In case you haven’t heard, there’s a very quiet, but very significant arms race taking place, once again between the USA and Russia. Since Mr. Putin and his oligarchs in the KGB wrested control back from the corrupt Yeltsin era cronies, the corruption in Russia has once again been re-appropriated to its vast military-industrial(and, one would add, ecclesiastical) complex. Indeed, it is the last component that, in some respects, distinguishes the current regime from Stalinism, and yet, that in other respects, makes it so resemble it. But…that’s another story. For the moment, we must concentrate on that arms race, for since Mr. Putin’s ascension to the Tsardom….er…to the Russian presidency, Russia has been modernizing her nuclear, land, and naval forces with an all but Cold War zeal. Consider this article (courtesy Mr. P.T.):
There argument here seems clear enough: nothing to fear here folks, it’s not the old Soviet Union trying to go toe to toe with the West or the USA and its Navy:
The Russian national security strategy’s emphasis on economics and quality of life as principal issues, as well as its insistence on not matching the American military dollar-for-dollar, suggests a competitive, but not confrontational, Russia. In this strategy, Russia portrays itself as no longer a prisoner of the Eurasian landmass by emphasizing the Arctic, Caspian, and Far East (Pacific) regions of growing importance, along with those of global trade and interdependence. Moscow willingly volunteers to engage in international peacekeeping operations worldwide and to vigorously pursue terrorist extremist groups.
And this bit of reassurance:
As early as 2004, the Russian Ministry of Defense’s blueprint for a future navy revolved around eliminating a blue-water or “ocean” capability and focusing instead on the 500-kilometer zone of territorial waters. 7 The 2010 Russian National Maritime Policy , published together with the Ministries of Trade and Commerce, touched on naval strategy, since its central theme was unfettered use of the world’s oceans to support the growth of the Russian economy. The navy’s role in this national strategy is mentioned, but only after lengthy discussions of shipping, fishing, minerals and energy, and scientific activities. While naval roles include the obvious missions of deterrence and protection of sovereignty, there is even more extensive discussion of peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, mineral exploitation, maintaining freedom of the seas, and showing the flag.
Ok, all that’s fine and dandy, but then there’s this bit of news:
Russia’s streamlined shipbuilding capacity is beginning to show progress in the construction of several types of warships. The most publicized project is the development of the new Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN), planned to initiate eight hulls by 2017. The class leader, the Yuri Dolgorukiy , was commissioned in 2009 in St. Petersburg, following 25 years of sporadic construction, but follow-on building is adhering closely to original schedule. This class will replace the obsolescent Delta III and IV classes of SSBNs as the navy’s contribution to Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent. The Yasen class of up to ten nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) is led by the Severodvinsk , which was commissioned in 2010 after a 16-year building process. The Kazan , the second of the class, is scheduled for commissioning in 2013, only four years after construction began. Accelerated construction times for both classes of submarines are attributed to the “resumption of regular funding of defense contracts and newly established industrial cooperation.” 11
Surface-combatant construction is following the same trend. The 2007 launching of the Steregushchiy , a 2,100-ton corvette touted for her low-observable design along with a high degree of automation and combat-systems integration, signaled Russia’s return to developing its own surface-warfare fleet. While the lead ship took more than six years to deliver, her successors, the Soobrazitelniy (recently commissioned), Boiky , and Stoiky , are expected to follow in considerably less time. The plan is for 10–20 ships of this class, intended for coastal patrol and escort duties. Further, Russia has built frigates for the Indian Navy and is now beginning to produce three identical Project 11356 frigates for itself, scheduled to be homeported in the Black Sea. More formidably, Russian shipyards have just commissioned the first Admiral Gorshkov –class frigate. This 4,000-ton warship is equipped for modern antisubmarine and antisurface warfare as well as escort duties.
Obviously, the construction of an entirely new class of ballistic missile submarines is not something that a navy intending to be used only for local or regional defense in the Arctic or Pacific would do. Such submarines are costly, and represent the modern equivalent of the dreadnoughts of World War One: the most powerful and mobile instrument of the projection of a nation’s power there was, and as such, they had to be protected by smaller escorts.
Viewed yet another way, Russia’s intention to being a partner in international peacekeeping efforts and to the Pacific means something else: Russia simply is not going to allow the unipolar world projected by the likes of Zbnw Brzznsk and other lackeys of the western financial oligarchs. What is really new here is that Russia is speaking the language of the West, and intends to play the globalism-peacekeeping game. The mere mention of the word “peacekeeping” doesn’t mean, as the article suggests, a less confrontational Russia; it merely means a more clever one, and one with global ambitions, even if those ambitions are merely to act as a counterpoise to the out of control imperialism of the West.
See you on the flip side.