Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Russia's Japan Pretext

Russia has made additional efforts to beef up defenses in the Far East that center on territory taken from Japan in the closing months of World War II. Is Japan really the focus of Russia's effort?

Russia is moving air defense and offensive missiles to the Far East. This is interesting:

These steps seem to fit the program presented by the Russian top brass in the second half of December (expected to be implemented before the end of 2018) aimed at reinforcing parts of the Eastern Military District (EMD). Among other aspects, the emphasis will be made on the development of naval aviation and missile-defense divisions, which are to comprise a new single army-sized unit, with its headquarters on the Kamchatka Peninsula (, December 18, 2017).

The main task of the new formation—the establishment of effective military control over Kamchatka, Chukotka, the Kurile Islands, the Japanese Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk—is to be secured by boosting the counter-offensive capabilities of Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

So Russia is forming a new headquarters to command forces facing Japan. This will annoy Japan which wants their northern territories back before signing a peace treaty with Russia.

And the article says Russia is worried about America's forces in Alaska (seriously, we have little there) and the potential to mass 6 carriers in the Pacific. Oh, please! We have the potential to mass 6 carriers off of Murmansk or Sevastopol, too.

But consider that by forming a new headquarters for the extreme Pacific wing of Russia's Far East forces that face America and Japan, Russia carves off that front to allow the rest of the Far East command to focus on China.

Of course, Russia doesn't want to admit that it is worried about the far more powerful and nearby China.

This motive could explain Russia's bizarre hostility toward NATO by giving Russia an excuse to build up their military in general while pretending a weak NATO is the worry rather than a growing China which has claim to large portions of Russia's Far East that Russia took in the 19th century.

And a 20-year treaty suspending China's claims on Russia expires in 2021. Time flies, eh?

Perhaps China renews that treaty. But maybe not. And what is China's price to renew it?

Sadly for Russia's clever ruse to disguise their appeasement of China, NATO is responding to Russian hostility by preparing to fight Russia after abandoning the capabilities built up during the Cold War:

The United States and Germany have offered to host two proposed new NATO commands aimed at deterring Russia, diplomats and officials said, in a show of support for the alliance's military build-up that has echoes of the Cold War.

Part of NATO's response to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, allies are considering a North Atlantic planning and strategy command to keep shipping lanes safe from enemy submarines, as well as a logistics command focusing on moving troops more quickly across Europe in any possible conflict.

So Russia created a worried NATO where once a lump of weak but wealthy passivity existed on Russia's western border.

But Russia still faces a future where China has the power to seize Russian-occupied territory and deter Russian nuclear weapons.

So the focus on the Japan front is likely an excuse to build up forces in the Far East without admitting Russia is still worried about China.

And in addition to allowing the rest of the Russian Far East command to focus on China, building up the coastal area forces and infrastructure increases the depth of Russian forces facing southwest--to China.

So Russia can claim they are worried about Japan. Or America. Or Ukraine. Or Georgia. Or whatever isn't really a threat to them.

China is the biggest threat Russia faces. But Russia is so weak compared to China in the Far East that Russia can't even afford to admit it lest it provoke China to attack before Russia has a chance to restore sufficient military strength in the Far East to deter China.