Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Russia's Only Friend, the End

Russia sure does like to remind people that Russia can nuke them into the end of the world:

As US and allied officials celebrated the opening of a long-awaited missile defense system in Europe, the reaction in Moscow on Thursday was darker: a public discussion of how nuclear war might play out in Europe and the prospect that Romania, the host nation for the US-built system, might be reduced to “smoking ruins.”

Nukes are always the first thing the Russians think of these days when they contemplate their military options, it seems. The prospect of the end of the world is their first line of defense.

Which makes sense, as I've said:

As I've noted many times, Russia can carry out a small war--or use their military to backstop what was essentially a coup in Crimea. Russia has the advantage of having small powers along their western border like Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia, where Russia can quickly mass power before the target nation can respond or before NATO could react in time to stop a quick grab of territory.

Or they can nuke us. They can't do much in between without suffering heavy losses and significant embarrassment in extended conventional combat.

That's the reality of Russia's military. Russia is trying to change that, but right now Russia is constrained in fighting a longer conventional military campaign because they would suffer heavy casualties by having to use the poor quality troops that represent the majority of Russia's conventional military power.

Russia could win despite heavy casualties, of course (note World War II), but the Russian leaders can no longer assume their people will stoically endure those casualties.

So out come the Russian comments on nukes to frighten worried neighbors who know that the West is the best and make those non-nuclear neighbors believe that Russia is fully capable and willing to destroy their country to cow them into submission.

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

With thanks to these folks.

As an aside, I have no idea why the author of that initial article, while admitting we have no offensive missiles in Romania, asserts the anti-missile site violates the 1987 theater nuclear missile treaty.