19:00 GMT +324 March 2017

    US Aims to Break Russia With Arms Race

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    Finian Cunningham

    Alarm bells about a new arms race between the US and Russia went off this week around the world. President-elect Donald Trump reportedly told US news media "let's bring it on" after Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier called for a "strengthening" of his country's nuclear capability.

    Moscow later clarified that it had no intention of inciting an arms race. Trump’s side though remained ambiguous about what the new president meant by “greatly expanding” the American nuclear arsenal.

    There is a seductive strategic incentive for Washington to incite a nuclear arms race with Russia. The main objective is not to launch an eventual catastrophic war in which neither side would survive. But rather the objective is to break Russia financially. It’s still a kind of warfare, albeit in a different form.

    That outcome of breaking Moscow financially would, in turn, lead eventually to Russia’s subjugation by the US. Russia and its rich natural resources would henceforth be just just another domain ruled over by American capital. And geopolitically, Washington would have a free hand to kick the rest of the world around in the absence of any counterweight from a strong Russia, as recent events in Syria all too well illustrate.

    The precedent for this war-by-finance scenario can be best seen during the US presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Arguably all through the Cold War decades, since the Second World War, the US and its NATO military alliance always acted aggressively towards the then Soviet Union. The latter was continually obliged to divert inordinate economic resources to maintain some kind of defensive parity.

    During the Reagan presidency, the US embarked on a surge in military spending which inevitably induced the Soviet Union to respond likewise. Both countries incurred massive financial problems owing to the accelerated arms race. In the case of the Soviet Union, the unsustainable arms expenditures led to the collapse of its economy, and consequently its political system dissolved in 1991.

    However, in the case of the US, it could postpone financial and political disaster because the American dollar as the top international reserve currency allowed Washington to simply keep printing dollars and pile up a mountain of debt. A quarter of a century after the official end of the Cold War, the US stands out as the biggest debtor nation on the planet with a total of $20 trillion in arrears. A day of reckoning is long overdue.

    In other words, the US appeared to win the Cold War, not because of superiority from its political, economic or military systems over the Soviet Union. On the contrary, it was only because the US could print money and pile up debt with seeming abandon that gave it a decisive edge; whereas the Soviet system had no such privilege to offload its financial problems on to the rest of the world.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is therefore prudent when he said this week that he would not allow his country to once again become embroiled in any arms race with the US. One suspects that Putin and his advisors have studied history well and understand that such an arms race – if precipitated – would lead to much more grievous economic and political problems for Moscow than it would for Washington; simply because of the peculiarity of US dollar being unfairly privileged by the global financial system.

    Nevertheless, one also suspects that an arms race with Russia is exactly what powerful elements within the US ruling system want.

    There are several reasons for this. Firstly, American capitalism would not function without the lifeline of government subsidies in the form of its elephantine military-industrial complex. Every year, Washington spends some $600 billion on military – about half of the total government expenditure on education, health and public welfare. Taken together, the US and its NATO allies spend about ten-fold on military sectors what Russia does.

    American capitalism as a supposedly “free market”, “private enterprise” system is a myth. In reality, it is, by contrast, a centrally planned, subsidized support system for elite profit-making. Massive US military spending year-on-year is crucial to the support system for this kind of economic parasitism. Logically then an arms race induced against Russia would be a welcome boon for the military-industrial complex of corporate manufacturers, Wall Street bankers and mega-rich shareholders.

    Trump seems to be aware of this, given his recent admonitions to Lockheed Martin over its exorbitant, publicly subsidized program to build the F-35 fighter jet. Whether Trump is willing to overcome the parasitical nature of the US military-industrial system is another question. It’s doubtful. For what is required is a systematic change brought about by a mass political movement, which Trump, the capitalist billionaire magnate, certainly does not represent.

    Another compelling reason for why the US desires an arms race with Russia is that statecraft planners and ideologues in Washington know well that such an escalation would lead to a repetition of the old Cold War strategy of breaking Moscow through a futile financial hole-digging competition.

    Russia, as virtually every other nation is, is limited by how much of its economy can sustain military spending. Not so the Americans. Washington can pile up debt with impunity for as long as the global financial system relies on the dollar as the primary reserve currency.

    This scenario of aiming to break Russia through financial warfare as triggered by an arms race would also explain why the US-led NATO alliance has intensified its goading of Moscow in recent years. The pretext of “defending Europe” from “Russian aggression” is transparently ludicrous. Contrived grievances of Russia “annexing Crimea” are orchestrated in order to give Washington and its NATO lackeys an excuse to ramp up militarism on Russia’s borders.

    Any sane person can see that the objective situation is one of NATO aggression and intimidation towards Russia, in complete reversal of what the Western governments and their servile mass media allege.

    This would also explain why the US unilaterally walked away from the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty in 2002. Washington needs to foster instability and insecurity because its otherwise bankrupt economy is only propped up by such instability and war proneness.

    The real purpose is not to instigate World War III with Russia, but instead to coerce Moscow into another disastrous arms race.

    It is essential that Russia continually strengthens its defense capability. That means upgrading existing systems. The key word here is “strengthening”. Putin was not referring to “expansion”. He was specifically talking about optimizing military capability by being economically and technically efficient.

    The reckless warmongering by Washington is a decades-old tendency since the Second World War. Unfortunately, European allies are too subservient or ideologically malleable to stand up to this American belligerence. In that case, Russia must always be vigilant to have the best defense systems to deter any American ultimate aggression.

    Putin proudly referred to Russia being capable of defending itself against “any aggressor”.

    However, at all costs, Russia must avoid an arms race that would shatter its economy and eventually its national sovereignty. That is exactly what American adversaries want.

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


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    • avatar
      Something tells me (just consider the last 4-6 months for instance) that Russia will not be 'broken' in any way. Pity the aggressors who try.
    • avatar
      Ok where did this come from??? As Russia and China continue to build new missiles,warheads, and upgrading everything from anti-ship missiles to newer area denial systems and missile shields ( as been so true for decades of Moscow area defense). Meanwhile the US has built no new missile's as ours are old as our warheads are reused. So who has restarted the nuclear arms races with the new missiles and replacement for the SS-18 that can supposedly destroy Texas( yeah 40 mt. not even close) but still as an antagonistic weapon. Then the new underwater coastal drone to wipe out US cities. All new technology, yet we have mostly old but still capable weapons that can not be stopped either.So China and Russia start making new classes of weapons and upgrading warheads and missiles to avoid interception but the US isn't allowed to? Who invented the nuclear weapons first yet are not suppose to upgrade? If the person writing this story would listen to what Trump said he wouldn't have misundtrashingIt would be stupid for the US not to stay online with the rest of the world.Yet its an arms race to take a missile off line to be replaced by a better one? Yet only Russia and China can upgrade and add new weapons and warheads where is the reasoning? Not counting nuclear weapons as Russia would be turned to ashes as well as the US.Go look up actual conventional militaries as assets,numbers,numbers of population and yes leave out NATO then the 10x more spending on war equipment. The amount of planes as they outnumber Russia 3 to 1 and battle groups,many other thhand far as war experiece vs no war experience .Not trashing Russia as no one could beat them war would become nuclear and also have many advanced weapons we don't have. But on the other hand the US has many advancements others don't .I have much respect for Russia and their military and people. But tired of hearing things that weren't said in the manner described by the real source or meaning. The US has many evils but they are on the way out and no arms race is planned unless started by others,just upgrades to old relics.The US has much more military assets than Russia why race to build more. Not to say Russia has more tanks or artillery but most tanks are older.Each side has certain advantages the other doesn't but a war with the US is unwinnable as is one against Russia. No arms race is happening here but elsewhere. When we spend 40-43% of all world wide military spending 10x of what Russia spends and 3x more than China why is it people think Russia could win a war against us as neither side will prevail. The debt is Obamas fault as what took 240 yrs. to build up Obama matched it in 8 yrs. doubling it. What pretence is this story based on? As staying caught up with others starting a technology race is no crime. Although I respect many stories here this is ignoring some facts and twisted the truth on what was meant by Trump although maybe mislead by a bad source.Neither country has a need for an arms race as the US economy is not the best ,Russia isn't isn't in needs to spend extra money due to their recession.Give it time as we won't be out done anymore than you will. But I believe Trump and Putin have good intentions of making things work so everyone can be happy. Merry Christmas everyone and my condolences to the innocent victims of Russian the plane crash.As the world does feel sorrow for the victims ,family,friends and all others.My prayers are with the victims ,families and the Russian people.Tragedy's like this bring sorrow regardless of nationality or country. Again I will pray for all affected by this loss of innocent people as should everyone else.
    • avatar
      Russia is not the USSR, but a market economy so it doesn´t pretend to spend 25% of its GDP on Defense but (as Vladimir Putin said) reducing it to 2.7% of GDP on the miderm. And the new Administration of Donald Trump wants distension in Europe so it can invest inside America and on the Pacific, or save for a tax cut. After 2008 Lhemman Brothers (under the GWB Republican Administration), the U.S. doesn´t interest about any kind of arms race. In fact, U.S. Defense spending is already 10 times bigger than Russia´s, so the problem is not investment but the quality and rationality of investment.
    • Infidel Cartman
      "the US appeared to win the Cold War, not because of superiority from its political, economic or military systems over the Soviet Union."

      That's funny stuff!!! Just ask Eastern Europe what they think of the FSU about USSR's political and economic system. BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
    • Dar...
      Military conflict is so centre stage at the moment that it is indeed worth reflecting on the economic war.

      Fundamental market perceptions about the value of fiat money is about to change the economic battlefield as drastically as technology has changed military warfare.

      The dawn of neo-liberalism was responsible for decoupling the dollar from gold, which permitted contemporary, profligate money printing. However the political life support machine for neo-liberalism is almost flat lining and Nurse Hillary gave it an enema instead of CPR.

      If the USA can't print their way to $30trillion debt from the $20trillion they stand at now, how will they leverage it?

      Bonds? Who will buy them?! Saudi is broke. The U.K. are both a basket currency and basket case economy. The EU vassals need every cent to feed the ravenous euro weasel. The Chinese have a new Silk Road to build. The Indians are investing in themselves.

      Who is left to buy American Bonds? Failing banks and phoney corporations whose bottom lines only reflect worthless, fiat bubbles that can burst to nothing at any moment.

      Trump, the six times bankruptee, was given the helm of the US economy for good reason. The elite want the USA to do the unthinkable, ...sovereign default. It'll start small, with ever more frequent government shut downs and furious domestic Republican media tirades about 'living beyond your means' being un-American. Then BANG, ...sovereign default.

      They want to wipe the debt and reboot into a new economic operating system; crucifying as many other national economies as they can in the process. Next economic cycle they'll be keeping all the manufacturing and money on American soil.
    • Robert
      Sometimes, it's hard to tell who is broke and who is not...... until it hits you in the head like a rock.
    • Ipse Dixit
      Interesting analysis. It would be a pity if the USA (read, international capital and finance) were to succeed a second time in bringing about a Russian collapse. A pertinent question someone might ask is how much longer the current debt-based system can be maintained (indefinitely, it would seem) and whether or not Russia can wait that long.
    • Ipse Dixitin reply toDar...(Show commentHide comment)
      Dar..., I think the answer would be a mixed one and would depend largely on who you asked. Nothing is as black and white as it is made out to be.
    • Ipse Dixitin reply toRobert(Show commentHide comment)
      Robert, I think the United States (the bankers) has already planned to create an interim de facto global currency through the IMF's Special Drawing Rights, bank bail-ins, and the use of electronic non-paper/coin currency in transactions. India's so-called de-monetization, along with the Cyprus bail-ins and what's been happening in Greece I think are components of the contingency plans they have to preserve, if not the US dollar in its present form, then at least the international system based on continued western, and in particular US, dominance.
    • Dar...in reply toRobert(Show commentHide comment)
      Robert, Yes, ...thump! Everyone! Very soon even the coke snorting, jabbering imbecile fund managers are going to realise that the bull market has been castrated and money is truly worthless. They're going to turn to the Dollar Emperor in his fine financial exceptionalist clothing and see Trump, stark naked with two fingers stuck up at them. He doesn't want the dollar to shoulder the weight of being the #1 go-to currency. He doesn't want to pay for being 'the world's policeman'. He knows how to profit from bankruptcy.
    • Dar...in reply toIpse Dixit(Show commentHide comment)
      Ipse Dixit, Russia and China have asked themselves the question and answered by investing in the periodic table. The answer isn't black or white, ...it's gold.
    • avatar
      BLuvin reply toIpse Dixit(Show commentHide comment)
      Ipse Dixit, They have, but the the BRICS are about to get an equal to better than the US on the voting platform at the IMF, if the USD is taken from the reserve currency status it will be much more difficult for them to borrow, the SDR's are going to be used to "even" up this imbalance in the world under the present system.
    • avatar
      Doesn't the West have about five years to catch up with the Russkis' progress in creating new generations of materiel ? Perhaps if the West asks them nicely, they will sit on their hands, while it catches up with them.

      Yup. What Crowbar says in his first few sentences. This time the tortoise is unlikely to overtake the hare. Moreover the tortoise seems to be the one that 'has a screw loose' - in March and all year round.

      Why not break your text up into paragraphs, Crowbar. It's very difficult to read like that.
    • avatar
      pbeckein reply toDar...(Show commentHide comment)
      '...... coke snorting, jabbering imbecile fund managers

      I'm sure there are less accurate descriptions of them, Dar.
    • avatar
      pbeckein reply toDar...(Show commentHide comment)
      I get the strong impression, that your thinking is as penetrating as your invective.
    • avatar
      ALL Russia MUST do is keep up with OWN arms race. A RACE against Russia itself.
      YET, check what NATO have , as not to be left behind. LASERS. Russia have that.

      NUKES.. Why so much FUZZ. Instead plan for next GEN. Hypersonic weapons.
      Why wast cash in present tech,. Development will keep going and going anyways.
      However, IF Russia survives a NUKE attack, is a great thing.
      Let them waste cash in those tech.
      Carriers of nukes. Russia doing fine. NO NEGOTIATIONS..
      Instead , tell them to bring it to UNGA where all countries wanting can sign up. IF all the world signs, Russia MAY consider45 it. Specially IF ISRAEL signs up.
      Israel was threatening Pakistan with nukes attack. Not even thinking that Russia may retaliate. As PAK is part of SCO.. and RATS is part of CSTO. Time Russia push CSTO in SCO and BRICS. Always dragging feet forever.
    • avatar
      Good text, I agree 100%.
    • avatar
      Cold war=$Trillions to develop, deploy, and dispose of weapons that can never be used.
    • avatar
      USA will be too broken for any arms race due to natural disasters.
      They will be asking for help.
    • avatar
      Antares Prime
      The Western economy is on the edge of another large recession/depression, greater than the last one in 2008. They will keep getting deeper, because the economic foundations are unsound.

      The US fixation on trying to reignite the Cold War with Russia, complete with its attendant arms race, is lunacy. The United States and all its political and economic institutions are already bankrupt.
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