Some Thoughts on Russia, Realism, and our National Security

Putin’s move into Syria is old-fashioned great-power politics. (Yes, people do that in the 21st century.) There is a domestic benefit to him, but he is not externalizing his problems at home. Russian domestic and international policies have always been inextricably linked. Russia feels strong at home when it is strong abroad — this is Putin’s plea to his propagandized population — and the Russian people buy it, at least for now. Russia is a great power and derives its self-worth from that. What else is there? When is the last time you bought a Russian product that wasn’t petroleum? […]

Russian Cruise Missiles: A Work in Progress? (UPDATED)

Update below… Talk about “shooting out”— Four cruise missiles launched from a Russian warship aimed at targets in Syria missed their target and crashed in Iran Thursday, a senior defense official told Fox News. The “Kalibr” cruise missiles were fired for the first time in combat from warships in the Caspian Sea, the official said. There was no immediate word of any damage or casualties in Iran. Let’s hope that damage is extensive and casualties are many. It couldn’t have happened to nicer folk. Fuckheads. CDR Sal brings us more detail and more analysis. Another poke in the eye for […]

Two Articles on Syria from Vastly Different Sources

The first, courtesy of MikeB’73. The second, courtesy of Tango Seven-Six. Each one is a little scattered, but both are worth a good look. Have at ’em. Comments, please.

Syria: The Great Power Flashpoint

“U.S. fears a clash with Russia over Syria” That sound you heard is a balance-of-power shift, and not one in our favor. One decidedly to our detriment. It’s bad enough that Putin’s actions, deftly and boldly executed, have put us and the coalition on the strategic defensive. It’s worse still that the move appears to have caught our national leadership off guard! Is there a strategy for Syria and the Levant? (Besides dropping bombs and training rebels by ones and twos.) Is there some kind of rational plan?? And the means to execute it? Does the Iran nuclear deal now […]

Russians in Syria

There you have it. Russia’s Foreign Ministry disclosed early Wednesday that Russian military experts indeed are assisting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s long-running civil war. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Reuters that advisers were assisting with Russian arms deliveries to Syrian government forces, which Moscow says are aimed at fighting Islamist militants. The spokeswoman did not give a precise number of Russian military personnel in Syria. Indications have been surfacing for some time now. I’m not at all sure, to put it mildly, that this is a positive development. Thank God we have cold-minded […]

Games with bears and dragons

One wonders just how deeply Obama bows as he does what he is told. He is as he promised: very flexible. I’m sure the State Department has its latest demarche, “#PleaseNotTheFaceAgain” in the Ambassadors’ hands. If Russia nuked Sweden, would Obama cancel his golf game? Have our Paulistinian isolationists learned their lesson yet? Games with bears and dragons aren’t fun when you’ve been dipped in BBQ sauce.   Thanks to R. M. Hollander for the link on the South China Sea.

New Russian Tank

I have read several articles on this particular vehicle.  The ones displayed at the VE Day Celebration in Moscow are clearly testing variants as one broke down in practice for the parade.  There is a three man crew all housed in the front of the tank, an automatic loader for the 125mm gun, plus a 30mm and 12.7mm gun mounted on the turret.  The 30mm is believed to be an anti aircraft gun and is controlled by what many believe is an autonomous radar. It is powered by a diesel engine mounted in the rear.  The chassie of the vehicle […]

Dragon [Hearts] Bear?

If so, that’s not good. As Russia’s relationship with the United States and its European allies grows worse, its ties to China have never been closer. On the eve of the parade last Friday, the two countries announced 32 separate bilateral agreements, including a non-aggression pledge in cyber warfare. The deals complement a $400 billion deal made last May, when Russia agreed to ship 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year between 2018 and 2048 to China. And next week, Russian and Chinese naval vessels will conduct live drills in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Whew! I thought this might be […]

“1,100-Mile Trek Through Six Countries”

This is a great story. “These things were banging around in my mind,” General Hodges said, just as a three-month deployment of American troops in the Baltics and Poland, part of a continuing series of joint training exercises known as Atlantic Resolve, was coming to an end. Normally, the American equipment would be loaded aboard rail cars and shipped in the dead of night while the soldiers flew back to their base in Germany. But General Hodges thought, this time, they would drive the 120 armored vehicles, one lumbering mile after another, accompanied by more than 500 American troops. Good […]

Finland Walks the Line: “They Were Testing How We’d React…”

The WaPo interviewed Finland’s President and Foreign Minister recently, and the discussion is one of the most diplomatic yet frank and realistic exchanges I have read in some time. I recommend the whole thing to you, especially the clear assertion– devoid of posturing– that Finland can and will stand up for herself, and an implied admission that despite her neutrality she is not averse to cooperation with NATO. And yet, always the balanced realism of life as the nextdoor neighbor to The Bear.