Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Aging Nukes Embolden Putin: He Stokes Fears of a European Invasion !

A disclosure that Russia launched a simulated attack on NATO member Denmark is raising concerns that President Vladimir Putin could be preparing an invasion of Europe, according to a new report.
The simulated attack took place on Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (DDIS) has revealed, stating that Russia sent military jets equipped with live missiles to Bornholm in June. DDIS did not release further details but said the simulated attack was the largest Russian military exercise over the Baltic Sea since 1991.

Russia has been testing NATO defenses in recent weeks, the news website Inquisitr reported. In a period of 24 hours, Russia dispatched 19 combat aircraft to test the defenses of neighboring countries and also test-launched a ballistic missile in the Barents Sea, an arm of the Arctic Ocean.

The Inquisitr article was cited by Johnson's Russia List, a project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

With relations strained between Russia and NATO over Russia's involvement in Ukraine, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula told the Daily Beast: "It is not farfetched that at some point within the next two years Putin makes a more aggressive move in Eastern Europe and uses a nuclear threat to deter a NATO response."

Washington Post columnist George Will recently theorized that Putin could be aiming to destroy NATO by invading one of the Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia, which like Ukraine have Russian-speaking minorities.  "Putin invades one of these NATO members," he wrote. "NATO invokes article 5 — an attack on any member is an attack on all — or NATO disappears and the Soviet Union, NATO's original raison d'etre, is avenged."

Even more concerning is the revelation that a Russian defense minister wants his country's official military doctrine rewritten to allow for a pre-emptive attack against the United States and NATO, the Russian-language news agency Interfax reports. Russian Army General Yury Yakubov said the doctrine, last revised in 2010, should be updated to classify the United States and other NATO countries as the ''main enemy'' of Russia.

Yakubov, (photo left) who is from the defense ministry's inspector general's office, also said it is time ''to hash out the conditions under which Russia could carry out a pre-emptive strike with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces,'' according to a translation of the general's remarks by the English-language Moscow Times. Russia categorizes its nuclear arsenal as a defensive measure to be used I the event of an imminent attack that threatens the country's existence, Interfax reports.

Nuclear war talk has crept back into official Russian discourse amid the fighting in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are being armed by Moscow and supported with Russian ground troops. The United States and the European Union have jointly condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine and imposed successively harsher economic sanctions. The rhetoric from Moscow has followed suit.

Ukraine's defence minister, Valery Heletey, used Facebook last month to charge that ''Russia has threatened on several occasions across unofficial channels that, in the case of continued resistance, they are ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon against us.''  The return of Cold War-style saber-rattling by Russia is result of the United States' ''diminished position in the world,'' stated retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, (photo right) senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Shaffer said that a nuclear weapons threat by Russia would have been easier to dismiss back before Russia had started to upgrade its nucleare weaponry - allegedly violating its treaty obligations in the process -- while the U.S. arsenal was allowed to further decay. ''I don't know if you know anybody that still drives a '79 Pinto - I don't - but that's the level of technology of our missile fleet right now,'' said Shaffer. ''We're not upgraded or updated. So the credibility of our own nuclear force is in question.'' 

The Way I See It......President Barack Obama's irresolute foreign policy also cast doubt on the country's willingness to stand up for its allies and stare down a nuclear threat. Ten years ago, there had been no doubt that this sort of provocation, the idea of nuclear weapon use, would have been completely passé, by the fact that we could have guaranteed a massive retaliatory response. Obama's lack of resolve has put the very system of deterrence into question.

Now, there is definitely a thought by the Russians that maybe they could use nuclear weapons, and maybe they could get away with it. This shows you how far America's foreign policy's diminished in the eyes of those who threaten America. It's shocking that Czar Putin and his cronies think this is actually credible.

Shaffer says that Obama's non-interventionist posture is also to blame for the rise and spread of the Islamic State. He cited a Fox News report that the president has received ''detailed intelligence briefings'' for a full year on the Sunni radicals who are now terrorizing Iraq and Syria and butchering people of different faiths.  ''This is what happens when bad policy meets good intelligence,'' says Shaffer. ''The intelligence is ignored.  We could have acted six months ago and done a third as much as we must do now.''

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