Author Topic: Cold War 2.0 ?  (Read 2038 times)

Offline quadz

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Cold War 2.0 ?
« on: October 13, 2016, 12:21:00 AM »
I've been following the writings & tweets of a couple National Security analysts [1] [2] for a little while. Over the past few months, and especially in the past week, there's been a marked increase in the number of alerts about potentially destabilizing actions Putin is taking.

http://observer.com/2016/10/putins-activation-of-iskander-m-ballistic-missile-is-a-message-to-obama/

Excerpts:

"It’s long been obvious that Vladimir Putin and his inner circle view Barack Obama with utter contempt. … As our president winds up his second term and prepares to move out of the White House, the Kremlin simply isn’t bothering to hide that contempt any longer, even in high-level diplomacy, where a modicum of tact is expected."

"The Kremlin has made it indelibly clear that it has no interest in further parley with Washington about Syria: 'We won, you lost, get over it.' … We gave Putin what he wanted in Syria—preserving his Assad client regime while demonstrating Russian resolve and power—and for that we have nobody to blame but ourselves. This has become deeply embarrassing as the Syrian nightmare has descended into war crimes and even genocide on a truly horrifying scale. For an administration that prided itself on its alleged humanitarianism, this is an appalling ending which the world will not soon forget. The Russians, of course, have acted like Russians, bombing and shelling haphazardly, adding impressively to the death toll among Syrian civilians."

"Russia has just sent more late-model anti-aircraft missiles to that country—an odd choice in weaponry given that the Islamic State, which the Kremlin boasts of fighting energetically while accusing Washington of collaborating with it, has no aircraft. Just in case anybody in the Pentagon missed that unsubtle move, Russia’s defense ministry this week bluntly stated that any effort by American airpower to change “facts on the ground” in Syria will be countered with live fire."

"Responding to rumors that the U.S. military wants enhanced airstrikes against the Assad regime, the Kremlin spokesman minced no words: “I would recommend our colleagues in Washington to carefully weigh possible consequences of the fulfillment of such plans.”"

"Ever an opportunist, Putin is simply running the table in the waning months of Obama’s presidency. The Kremlin may never see an American president this weak-willed again, so the Russians are making the most of this undeserved geostrategic gift while they still can. Signs of this aggressive opportunism are everywhere."

"Reports that the Russian navy has created a new strategic bomber division in the Far East to monitor and harass the Americans across the Pacific region … Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers, long-range carrier-killers, will be shadowing the U.S. Navy as far east as Hawaii, in a manner not seen since the 1980s."

"Obama has gone to great lengths to deny that we’re in Cold War 2.0, as I explained after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, but Putin isn’t playing along with that script. This week, his defense ministry announced that it’s considering re-opening military bases in Cuba and Vietnam. These were shuttered after the last Cold War, and any indications that the Kremlin wants them back, particularly in Cuba, conveniently close to Florida, likewise indicate where this is headed."

"… some of the Kremlin’s current military moves are deeply alarming and indicate a risk-taking mood in Russia’s leadership that ought to seriously worry NATO and the Pentagon. Things are getting scary in the tightly packed and jumpy Baltic Sea region, where Moscow is eagerly flexing its military muscle, seeming not to care what anybody thinks or feels about it."

"This week, however, Putin upped the ante by sending armed fighter jets to intimidate Helsinki and Tallinn. Yesterday, two Su-27 fighters of the Russian air force, called Flankers by NATO, overflew Finland. Their incursions were brief but, significantly, the Flankers were armed for combat. Then, early this morning, another Flanker violated Estonian airspace—fully armed and with its transponder turned off. This incident, the fifth violation of Estonian airspace by the Kremlin so far this year, is significant since that country belongs to NATO. None of the Baltic republics have their own fighter jets. That’s handled by a composite Alliance jet squadron. If the Russians keep sending armed jets over Estonia, the odds of a confrontation with NATO fighters rise dramatically."

"[This week's] biggest news, however, comes from Estonian reports that the Russian military is sending Iskander-M missiles to Kaliningrad on a civilian freighter. … The Iskander-M system, called SS-26 by NATO, is the replacement of the Scud missile of American Gulf War memory. It has a range of 300 miles and can carry either a conventional or a nuclear warhead. An Iskander-M based in Kaliningrad can strike targets deep in Poland and across the whole Baltic region. Make no mistake, this is primarily an offensive weapons system."

"There’s a reason that the Kremlin promised to not ship this missile system to Kaliningrad back in 2009, in exchange for President Obama’s scuppering of missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic. Activating an Iskander-M unit in Kaliningrad, west of the Baltic republics, is rightly seen as destabilizing by NATO’s whole eastern flank which, despite security promises by the White House, remains vulnerable to Russian attack. For Warsaw and several other NATO capitals, this move resembles a Baltic version of the Cuban Missile Crisis."


Related article:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/12/world-faces-cold-war-era-threat-levels-former-mi6-chief-sir-john-sawers


Related commentary, all this week:


https://twitter.com/akihheikkinen/status/785860526752591882

"Labor conflicts in Russia have doubled in 3 months; Primorye coal miners begun hunger strike. Clock is ticking for Putin. Even military has repeatedly failed to pay gas and electricity bills."


https://twitter.com/NoahSneider/status/785849032069550080

"Russia's pres admin telling gov officials w/kids studying abroad to bring them home"


https://twitter.com/XSovietNews/status/785830580856377345

"In Moscow local authorities collect money for bomb shelter constructing due to 'imminent threat of nuclear war with the West'."


https://twitter.com/Baltic_Defence/status/786206950857945089

"#RuNavy NORFLT launched another SLBM from Barents Sea … Third launch of a ballistic missile today!"


I get that a lot of this is saber-rattling, and I don't imagine Putin wants a war. But as was also pointed out:


https://twitter.com/20committee/status/785861243110363138

"Hitler invaded Poland in Sep 1939 because he knew the German economy was on the ropes and he had nothing left to lose."

"What would your best (educated) guess be John....is he just posturing & flexing or is a military action coming?"

"I think the former, which regrettably can lead to the latter."


Meanwhile, most of our news media is flooding the airwaves regurgitating inane trivia about one candidate or the other in the general election.

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Offline quadz

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Re: Cold War 2.0 ?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2016, 08:55:00 AM »
http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/12/politics/us-russia-tensions-cold-war/index.html

"The friction between Moscow and Washington -- by many assessments at its highest level since the fall of the Berlin Wall -- led Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, to make a plea Monday for dialogue and de-escalation."

""I think the world has reached a dangerous point," Gorbachev warned, according to Agence France Presse."

"Indeed, it's not a Cold War," said Igor Zevelev, former director of the MacArthur Foundation's Russia office. "It's a much more dangerous and unpredictable situation."

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Offline haunted

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Re: Cold War 2.0 ?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2016, 03:46:47 PM »
Putin's up for reelection in a year or so. Russia's economy has been better and his opposition has been harping on it. Putin is known as a very strong leader that has his country's back. A potential threat would unite Russia to vote for him.

That being said, I don't trust the statements from our government either. I could EQUALLY see the US blaming the hacking on Russia, in addition to investigating them for war crimes in Syria, as a move with an alternate agenda. I'm just not sure what that agenda is.

Or, this is all about syria (and a combination of what's above and more).
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Offline R. Hayabusa

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Re: Cold War 2.0 ?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 04:16:28 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/12/politics/us-russia-tensions-cold-war/index.html

"The friction between Moscow and Washington -- by many assessments at its highest level since the fall of the Berlin Wall -- led Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, to make a plea Monday for dialogue and de-escalation."

""I think the world has reached a dangerous point," Gorbachev warned, according to Agence France Presse."

"Indeed, it's not a Cold War," said Igor Zevelev, former director of the MacArthur Foundation's Russia office. "It's a much more dangerous and unpredictable situation."

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