Saturday, March 03, 2018

We're  Listening, Vladimir!

"Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world. Nobody listened to us. Well, listen to us now."
"This low flying, difficult to spot cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead with a practically unlimited range and an unpredictable flight path which can bypass lines of interception is invincible in the face of all existing and likely future systems of both missile defence and air defence."
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin
In this video grab provided by RU-RTR Russian television via AP television on Thursday, a computer simulation shows the Avangard hypersonic vehicle manoeuvring around missile defences. (RU-RTR Russian Television via Associated Press)
What's more, the world watched spellbound as Russia made its pivot to old-style USSR tyranny when it annexed Crimea and not too long afterward appeared in Syria to rescue another bloody tyrant from being unseated by rebellion. Georgia's brief war theatre was also  fascinating. The Baltic nations' nervous reaction to this warming up of Cold War tactics alongside Moscow's taunts of NATO and provocations imposed upon NATO countries in the oceans and the skies did not elude notice. Russia has not been invisible.
"[It was] certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack [by Russia with the use of one of its bravely powerful new nuclear devices] on the United States."
"[As such, this did not represent] the behaviour of a responsible international player."
U.S. State Department

"We assume a high degree of rationality in the case of Putin and we assume a certain degree of irrationality on the part of Kim Jong Un."
"[Moscow is] paying a very high price when he [Vladimir Putin] comes out on top [in prestige and self-regard]."
"It's grand theatre. It's a dual message. It is one of  reassurance as well as deterrence [Putin as philosophical warrior king]."
Aurel Braun, professor of International Relations and Political Science, University of Toronto 

"He will e re-elected by hook or by crook. He is unstoppable domestically because he has stopped those who might stop him."
"[The boasting of nuclear weapons' advancement is] muscle flexing [against NATO and] is about compensating for domestic underperformance, the economy but also delivery of public goods."
Neil MacFarlane, Russian foreign policy expert, Lester B. Pearson Professor of International Relations, Oxford University
Russia's new Sarmat intercontinental missile is shown at an undisclosed location. President Vladimir Putin declared Thursday that Russia has developed a range of new nuclear weapons, claiming they can't be intercepted. (RU-RTR Russian Television via Associated Press)
Addressing a joint session of both  houses of parliament gave Vladimir Putin the opportunity to venture a vision of what Russia is capable of producing, should she ever be pushed to that extreme: nuclear Armageddon. Offering pride to the Russian population, and a stern warning to the world at large that Russia will no longer tolerate being side-lined, taken for granted, punished for striding the world stage in a manner befitting a world power that it once was, and is prepared once again to take on that mantle.

Only a world power equal to that of the United States would be capable of mounting such a defence. And the stress is on defence, for although Russian expertise has engineered these powerful, technologically advanced weapons, it is solely for defence. Russia has never and would never threaten the stability and sovereignty of another country. Of that we must be assured. Putin said so. Set aside the reality of what has been witnessed in the near as well as the distant past. Putin  has given his guarantee.

Russia is only interested in claiming what is rightfully its. Which explains why it is that chemical attacks against civilians alongside barrel bombs targeting Syrians by their own government is acceptable because one does not stand aside while a collegial state is threatened. And as far as influencing elections in other countries unfriendly to Russia is concerned, it cannot be a crime when the United States has always indulged to unseat those it disapproves of.

Invasions, assassinations, support for oppressors, corruption, unjust incarceration is not only at Russia's door, for that other world power is equally involved in all these machinations of world affairs. It's not that Russia seeks to emulate another power it envies. After all, provoking outrage on the world stage exemplified by North Korea's insouciant entitlement to test ballistic missiles and nuclear devices though small stuff in comparison to Russian entitlements, has prepared the world to familiarize itself with crisis management.
A computer simulation shows a Russian nuclear-powered underwater drone being released by a submarine. (RU-RTR Russian Television via Associated Press)

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