Monday, November 21, 2016

Seapower Envy

The Russians seem to believe that they must have a globe-spanning blue water navy to be a great power. Priorities, people, priorities.

Really, Russia?

The latest Russian national security documents take the nation’s great power status for granted and expect the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) to rival the U.S. Navy around the world. The Soviet Union collapsed, however, while pursuing unsustainable strategies. The realities of Russia’s underdeveloped maritime sector make it clear that the big talk is unrealistic. The aspiration to be a first-rate maritime power is beyond Russia's maritime potential and industrial capacity, and Russia’s ambitions in the world’s oceans are out of reach.

Yes, being a first-rate naval power is out of Russia's reach if it doesn't prioritize the conventional defense of its extensive land borders.

The notion that Russia needs a blue water navy rests on a Cold War objectives of contesting the North Atlantic to interfere with American and Canadian reinforcements for NATO in the face of a massive Soviet lunge to the Rhine River.

Russia needs a coast guard plus ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and ships and subs to defend submarine bastions for the SSBNs. After that, a few long-endurance ships for diplomatic purposes could be considered.

So if Russia wants to aim for a blue water navy? No. Stop. Don't. Come back.