Tuesday, October 21, 2008

... But This is Ridiculous

The Russians carried out a large military exercise. I know that NATO has expanded a bit in the last decade or so, but Russia's claim is rather far fetched:

A huge exercise, called Stability 2008, spread tens of thousands of troops, thousands of vehicles and scores of combat aircraft across nearly all 11 time zones of Russian territory in the largest war game since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There was no specified enemy, but the Russian forces appeared to be enacting a nationwide effort to quell unrest along Russia’s southern border — and to repulse an American-led attack by NATO forces, according to experts in Moscow and here.

In a grim finale, commanders launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles, the type that can carry multiple nuclear warheads. It was a clear signal of the drastic endgame the Kremlin might consider should its conventional forces not hold. One of the missiles flew more than 7,100 miles, allowing Russian officials to claim they had set a distance record.

So NATO, led by America (so we're not tied down in Iraq?) might invade across the southern border of Russia? Even if Georgia enters NATO, this adds nothing that the presence of Turkey in NATO provided, threat-wise, from the south.

I actually call this exercise a bit of progress. Moscow may not be willing to name the actual military power that poses a threat to Russia, but by using a scenario where the Russians are defending their entire southern border by suppressing local unrest (from Chinese immigrants?) and capping it off with nukes that represent Moscow's only real counter to an invasion by China, I'd say this message was directed right at Peking. Even if the troops repelling the invasion were in European Russia facing west, this would be an appropriately sized theater for the Far East along the Manchurian border.

I don't know what those so-called experts here are talking about when they say this was NATO-centered. NATO has expanded a lot, but NATO isn't capable of sending much more than a token force to Afghanistan let alone invading Russia.

Still, with Russia apparently paying more attention to their ground defenses against China, perhaps we can finally point China inland and away from the sea and Taiwan.