15:44 GMT +323 October 2019
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    "Arms Race-ing": Whom, When and Why the US Donates Weapons?

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    Washington suddenly decided to supply Greece with 70 Bell OH-58 Kiowa light multipurpose helicopters and CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift military transport helicopters. This is an unprecedented “supply” of American helicopters, which no country in the world has ever received. What is the reason behind this unexpected US initiative?

    Turkey's intention to acquire Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and Ankara's refusal to obey to the United States ultimatum to abandon purchases of Russian weapons are likely to be the cause of America's sudden favour with Greece. Indeed, in the past, should Washington's relations with Ankara or Athens fall in a crisis, the USA "put things right" by supplying weapons to the other side.

    The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and the Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) sail alongside, as the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG) and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) conduct joint operations, in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in the Arabian Sea, May 17, 2019
    © REUTERS / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/U.S. Navy
    One of the leverages of US foreign policy is its arms-sales policy, as well as the strategy of donating weapons to other countries to woo and exert influence over them. Some for the Greeks, a little bit to the Turks — it all depends on how well you listened to the "big shot" from Washington and followed his rules.

    The same can be said about the US' policy on weapons supplies to the Croatian Army. Americans, of course, do not like the fact that Russia is giving weapons to Serbia. However, Washington cannot openly blame Moscow and Belgrade for this, so the United States follows the same behaviour pattern as in the case with Greece and Turkey.

    In response to the 30 modernised T-72 tanks and 30 modernised BRDM-2 armoured vehicles, which Russia donated to Serbia, Washington responds by voicing its intention to donate 60 M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to Croatia. It is true that it would be good to upgrade these BMPs, but even without modernisation as they are, these are excellent combat armoured vehicles by Balkan standards. At the moment, Croatia has more wheeled armoured fighting vehicles than Serbia.

    READ MORE: Russian Foreign Ministry Warns of US Preparing to Use Nuclear Weapons in Europe

    America also intends to supply Croatia with 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters by 2025. The cost of their donation to Croatia is $63 million. Thanks to these American helicopters, Zagreb plans to replace its fleet of old Soviet Mil Mi-8 and Mil Mi-17 helicopters by 2025.

    It should be recalled that Croatia started modernising the ageing helicopter fleet back in 2007 and 2008 when it acquired 10 Mi-171Sh combat-transport helicopters (which were upgraded in 2017) due to the clearing of the debt of the former Soviet Union to the former SFRY. The modernisation works costed 26.9 million euros and was carried out by the Aeronautical Technical Centre in Velika Gorica, near Zagreb, and the 810th Aircraft Repair Plant in Chita, Russia.

    At the end of this year, the same repair plants of the two countries plan to again conduct maintenance works on these Croatian helicopters, extending their service life to 2027. Since these vehicles are largely dependent on Russian technical support, they become a vulnerable point when used by a NATO member state like Croatia, thus Washington is in a hurry to rearm Zagreb with its own helicopters as soon as possible. And if the Americans at the same time can send some political and military message to Serbia and the Serbs, then for Washington this is a particularly fruitful move.

    So this is a not-so-subtle policy of "sending messages" using the language of weapons deals…

    What is there left for Serbia to do? Only to buy new combat and transport helicopters from Russia and upgrade its air defence system because we are living in an era when only military power is respected. As they say: "Might makes right"…

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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