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.
For 20+ years Pentagon has safely assumed the Russian military was something of a joke. A safe assumption no more. http://t.co/n7x7I7C4Ff— John Schindler (@20committee) 15 октября 2015
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.
“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.
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.
"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.