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IISS Report on China, Russia Seeks to 'Portray Them as Aggressors' - Journalist

© REUTERS / Stringer Chinese J-20 stealth fighter
Chinese J-20 stealth fighter - Sputnik International
The way an influential UK think-tank describes the military capabilities of China and Russia has been dismissed as "biased propaganda" aimed at simply cranking up defense budget spending around the world, according to two leading specialists.

The latest annual report published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) on Wednesday, February 14, insists the West can no longer rely on the strategic advantage it has enjoyed until now as both China and Russia have upped the ante in terms of military might by expanding their formidable arsenals.

While war between the great powers is not inevitable, the Military Balance 2018 report does suggest Washington, Moscow and Beijing are now systematically preparing for the possibility of conflict.

In an interview, Alexander Nekrassov, a London-based investigative journalist and broadcaster, disputed these claims, insisting the IISS is a biased organisation, heavily influenced by former military and intelligence people whose sole aim is to produce such information to help Britain's defense department.

"The people behind this report have produced similar reports like this in the past simply to help encourage governments in the West to commit more resources towards defense spending. It is all part of the campaign to portray Russia and China as the aggressor," he told Sputnik.

"Comparing defense budgets like this, when taken together, there is no comparison as America and the West spend considerably more. As a result Russia and China being considered a danger is rubbish when you take all of this into account."

​This report demonstrates why the U.K., on exiting the EU, needs to invest in the ‘Global Britain’ aspiration with substantial additional funds to the foreign office, MoD, intelligence and trade if it is to have any chance of impressing internationally.


Mr.Nekrassov continued to point out that defense budget spending in the West has been reduced in an attempt to save money, however, by creating an "enemy" it is a simple way of reversing this trend.

Explaining the United States spend on military amounted to a trillion dollars annually, it is viewed as the "policeman of the world" that has already demonstrated its vast power which could wipe out countries in a matter of days. Evidence of this had already been witnessed in Syria and Iraq in recent times.

"So, this report is really putting out false information and most will probably see straight through it," the journalist added.

Biggest Threat

Thanks to its huge nuclear arsenal, Mr. Nekrassov added, America remained the "biggest danger to the world" as it attempted to protect its interests elsewhere by creating non-existent enemies in order to alarm its allies in the West to increase their defense spend in the coming years.

His comments were supported by another influential voice, Edward Lozansky, president and founder of the American University in Moscow, who said the IISS statement falls in line with many other similar pronouncements by Western think tanks as well as political and military leaders who are using the non-existing threats coming from Russia to justify the need for the continuous increase of military spending.

Doesn't Add Up

"A simple mathematical analysis of the military manpower and conventional weaponry plus military budgets shows overwhelming western superiority over Russia and China combined," he told Sputnik.

Mr. Lozansky, who is a professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities, continued: "The only parity which presently exists is in the field of nuclear weapons which makes the threat of nuclear war more likely. As far as IISS is concerned one just has to look at the list of their funders and no additional commentary would be necessary."

China Иuild-up

The new report details, however, moves by the Chinese leadership to expand its military might, including the introduction of the Chengdu J-20 combat aircraft which will enter service in 2020. This means the US will lose its monopoly on stealth aircraft

At the same time, China's PL-15 extended range air-to-air missile system will also be equipped with electronically scanned radars — technology few other nations possess.

This is an aerial view of the five-sided Pentagon building, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, in Arlington, Va., in 1975 - Sputnik International
'Bad Policy': US 2019 Defense Budget May Lead to Wasteful Spending – CIA Veteran
In the last 15 years, the report reveals China has advanced its naval capabilities by building more corvettes, destroyers, frigates and submarines than Japan, India and South Korea combined. 

According to the IISS the total tonnage of its new warships and auxiliaries launched in the last four years alone is now significantly greater than that of the entire French navy. The launch of its first Type-055 cruiser illustrates its blue water capabilities enable it to deploy further including off the coast of Europe. Its base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, lays the ground for missions at vast distances.

The report suggests the pace of militarisation is slower in the case of Russia partly due to funding and industrial issues. It is, however, benefiting from experience of real life combat in Syria and Ukraine and has shown extensive capabilities in the field of hybrid warfare including cyber attacks.

Dangerous World

European states are increasingly conscious that the world is a dangerous place, the study says. Military capabilities on the continent have, however, become hollowed out as states first reaped a post-Cold War peace dividend and then made defence a discretionary activity in the wake of post 2008 austerity. 

Moves to recover and rebuild capability have also been given impetus by stronger US pressure on European states to do more for their own defence, but these will take time to bear fruit, according to the report.

Achieving this will mean changing recruitment and retention patterns, reshaping force structures and improving military agility and innovation. It will also mean harnessing new capabilities and more fully integrating modern technologies. 


New information-processing technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will improve military systems, as states look to develop ways of augmenting human capacities, boost weapons capabilities and gain early advantage for their armed forces.

Dr John Chipman, IISS director-general and chief executive said: "Some governments in the West will look to ‘leap-ahead' technologies to augment and even deliver military power, but these are no guarantee of success.

"China's emerging weapons developments and broader defence-technological progress further its transition from ‘catching up' with the West to becoming a global defence innovator. The West no longer has a monopoly on world-leading defence innovation and production, or the funds to enable these," he added.

"Indeed, China might be the one to leap ahead. But to use its capabilities to best effect, China will need to make similar improvements in training, doctrine and tactics," Dr. Chipman explained.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.

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