed in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders. Despite Russia’s objection Romania now has a missile silo capable of launching rockets with a nuclear payload.
When the installation is about to go live in 2016, Putin addresses journalists: “The missiles are put into a capsule used for launches of sea-based Tomahawk missiles. Now they are placing their antimissiles there, which are capable of engaging a target at a distance of up to 500 kilometres [310 miles]. But technologies are developing, and we know around what year the Americans will get a new missile, which will have a range not of 500 kilometres, but 1,000, and then even more – and from that moment they will start threatening our nuclear capability. We know year by year what will happen, and they know that we know,” adding that Western officials “pull the wool over [their news outlets’] eyes.”
But There’s More…
The entirely honest freedom of speech beacon named The Washington Post headlined “Mr. Putin plays troublemaker on nuclear security” in an opinion piece by the “editorial board” published October 23, 2016. The article laments and lambastes the Kremlin’s decision to halt their reprocessing of weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel-grade MOX. It doesn’t hide who the paper thinks is responsible; from the title it’s clear who takes initiative and who’s guilty for denting the nuclear security congruity. Mainstream press in its entirety parroted the story as they usually do.
The article mentions how the US held on to its share of the bargain by mentioning that “outside experts found it would be a lot less expensive and faster to dispose of the plutonium by dilution and burial” as the Savannah River Site factory in South Carolina was deemed as unnecessarily expensive. What’s not said explicitly (again) is that Obama’s decision was not accepted by the Russians because they, as soon as April of the year the US announced the above alternative, unmasked and decried the US administration’s decision. Putin remarked April 8, 2016: “With the dilution and disposal method, the nuclear fuel retains its breakout potential, so it can be extracted, processed and weaponized again. That is not what we agreed on.”
Clutching on to the NPT
It’s worth remembering that the very first accord in 1968 and the most signed was labeled the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It laid out rules stating that no nuclear country should share this devastating technology with others. Nevertheless, ever since the early eighties, American nuclear weapons are found in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey. The US assert that these weapons still are controlled by them, so that they can hardly be seen as “shared with”. The USSR back then and Russia now were always Argus-eyed about that American remonstration – although the Northern country has never referred to it in recent years. It seems that the weapons’ presences has never been more than a thorn in the eye to the Russians. Russia however has not used such workaround explanation to station its nuclear arsenal outside of its borders.
Disregarding the interventions in Chechnya and Georgia, the 2014 Ukraine crisis on Russia’s doorstep ousted Yanukovich in favour of an extremely Western-minded regime led by Poroshenko. An effort which lasted 20 years and cost the American tax-payers an estimated $5 billion. With it, the Western establishment does not seem to care about facts as it still defends Ukraine’s pull to its ranks despite the intermittent admittance they were wrong with it. The sanctions following the Ukrainian coup seamlessly bled into an amassing of NATO troops. A total count of which not seen since World War 2 which was a war where Russia lost between 11 and 26 million citizens, including Ukrainians while indeed defending them. The NATO borders themselves have inched closer to Russia ever since the fall of the USSR despite agreements to the contrary between Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Bush Sr. A NATO alliance which now is full of damning rhetoric against the major Slavic partner this world should recognize.
Reading through the above one can not help but wonder where the provocations or ill-judged decisions come from. The US and its allies seems to be keen on stringing together provocations. Obama himself, respected by so many consumers of Western media, decided to modernise the US’s nuclear arsenal at a cost of one trillion dollars with the B61’s nuclear bombs getting upgrade for compatibility with the much-advertised, but ill-fated F-35.
But that does not seem to be relevant to well-paid mainstream-media journalists. Russia has itself “advertised” weapons of previously unknown capabilities and that says enough.
”Russia’s the aggressor.” – Depends on how you look at it.