Monday, April 16, 2018

Will No Advisor Tell Putin He's Effing Things Up Royally?

The erosion of the Russian fleet from its Cold War peak continues, and is merely the most obvious result of the slowing momentum of their Cold War era military technology that is not being replaced by new innovations. And quality control is bad as well:

The Gorshkovs are not an isolated example. The same problems have been encountered with the Su-57 stealth fighter, the radical new T-14 tank, the new Borei SSBN and the Bulava ballistic missile it uses. In general Russian defense industries continue to have problems developing new engines. The Russian space program is having similar problems with its rockets. The list goes on and on. Russia plays down all these problems but the net result is they have very little locally produced stuff to replace their Cold War designs. Worse, China is now producing improved and more reliable versions of those Cold War era weapons, along with new Western tech (like large, missile armed UAVs) that Russia cannot master.

If not for their large numbers of nukes (and we have to assume that even if the Russians are no better at maintaining nukes than they are their major conventional systems that enough to be lethal do work), Russia would be a mid-level Eurasian power with too much land to defend.

But as I've noted, with nukes and weak neighbors, Russia can generate superior conventional power in the short run against selected targets. If the war is ended before whatever that "short run" is in practice, Russia wins. If not, well, Russia loses. Or uses nukes. Which just means everyone loses.

And for all the talk of how Putin is so clever to play a bad hand so well? Get real.

Russia has alienated the West which was not a military threat to Russia by pointless threats to the West given weight by Russian invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, even though the West was willing to help Russia upgrade their defense industry until 2014; while China stole and then surpassed Russian military technology and production methods.

And recall that China has dormant claims on Russian Far Eastern territory with a treaty keeping those claims dormant up for cancellation in 2021.

Putin isn't brilliant. He is weakening Russia's economy, failing to arrest the decline of Russia's defense industries, alienating potential allies, and strengthening potential enemies all for the "glory" of Abhkazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, parts of the Donbas, and bases in Assad's Syria.

And he's not that impressive riding a horse bare-chested, truth be told.

Chimps with nukes.

What Western plot could be as effective at wrecking Russia than Putin himself? Seriously, why isn't there a conspiracy theory floating around Russia on that possibility?