Comfort No More? West Alarmed Not by Russia’s Weaponry But Inner Spirit

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankRussian military air group at Khmeimim airbase in Syria
Russian military air group at Khmeimim airbase in Syria - Sputnik International
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The Western media seems to be recovering from Russia’s snap military campaign in Syria, slowly acknowledging that Moscow’s might rests not only on its state-of-the-art weaponry, but on “professionalism and readiness”of its army.

A number of articles which recently appeared in the US media clearly signal that the West is acknowledging that Russia has regained its ground in the international arena.

A “safe assumption” that the “Russian military is something of a joke” is not true any more.

However what seems to alarm Moscow’s Western partners is not “the Russian advancements in new weaponry”, but rather “an increase in professionalism and readiness”, according to The New York Times.

Russia’s military campaign in Syria has “given officials and analysts far greater insight into a military that for nearly a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union was seen as a decaying, insignificant force, one so hobbled by aging systems and so consumed by corruption that it posed little real threat beyond its borders,” the newspaper says.

US President Barack Obama, left, gestures while speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, third right, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second right, and US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, look at him before a bilateral meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. - Sputnik International
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“We’re learning more than we have in the last 10 years,” it quotes Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations as saying, noting the use of the new strike fighters and the new cruise missile, known as the Kalibr. “As it was described to me, we are going to school on what the Russian military is capable of today.”

“What continues to impress me is their ability to move a lot of stuff real far, real fast,” the outlet quotes Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of United States Army forces in Europe, as saying in an interview.

“Taken together, the operations reflect what officials and analysts described as a little-noticed — and still incomplete — modernization that has been underway in Russia for several years, despite strains on the country’s budget” the newspaper says. And that alarms the West.

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“Russia is now a military power that could overwhelm any of its neighbors, if they were isolated from Western support,” it quotes Gustav Gressel, a former officer of the Austrian military as writing in a report for the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Another American news source has also expressed its alarm.

“American officials, while impressed with how quickly Russia dispatched its combat planes and helicopters to Syria, said air power had been used to only a fraction of its potential, with indiscriminate fire common and precision-guided munitions used sparingly,” says The National Interest magazine, quoting   David A. Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the US Gulf War.

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"It is clear the Russians are already harvesting lessons from the campaign to apply to their other military operations," he added.

"Essentially," he said, "Russia is using their incursion into Syria as an operational proving ground."

Russia’s aviation is “often painted in the West as some sort of Potemkin village”; however, the fight against Jihadist militants in Syria has proven this “not to be the case,” The New York Times states.

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